Hit & Run

Puff, Puff, Give In

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I've always found Mike Huckabee's anti-obesity for-your-health crusade sort of endearing, mostly because I don't think he'll be president and because it reminds me of everyone 's favorite musical fatty Brian Wilson. He really believes in this stuff: Huckabee even supports a national smoking ban and says he'd sign one into law!

That's clear enough, isn't it?

In its statement to The Hill, the campaign stated, "At a Lance Armstrong cancer forum last August, Governor Huckabee said that if Congress presented him with legislation banning smoking in public places, he would sign it, because he would not oppose the overwhelming public support that such a congressional vote would reflect. However, since such sentiment for federal legislation doesn't exist at this time, and since he has said that the responsibility for regulating smoking initially lies with the states, the governor believes that this issue is best addressed at the local and state levels."

Obviously, that's not what Huckabee said. He wanted the executive to take the lead on this. He's flipped on the issue because it was hurting him with conservatives. I'm curious to see how much of this stuff Huckabee "evolves" as his profile grows. Even if he loses the nomination he's going to be the most prominent political evangelical in America, and he's sorting out which of his gooier policy stances he can keep and which he can't if he wants to keep that role. (Being anti-smoking is perfectly popular with evangelicals, but being for the state telling businesses what to do is different.)

Kerry Howley wrote the definitive profile of Huckabee and his heath nut heart for Politics—it's available here.

(Hat tip: Sommer Mathis.)

UPDATE: Cleaner explanation: He's trying to win tobacco-happy South Carolina.