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ELECTION 08: Huckabee discounts VP suggestion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Republican president candidate Mike Huckabee Jan. 27 brushed aside suggestions he’s aiming for a potential vice-presidential slot if John McCain becomes the GOP nominee.

The fact that the two rarely criticize one another has led some Republican observers to speculate the two could make a good team. Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace asked Huckabee if he is “trying to help McCain beat [Mitt] Romney]” in order to get a vice-presidential slot or cabinet position. Wallace said Huckabee’s “been much kinder” to McCain than to Romney.

“I think that presidential politics can be civil,” Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist minister, said during an appearance on the program. “I think people can have mutual respect for each other. John McCain and I have entered into this race both looking for the same job. I’m not looking to be on his ticket. I don’t think he’s looking to be on mine.”

He added, “Neither of us have sought to win the office by cracking the kneecaps of the other. We’ve talked about what we want to do, and what I’ve focused on is that I think my experience as an executive of a government — I think my experience both in the private and public sector give me the right kind of understanding of how to lead this country.”

Fox News showed a map of states voting on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, highlighting what it said was Huckabee’s “Southern strategy” of concentrating on winning Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Missouri. Asked how he could win the nomination by not winning some of the larger states, Huckabee said he’s second in the delegate count and still can win the nomination.

OBAMA WINS CHURCH VOTE — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama easily defeated Hillary Clinton in South Carolina’s primary Saturday, 55-27 percent, with the help of strong backing from weekly churchgoers, according to exit polls.

Those who attend church weekly backed Obama over Clinton, 58 percent to 27 percent. By contrast, among those who never attend church, Obama won but by a much smaller margin, 38 percent to 31 percent each for Clinton and Edwards. Weekly churchgoers made up 54 percent of the primary, non-churchgoers 9 percent, with the remainder comprising those who attend only occasionally. (Exit polls did not include a question asking Democratic voters how many consider themselves evangelical.)

Meanwhile, Obama received a big boost Monday when U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy endorsed Obama, one day after an opinion piece by Caroline Kennedy backing Obama appeared in The New York Times. Edward Kennedy is the brother of former President John F. Kennedy, while Caroline is the former president’s daughter. The Times’ headline above her piece read, “A President Like My Father.” She compared Obama’s qualities to her father’s qualities.

“I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them,” she wrote. “But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.”

TRANSGENDERED DEMOCRATIC MAKES HISTORY — For the first time, a transgendered person will serve on a political convention’s committee when Diego Sanchez of Massachusetts attends the Democratic National Convention in August, the Boston Herald reported. Sanchez, who had surgery to change from a woman to a man, will serve on the DNC’s platform committee, which helps craft the party’s statement of goals and beliefs. DNC Chairman Howard Dean nominated Sanchez, who is 51.

“Gov. Dean’s appointment of a record seven LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] members to the convention committees, including the first transgender member, is an important recognition of the Democratic Party’s diversity and our commitment to equality,” DNC spokesman Damien LaVera said, according to the Herald.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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