Nearly a year before former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted onto the national stage by leading some polls in the Iowa Republican presidential caucus, one office in Washington can claim that it saw him coming and began preparing for it. "Our former research director Devorah Adler and I were convinced that Huckabee could catch on and be a real threat," says Karen Finney, communications director for the Democratic National Committee. "Of course, many folks thought that was crazy talk." She's not exaggerating: Whispers was one of the first she revealed her dark-horse candidate to last winter. That's when the DNC put Huck on its watch list, even before Rudy Giuliani. "People couldn't understand why," Finney says. They do now.