December 14th, 2007
09:12 AM ET
11 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. bukky, Balt MD

    Sounds like the Original Carl Rove...

    December 14, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Great!!
    This will probably ensure that Huckleberry on comes in a close 2nd!!
    The American people will may still be spared another "knucklehead" Parrot in the Oval Office.

    December 14, 2007 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Darrin, COLUMBUS OH

    As if this country isn't in enough trouble. That's just what we need – an evangelist right wing titmouse who thinks that he's the right hand man to Jesus, paired with the warped architect of trickle down economic conservatism. I suppose Huckabee will soon be touting himself as the next Ronald Reagan, which is laughable in itself since everyone has this sick delusion that Reagan was some great President. Somebody stop all this spinning and let me off. I'm going to be sick.

    December 14, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Trannon, Edmond, OK

    This was a nice attempt by CNN to get Huckabee to look like he might line up with the likes of Ronald Regan. The problem is he's too liberal if you listen to his views on health care and others.

    Only Ron Paul, a true friend and supporter of Ronald Regan, truly stands up to the conservative ideals the GOP once stood for. Only Ron Paul will actually obey the Oath of Office and protect your liberties and the Constitution of the United States!

    December 14, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. josh, akron, oh

    Yes, America vote against your best interests for a third time...the country can certainly use 4 more years of dumbed down, 6,000 year old Earth, "christian" leadership.

    Go for it!

    December 14, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. jw, canadian,ok

    Say Ed, how's those Reaganomics working? Dunno, Huckonomics doesn't have the same ring.

    December 14, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Truth Seeker

    Good! I can foresee a landslide victory for Huckabee if/when people see who this man really is and aren't fooled by those who prejudge him because of his faith, and are afraid of him for the same reason. Huckabee knows he can't force his religion on anyone because he knows the value of following Jesus, and Jesus came to offer what we all need, not demand that we recieve it. We need a "good" man in the office; at least someone who has a "good" standard and relies on God to help him to live up to that standard. You won't understand Huckabee if you don't understand the God of the bible. "Seek and ye shall find." Let's get back to what made this nation great, and put an end to the downward spiral. History proves when a nation falls away from God,it falls.

    December 14, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. BigTexas

    Ed Rollins is good- he can help spin all of Huckabee's tax increases, pro illegal immigration $ giveaways, and extreme religious lets blow up Iran for Jesus and Bush views.

    December 14, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Ed Rollins is a formidable player. His logical and seemingly unbiased views on TV have appeared to be been refreshing.

    Hmmm... Maybe his "unbiased" views a.k.a. Bush bashing have only been a subterfuge to separate Huckabee from the current nutjob in the big white house.

    December 14, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    Yes Huckabee!

    McCain may be the candidate of the money wing of the Republican Party, and Giuliani the neocon wing of the party, but the heart and soul of the mass of regular republican voters is personified by the Huckabee candidacy.

    So despite the lack of name recognition (like 9-11 Giuliani) or the cash and organization (Romney), the "republican people's choice" emerges. His rise was not orchestrated by Fox News (9-11 Giuliani) or corporate America, but by evangelical republicans honestly finding a candidate that thinks like them, and doesn't just give lip service come election time.

    Huckabee will give us a clear choice. Rollins sees a winner.

    December 14, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Walt, Belton, TX

    Getting Ed Rollins as chief advisor is a huge plus, but Huckabee has too many negatives to get my vote. If only McCain had taken a stronger national security stand on the illegal alien issue (no amnesty) and insisted on a secure border he would have been #1.

    Now it is going to boil down to what it has been for the past 35 years, except for Reagan:

    WHO'S THE LEAST WORST CANDIDATE?

    December 14, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. David Knowles

    Incredible. Especially considering Peggy Noonan and Rich Lowry's articles today letting Huckabee have it on the matter of religion:

    http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2007/12/14/ronald-reagan-would-lose-today/

    December 14, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. Jason, Seattle WA

    Huckabee is the most likable among the GOP candindates, havings Ed Rollins can't hurt. I'd vote for him but can he get past Rudy remains to be seen, a lot can happen in 10 months.

    December 14, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Stephen Rothman, West Palm Beach, Fl

    He is the first candidate that I feel I could support. The rest of the field on both sides of the aisle, to me, seem to be talking with forked tongues.

    December 14, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    "Say Ed, how's those Reaganomics working? Dunno, Huckonomics doesn't have the same ring.
    Posted By jw, canadian,ok"

    Uh, given we've had nearly 25 years of very solid economic growth, I'd say "Reaganomics" has worked very, very well. In fact, look at Ireland's economy of recent years and it's adoption of what you decry as "Reaganomics."

    I'm just astounded at liberals' anger at the notion of people keeping THEIR OWN MONEY, versus sending it to a bumbling federal bureaucracy to be wasted for them.

    When there is a tax cut, the government is not "GIVING" free government money out to people. It's simply not stealing AS MUCH money from THE PEOPLE as they normally do. Taxes are the people's money, not the government's.

    December 14, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. Larry, Virginia

    I originally was a Huckabee supporter. But the last couple of debates have shown him to be an empty suit. He's funny and a nice guy, but offers no substance on foreign policy, the economy, or immigration. These are serious and dangerous times that require a strong and smart leader. I see Huckabee as the GOP version of Jimmy Carter.

    December 14, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Robert, Shelton, CT

    Huckabee doesn't stand a chance, Republican in name only, but I guess he is better than autocrat Giuliani.

    December 14, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    Go Huckabee!

    Mitt Romney may be the candidate of the money wing of the Republican Party, and Giuliani the neocon wing of the party, but the very heart and soul of the mass of regular republican voters is personified by the Huckabee candidacy.

    So despite the lack of name recognition (like 9-11 Giuliani) or the cash and organization (Romney), the "republican people's choice" emerges. His rise was not orchestrated by Fox News (9-11 Giuliani) or corporate America, but by evangelical republicans honestly finding a candidate that thinks like them, and doesn't just give lip service come election time.

    Huckabee will give us a clear choice.

    December 14, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Bobby, orlando, fl

    I love all these Paulbots leaving comments. You know, your candidate may be doing better if you spend more time helping his campaign rather sitting in front of your computers spamming message boards. No wonder everyone thinks of Ron as a nut job. Look at his followers.

    December 14, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. ETM, Springfield, VA

    Hey, Truth Seeker, have you noticed that most of world's secular nations are doing just fine and most of the religious, theocratic ones are tyrannical, oppressive and poor?
    Huckabee the Huckster is the last thing this country needs. We need someone grounded in reality, not the fantasy world of evangelical Christians.

    December 14, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Paul, New Orleans, LA

    Ron Paul is only the true conservative! Reagan supported Ron Paul, do some research people.

    December 14, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Does this guy even know what the internet is? Beleive it or not the world is just a little bit different than it was 24 years ago.

    December 14, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. bcamarda

    I'm amazed that nobody has mentioned Rollins' comments to Time about suppressing black votes in his 1993 campaign for Christie Todd Whitman in NJ. Quoting Time via Wikipedia:

    ...Rollins claimed to Time magazine that he secretly paid black ministers and democratic campaign workers in order to suppress voter turnout. "We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, 'Do you have a special project?' And they said, 'We've already endorsed Florio.' We said, 'That's fine, don't get up on the Sunday pulpit and preach. We know you've endorsed him, but don't get up there and say it's your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.'" After public outcry and calls for an investigation Rollins partially retracted some of these claims...

    This was HUGE news at the time: quite possibly the biggest news Rollins has ever made.

    December 14, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Posted By Eric, from THE Republic of Texas : December 14, 2007 10:16 am

    Eric, I realize that most of you Texicans are a little slow and many of you are in denial but, Texas is a state; and only one of 50 for that matter.

    December 14, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. HISTORY REPEATS, NY

    WHO'S THE LEAST WORST CANDIDATE?

    Posted By Walt, Belton, TX : December 14, 2007 10:03 am

    if thats your choice maybe you should vote democrat.....

    December 14, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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