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. Lee, Saginaw, MI

    nice resume since Reagan....Kemp and Perot....bwahahahahahahaha. you go get 'em Huckleberry.

    December 14, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Agt. Smart

    I just love it when all of these people attack Huckabee's faith – especially the guy who threw in the 6,000 year old earth thing. These people are so afraid of Christianity because they do not want to be held accountable to anyone (i.e, God!) They think that by ignoring or attacking Christianity it will go away. Well, like most things in life, Christianity will not go away because it is attacked or ignored. I wonder why that is?

    December 14, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. monkeybush

    Posted By Brian Tampa, FL : December 14, 2007 11:02 am

    Wow man, as one who is accusing people of "parroting" talking points, you sure have the Limbaugh – Faux Newz lines down pat.

    Keep throwing those "liberal" barbs around, it shows your true redness.

    Conservatives couldn't think for themselves if they wanted to, (last 7 years is Exhibit A, your honorless)... bowing to authority and doing as they are told seems to be the Connie way.

    December 14, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Bill, NY, NY

    I may consider myself conservative but there is no way that Huckabee gets my vote. just because he's a preacher doesn't cut it. look at his past record. this guy is a joke. he is just getting by with the evangelicals who need to look further into a candidate's past record instead of cozying up to the one who touts his morals around. he's a wolf in sheep's clothes.

    December 14, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. monkey

    Posted By Tim Wilson, Antioch, CA : December 14, 2007 11:08 am

    I dunno Tim, did Dumbya ever travel outside the U.S. or run a large enterprise without bankrupting it without help from Daddy Warbucks?


    December 14, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. ETM, Springfield, VA

    It should come as no shock that conservatives are now scattered all over the place, from the religious wingnut to Warrior Rudy.
    Contemporary conservatism in America is built around bigotry, ignorance, nativism, religious intolerance and supply-side hokum. When conservatives find their way back to reality, they may have something intelligent to say.

    December 14, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. livefreeordie - AZ

    the next election needs to be won by the people and for the people.

    if you want a win for the people, ron paul is the man.

    if you'd rather fool yourselves and be tucked into bed every night by washington whilst they go about thier dirty business, vote for anyone else.

    December 14, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Jim Baumgartner, Santa Cruz, CA

    With Ed Rollins on board, I'm convinced that Huckabee will get the nomination. He can win the whole thing if Democrats are stupid enough to choose Clinton.

    I like Mike (a whole lot better than Hillary!).

    December 14, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Frank, San Diego

    As a long-time Democrat I should probably sit quietly and let the other team nominate Huckleberry Hound for President. Clinton, Obama or Edwards would certainly walk all over him in the general election.

    Unless, of course, lightning (or a meteor, or an out-of-control campaign bus) strikes the Democrat on 11/1/08. Just as insurance against the worst calamity to befall America since George Bush, why don't all of you Republicans out there take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths and find yourself someone less dangerous than Huckabee, PLEASE?

    December 14, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Ryan O. Wilmington, DE

    Yes, I hope Hucklebee gets the GOP nomination!

    Because I want to see President Hillary Clinton win in a landslide!!

    December 14, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |

    I believe Huckabee will be the republican nominee, Rollins is a welcomed addition. He has the big MO and thankfully for Democrats, a good array of baggage. Whoever the republicans pick is irrelevant because they won't stand a snowball in hell of a chance of winning in '08. Hillary will beat eventual gop nominee hands down.

    December 14, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Christopher, Phoenix AZ


    December 14, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Bob, Seattle

    Mr. Huckabee has done remarkably well on his own to date. Actually, marvelously. With the compressed primary schedule the addition of Mr. Rollins is crucial. Hopefully, Mr. Rollins will be able to capture the attention of the national folks in a big way, very quickly. This seems to be the key. Keep on getting traction. Build on that traction of the early states. Mr. Huckabee has a toe hold, now – hopefully, he can gain a firm grasp. Onward Mr. Huckabee, we need you. The Red, White, and all of the Blue needs you.

    December 14, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Walter, Long Beach

    MEMO: To all Democrats
    RE: Mike Huckabee

    Be sure you don't get in the way of Republicans on their way to the polls to nominate their party's answer to George McGovern. In fact, offer them a ride.

    December 14, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Lee M

    Will, to a degree I believe you are right. The neocons have captured the republican party.

    But don't worry. Huckabee more closely represents what the common republican voter wants, without the phony posing of Mitt Romney. Let Republicans choose the man that best personifies the state of their party right now.

    I'm sorry, but Ron Paul and the old libertarian strain of the Republican Party are seen as being on the fringe of that party and do not belong. I must agree (although I'm not saying I disagree with much of libertarian sentiment – it's just that it's not where the modern Republican Party is.)

    Looks like Huckabee has a great shot at winning the nomination. It will present us with a clear and honest choice.

    December 14, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Eric from Texas said: "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."

    Poor need to really expand your reading!! First–The "trickle down" effect and benefits of Reagan's economic scheme have not worked. Yes..profits are higher than ever–but it's being shared by an ever fewer minority of Americans. Second: In case you have not noticed–Government spending today, if compared to when Reagan first took office–is nearly as large as our total GNP then!!!

    We ARE paying higher taxes (just not major corporations, foreign investors, and those with money in "off-shore" accounts)right now with a conservative–molded in stone–Reaganomics disciple in the White House!!

    No world power can exist without a government, and nobody wants to pay unecessary taxes. The tax burden in our nation should be "equitable"–at all levels of income. The rewards of the American's efforts achieving the capitalistic ideal–could be better distributed.

    Eric–do us all a favor. Read more, and turn off the radio and T.V.

    December 14, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Bob Kloversky

    So!!! Won't win anyway

    December 14, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. charlie houston texas

    Bring it ED!! The Ron Paul grassroots campaign welcomes your old, seasoned experience.

    December 14, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. K Wilkinson MG TX

    Rollins said. "Mike is someone with great communications skills"

    Oh right, with words like "Tattle-Tale". He may have good communication skills for someone in grade school!

    Huckabee, GAG!

    December 14, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Susan, Macedon New York

    Is anyone seriously going to vote for someone who doesn't believe in evolution? Well, maybe the religious right, but that's it. I guess we'll find out just how many truly squirrley people there are in this country – besides all the ones that voted for Bush-twice

    December 14, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. poster

    When the so-called "libertarians" start to recognize the fact that there is more than a subtle difference between a boardroom and a bedroom I'll start considering a vote for one of them.

    December 14, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Jed... in not everyone in Texas is Stupid

    Dobbie Gillis running Gomer Pyles run for office, ahhh, how refreshing. Another four years of "Trickle Down my Leg Theory"!I may get fithy rich yet.

    December 14, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Gary, Detroit, Mich.


    Well put. I have just one question for Mr. Huckabee. How does he explain all those 200 million year dinosaur skeletons that archaeologists all over the world keep finding? If one were to do a chronological timeline based on Huckabee's beliefs, you would have to say that dinosaurs lived only 5,000 years ago. Therefore the great ice age must have occured during the 2nd or 3rd week of August, say around 1958 or so. The ancient Egyptian and Greek civilizations rose and fell about the same time that John Kennedy was telling Kruschev and Castro to go pound sand in the early sixties. And Christ was really born in the disco era, say around 1977 and World War 2 was really just last week. Those southern Baptists are geniuses I tell you, geniuses! Huckabee would put this country on a fastrack back to the middle ages, complete with leper colonies and witch burning.

    December 14, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Doug, Maryland

    Oh PLEASE. The last thing this country needs is another so-called religious right wing conversative. Can we please elect someone this time with brains, skill, and ability to make decisions with some thought and intelligence instead of pretending to pray in order to find an answer to this country's problems??????? Religious figures belong in a church, not in government.

    December 14, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Jim in Orlando, FL

    It will surely all play out for us to see, but count me as one American who thinks we could do a whole lot worse than the Huckster against Obama in the general election ... a whole lot worse. Both men are at their core honest, centrist, and low-key partisan if that.

    December 14, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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