December 14th, 2007
09:12 AM ET
13 years ago

Veteran GOP strategist signs on with Huckabee

Ed Rollins is a veteran Republican strategist.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A veteran Republican strategist considered by many the architect of Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide election victory is set to take the helm of Mike Huckabee's surging presidential bid, CNN has learned.

Ed Rollins - the longtime GOP strategist who worked in the Reagan White House, ran former Sen. Jack Kemp's 1988 White House run, and played a key role in Ross Perot's 1992 presidential bid - will be formally named Huckabee's national campaign chairman later Friday at an event in New Hampshire.

Rollins told CNN's John King that over the last several months he has become "more and more impressed by the day" with Huckabee.

"I had given up the profession and felt this was probably my last campaign and I wanted to help," Rollins said. "Mike is someone with great communications skills and a very approachable message and that is why you see his support growing not just in Iowa but across the country."

Asked if he thought Huckabee - who currently holds leads in key early voting states in several recent polls - has the chance to win the nomination over more well-known and better funded candidates, Rollins said "the skill factor is certainly there."

"There is a great outpouring of support by people who have seen him, and more and more by people who see him from afar and are impressed," he said.

"The struggle now is to take it beyond Iowa and go nationally, and what you have is a growing candidacy, and I think I can help."

Rollins also said his job will include building a broader campaign structure and recruiting more seasoned advisors with experience in running a national presidential campaign.

Rollins is currently a regular contributor to CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight.

- CNN's John King and Dana Bash

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. John, Brooklyn, NY

    All the Democrats need to do is bring James Carville out of retirement and Rollins won't stand a chance.

    December 14, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Wayne Bray, Douglasville, GA

    I am amazed every time I hear people ridicule Huckabee for his faith. One would think the U.S. has never had a Christian President before. Just for the record, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Albright were all members of the same Evangelical denomination in which Mike Huckabee served as Pastor.

    For decades we have listened to liberals cry for tolerance, but now their own hypocrisy gets the best of them. True colors shine through and show that even liberals don't want everyone to have a chance.

    If a man believes in Jesus, he must be crazy. If someone actually has the gaul to act out the practice of his faith, he couldn't possibly lead the country.

    I believe that most people are tired of hypocrites in politics. Like him or not, Huckabee is no hypocrite. He is the real deal. Clinton does not have a chance against him, but I would never say she shouldn't be aloud to run just because I disagree with her practice of faith in Jesus.

    It won't even be a close race. Ed Rollin is good, but Huckabee doesn't really need him. He has authenticity on his side.

    December 14, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. chuckabee

    I think this is awesome. As a nation we have been far too hard on rapists and murderers. I think if they say they are sorry and that they found Jesus we should let them go. President Huckabee will make that happen!
    GO HUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 14, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    I just know that Huck will be able to use his knowledge of the Bible to become a basis of knowledge to construct an economic plan. It would definately be better than someone who has 2 degrees in both Harvard and BYU, in both business and law, with top honors in both.
    Afterall, he could hire the swift boat veteran guy to drive a swift boat to barter and sell Bibles to the Chinese, so that they won't just dump all of the trillions of dollars that they are thinking of dumping. And if they refuse, then another Huck supporter, Chuck Norris, could beat the excrement out of them to comply. This would be great. Then he could send some of those other supporters, like the old pro wrestlers to back him up. They could then sell cheese whiz in a can by the case loads, along with Nascar posters. This will definately get us out of our impending financial crisis next year.
    Congratulations Al Rollins, in finding a winner! And congratulations to Iowa and South Carolina, in following along!

    December 14, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. mdjosyf, sykesville, md

    Gotta love the Huckster. Democrats envy his fetish for taxation, love for illegal immigrants and don't forget that lovely man-made lake he had built for Arkansawians at their expense...NEXT TO HIS HOUSE! How can he Hucks you today?

    RON PAUL 2008!

    December 14, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Truth Seeker:

    Knock it off! You said, "You won't understand Huckabee if you don't understand the God of the bible."

    That's is exactly why Huckabee cannot be president. WE ARE TRYING TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT for crying out loud, not a minister or a preacher. Presidential candidate doesn't have to "understand" the Bible. He does have to understand the US Constitution however. I am a Christian, and I am sick of hearing that the President needs to be religious and someone that takes the scriptures of Bible literally.


    December 14, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. P P Hernandez, Sunset, Republic of Louisiana

    Hey, I heard Senator Clinton from New York is running. If so he'd make a fine canadate. Much better than any of those Neolibs running.

    December 15, 2007 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  8. Told You He Was Coming

    Ed Rollins is a perfect addition to the Huckabee campaign. For those of us who thought he would surge all along, this shows the big guns are beginning to agree. Huckabee v. Hilary might be a very tight race at the beginning, but Huckabee should be able to pull away easily. He comes across as funny, likable, and more of a straight shooter. Plus, he is a Washington outsider. The media and the democrats will not be able to make pithy explanations for his shortcomings. The fact that the media and democrats still cannot grab hold of issues that threaten our constitutional democracy and make them real is no accident. Impeachment for infidelity. Destroying torture evidence is nothing but protecting national security, unless your name is Valerie Plame. Democrats and the media run scared from conservatives. Meantime, Huckabee's Mormonism take down shows he knows how to play the game without taking any hits. Willie Horton might just have converted to Mormonism.

    December 15, 2007 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  9. Hilton Harrell Jr., Elmira New York

    The Shift in Momentum IS FOR PRESIDENT HUCKABEE in 2008

    Mike Huckabee is presidential material and is alone able to defeat Hillary & Obama. I am now convinced that those wealthier donors to Romney's, Giuliani's, and Thompson's campaign have wasted their money and if they continue, are wasting their hard earned money on
    candidates who do not have voter appeal or substance. As a member of the younger generation, I will tell you point blank, Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson DO NOT connect with us.

    ROMENY has run out of gas. He has been the worst investment money could buy. His persecution complex make him so defensive that he cracks under pressure. BOTH Romney's and Giuliani's flop flip past makes them a liability and not an asset for republicans in 2008.

    Every time Huckabee is heard his approval amongst Republicans and Democrats increases even WITHOUT major financial support. Just imagine what would happen if he got the major financial support. He is the Republican's secret weapon in the 2008 election. Huckabee's proven leadership can help bring America together as a team.

    Listed are just some of the reasons why I switched my vote to Huckabee:

    1. Huckabee can think on his feet.

    2. He is personable.

    3. He is real and does NOT put up a front.

    4. Huckabee is a problem-solver for the poor and less fortunate.

    5. Huckabee is extremely knowledgeable about various issues and communicates with confidence.

    6. He is Pro-life and Pro-family.

    7. He is witty and competitive.

    8. As governor, Huckabee is the longest proven executive leader among all the nominees.

    9. He demonstrates wisdom, humility, and self-control.

    10. Huckabee is completely understandable and communicates with great

    11. Huckabee has a consistent conservative track record.

    12. He is noble, honest, compassionate, bold, also attentive to all the questions he was ever asked about WITHOUT being all overthe board and WITHOUT sounding scattered.

    13. Huckabee is clearly the toughest on border and national security.

    14. Huckabee speaks without annoying hesitations and does not utilize vacuous speech.

    15. He has earned the respect of Afro-Americans and Hispanics since he was THE ONLY top ranked one who valued and respected them by attending the latest ethnic sponsored republican forum.

    16. He is direct and uncompromising about the flat tax system.

    17. Huckabee is very focused and he is all about accomplishing measurable goals.

    18. Huckabee has the most practical experience, for over ten years, defeating the Clinton "socialist" political machine in Arkansa and alone has the know-how to defeat them nationally.

    19. Huckabee, as governor of Arkansa, did more to practically help the people of New Oreans, LA after Katrina than the governor of Louisiana because Huckabee's state government was so organized

    20. Mike Huckabee sticks to his principles without being pressured to change them at the whim of polls and media pundits. He also answers questions very candidly WITHOUT being nervous and WITHOUT dishonestly covering himself up before the public.

    21. Huckabee is also NOT a part of the establishment in a period when there is an anti-establisnment sentiment in America.

    22. Mike Huckabee is the ONLY candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton and Obama. The people who are passionate about Huckabee are NOT going to suddenly change their vote within the given time period of the
    primaries. The rest of the nominees command no such passion. Face it. It is all over.


    December 15, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  10. Richard Diegel, Monroe GA

    Go Huckabee! The only candidate that realizes that the current tax system is choking and killing this country. He supports the fairtax which would completely eliminate the IRS – HALLELUJAH!!! If you don't know anything about the fairtax I encourage you to read up on it here –

    December 15, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Phil, dallas TX

    I really think Huckabee is a great candidate for the oval office, he is a very smart man and he has my vote.

    December 15, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Cody Harding, Kinsley, KS

    Why is it that when anyone even mentions 'Ron Paul' on the internet, a horde of zombies comes out to tout his 'great leadership'? I thought this article was about Huckabee and Rollins? In all seriousness, leave the 'Paulitics' [Also known as the 'faux-itics'] for the pages reserved for the loon.

    As for Rollins and Huckabee, I think that the senior strategist has signed onto the wrong candidate. He may have to wait another four years until a republican can have a decent shot at the white house.

    As for me, I'm still unsure who to vote for...the Cthulhu '08 campaign is looking awfully tempting, especially if Paul wins the ticket.

    Cthulhu for 2008...Why vote for the lesser Evil?

    December 15, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. scott, lithonia, georgia


    December 15, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. Ron Turner,Summerville, SC

    Right on Trannon!
    We truly need a "constitutionalist" at this critical time in the life of our country! Ron Paul has my vote!

    December 16, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Mark, D'Ville, GA

    Huckabee the Huckster is the last thing this country needs. We need someone grounded in reality, not the fantasy world of evangelical Christians.
    Posted By ETM, Springfield, VA : December 14, 2007 10:27 am

    WOW.....ETM, I hope you don't mind if I pray for you!!

    December 21, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. puddytat

    Mike Huckabee is going to make a believer out of those who lost faith in the AMERICAN WAY ! ! !

    February 5, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
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