Huckabee Says He's the GOP's Front-Runner for 2012


David Sessions

Washington Reporter
After weeks of keeping himself in the headlines and growing more explicit about his intentions to run for president in 2012, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee touted himself as the Republican front-runner, The Hill reports. Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Huckabee attempted to remain elusive about his presidential ambitions, but showed he is closely watching his poll numbers.

"I end up leading a lot of the polls," Huckabee said. "I'm the Republican that clearly at this point does better against Obama than any other Republican." About his presidential run, Huckabee added: "I haven't closed the door. I think that would be foolish on my part, especially when poll after poll shows that there is strong sentiment out there."

The 2012 Republican presidential field could also include Mitt Romney, who led early polling until Huckabee overtook him in April, and Sarah Palin. Huckabee said Sunday that he has "no doubt" Romney will be running, and praised both of his potential opponents. He said Romney has money and organization on his side, while Palin has "fire and energy" and fervent support from the Republican base.

Huckabee, who hosts a weekend show on the Fox News Channel, has kept up a steady stream of political pronouncements since he lost the 2008 primary to John McCain. Earlier this month, he received extensive coverage after a profile in The New Yorker quoted him cracking jokes about sex with former White House correspondent Helen Thomas and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and calling gay sex "icky."

"The only thing worse than a torrid affair with sweet, sweet Nancy would be a torrid affair with Helen Thomas," Huckabee joked in an e-mail to the magazine's reporter, Ariel Levy. "If those were my only options, I'd probably be for same-sex marriage!"

In April, Huckabee faced what was seen as a setback to his presidential hopes when a man he had pardoned in Arkansas killed four police officers in Washington state. Politics Daily's Jill Lawrence wrote that it was "almost inconceivable" that Republican voters would unite behind Huckabee after the slayings.