January 1st, 2008
11:58 PM ET
9 years ago

New Huckabee ad appeals to Christian conservatives

A Christian symbol makes an appearance in a new Huckabee ad.

A Christian symbol makes an appearance in a new Huckabee ad.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - For the second time in the past two weeks, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has aired a commercial in which a Christian symbol appears in the background.

In the campaign ad, Huckabee is addressing members of the Iowa Christian Alliance, an organization whose symbol is the ichthys which appears on a banner that is shown prominently at the open and close of the 30 second spot. The ICA is an influential social conservative organization in Iowa, and Huckabee can be seen speaking about his opposition to abortion before the group.

The ichthys, which resembles a fish, is well-known in evangelical circles as the symbol used by early Christians to secretly identify one another without attracting persecution.

The Huckabee campaign unveiled this ad as well as another on its campaign Web site Monday afternoon, hours after the former Arkansas governor reversed course and decided against airing a negative campaign commercial targeting rival Mitt Romney.“Our Values” is currently airing in Iowa, while "Tax Cuts Matter" is airing in New Hampshire, according to a campaign spokeswoman.

"The purpose of these ads is to highlight the things that truly matter – while underscoring my conservative record of leadership and my vision for America moving forward," Huckabee said in a news release Tuesday announcing the ads. "As we enter the closing days of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, there are a lot of things being said on television and sent to mailboxes across the Hawkeye state. I urge Iowans to look beyond the rhetoric and seek the truth about my record and optimistic plans for our nation's future.”

Iowa will host the first presidential nominating contest Thursday, and evangelical conservatives are an important voting bloc in the caucuses. Fiscal conservatives play an influential role in the Republican primary in New Hampshire, which will take place next week.

“The pro-life position was the one espoused by our Founding Fathers when they said that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights,” Huckabee says in the ad. “The first one they listed was life. Nobody has a greater level of intrinsic worth or value than another person. Being unborn doesn’t make you less valuable.

“Maybe instead of having our values trampled all over every single day and night, we would express to America what those values are: Family, life, freedom. Those things matter to us - always have, always will.”

A Huckabee spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

In late December, Huckabee dismissed suggestions that he was trying to send a subliminal message to Christian voters in a campaign commercial that appeared to show a cross floating behind him. The cross was an outline of a shelf.

“Actually I will confess this, if you play this spot backwards it says ‘Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead,’” the presidential candidate joked to reporters. “So the next thing you know, someone will be playing it backwards to find out the subliminal messages that are really there.”

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Deb

    As a Christian I am offended by Huckabee and his commercials. The obvious subliminal messages, that Huckabee denys later, like the bookcase, only remind me of someone who is dishonest and underhanded pretending to be something good.

    I hope Romney beats him in Iowa!

    If he wants to send the message that he is a conservative Christian then he should just say so up front and explain exactly what that means instead of these stupid stunts. What else does he have to hide?

    January 2, 2008 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  2. lillith

    In late December, Huckabee dismissed suggestions that he was trying to send a subliminal message to Christian voters in a campaign commercial that appeared to show a cross floating behind him. The cross was an outline of a shelf."..

    Ya,ike it wasn't airbrushed in to highlight the cross. If it weren't intended it wouldn't be their as a distracation, like if any othe shape. Christian spin–a new tern just for Huckabee campaign.

    If that anin't pandering...

    January 2, 2008 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  3. Sam IA

    Anyone wanting to know who Huckabee is playing to need only have visited a Baptist or Pentocostal church in Iowa this past Sunday. You would have trouble deciding whether you where in church or at a political rally .
    What would Jesus do? He would probably be at the Democtratic caucuses.

    January 2, 2008 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  4. Bill Marshall

    We can't afford to have someone that is scientifically illiterate holding the highest office in the land. We have had eight years of that already. I would hope that we are beyond the Middle Ages with an effortless fusion of religion and politics. I guess not.

    We are not founded as a christian nation either. Here is a nice quote from the Treaty of Tripoli written in 1797 (Article 11 in the treaty) and approved by President John Adams:

    "As the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mohometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of harmony existing between the two countries."

    I should point out that it was UNANIMOUSLY approved by the Senate. What are the odds that this would pass the Senate unanimously today? Clearly we are backsliding as a nation.

    By the way, the "fair tax" proposed by the Huckster is only fair if you are poor or uber-rich. If you are solidly middle class you will be paying MORE in taxes than you do now. This sounds like typical Republican fiscal policy to me. That fair tax includes utilities and buying cars-everything (imaging paying a 30% premium on your car-yes, 30%, not the 23% that has been touted based on the fuzzy math of the Huckatollah). Check out factcheck.org for the real numbers. If the prospect of an American Taliban doesn't scare you, then maybe paying 30% in taxes on your SUV might.

    January 2, 2008 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  5. Jack K.

    Mr. Huckabee....

    We're still waiting to hear. Your platform says you're going to eliminate employer contributions to healthcare insurance because: " the business of business is business–not healthcare".

    Sir, who will make up the difference? Will employees have to pay 100% of the insurance premiums no longer paid by their employers?

    Have you made some agreement with insurance companies–that they will accept receiving 1/2 of their previous profits from premiums collected?

    Your plan sounds risky for Americans–and looks to only benefit business, with no plan on how sustain the current healthcare services available to Americans. I don't see why any American would be pleased to find out that ALL the costs of their healthcare will be shifted to their shoulders–to create another "goodie package" for America's corporations.

    I really do wish Americans wouldn't just listen to your "suspect" christian soundbites–and take a deeper look at what you've actually committed to in writing on your agenda!!

    I'm a career military vet and a catholic–I'm not impressed by your piety nor your common sense to run the nation.

    January 2, 2008 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  6. TrueHawk, St. Croix, USVI

    It was in the background. Yeah, he could have used another venue, but then again he would have gotten no free press. Huck is very politically astute. This gives him an excuse to say, "They put it up, not me" and then to also allow the media, by worrying about it, to be symbolically aligned with the persecutors.

    January 2, 2008 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  7. Chuck

    All the Republican candidates will complete the job G W Bush started. The distruction of the Republican Party.

    January 2, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  8. Patricia

    SO WHAT?
    Is it against the law to show you are a Christian?
    I believe some 90% of the U.S. is Christian.
    Christians founded this country.

    I am not such a huge Huckabee fan by any means,
    but I believe he has the right to show and state his beliefs
    as long as he lives in this country. Right?

    Why is CNN making such a big deal of this?
    Do some real reporting or you lose a fan.

    January 2, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  9. DW


    It is amazing how many people are ignorant of the history of the U.S. Apparently none of these bloggers know that George Washington was a devoted Christian who prayed publicly and often. Thank goodness the society today was not alive during the Revolutionary War because George Washington would have been persecuted and run out of town instead of being a great General who led us to our independence and became our first president.

    And for all confessing to be a Christian: a Christian is a full-time commitment, not a part-time commitment. Every aspect of one's life is suppose to represent one's belief. If you confess to be a Christian and are against Christian values, then I think a little soul searching is in order

    January 2, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  10. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Once again, GOP, keep harping about who loves Jesus more. This is what passes for political discourse in the party of my parents. The GOP has surely become irrelevant. If any candidate other than Ron Paul becomes the GOP candidate, the GOP will deserve to lose the election.

    January 2, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  11. T.

    Huckabee has said that he doesn't know much about Mormons. Yeah... that's the guy I want for president, one who doesn't know anything about "America's religion." BTW, anyone interested in what the Mormons really believe can look at lds.org or mormon.org.
    As for being so innocent, I guess he forgot about the following: http://news.newsmax.com/?yJ.a3q27-sv5L5.MT0qfxnP1Dxy

    As a Mormon Republican, I'm beginning to feel about Huckabee the way lots of evangelicals feel about Romney: "Well, I'd rather have him than Hillary..."

    January 2, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  12. Jason Henderson, NC

    Dale Davis, Glendora, California – that's why Romney would have the tact and common sense not to do it.

    January 2, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. pete ft worth tx

    What's the big deal? The man has a religious belief system. Get over it. At least he believes in something. If the guy was Muslim, no one would dare say a word, eh?

    January 2, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Holy crucifix Batman ! What's next .... Candidates speaking in churches ? Maybe even a black church ? Where have all the God-fearing aetheist president wannabees gone ? Aaaaaaaarrrrrgh !

    January 2, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. Bob, NY

    And the relative story is???

    January 2, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. Mindy Chatsworth, California

    To John Hudson, Ohio –

    Well, how about this? I would rather see the devil himself in the background than Huckabee or any of the Republican candidates for president, because God help us all if any of these guys gets elected president.

    January 2, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Huckabee is another Bush in sheep's clothing. He will wage a Holy war and claim it to be in the name of God. If American people can't see this coming from Huckabee it will be too late. In the name of God, those who support Huckabee for president, please reevaluate your position on politics and religion. Remember Bush used a calling from God for his actions and his hands are bloody.

    January 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    I'm with Jon Sanderson. We HAVE to have a Commander-in-Chief not a Pastor-in-Chief in the White House.
    Pity those simple-minded "christians" who don't recognize that they are being manipulated by a smooth talking former Baptist minister just to get their votes. If your happy being manipulated like that I guess you deserve what you will get – prayers instead of action from the White House. Oh, I almost forgot – we ALL are getting that now.
    To those still living by 16th century standards I say good luck with this hypocrite and his self-proclaimed "christian leadership" running on a "morals and values" platform. If they elect him and find out that he only prayed for divine intervention to save Social Security they will get exactly what they deserve from Social Security for electing a Pastor-in-Chief...nothing.

    January 2, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Mark in Atlanta

    So what? Same deal with the cross/bookshelf. Of course it's religious symbolism. Of course it's intentional. But he's a PREACHER for Pete's sake. His appeals to religious conservatives have been overt. It's not secret. And it's hardly malicious. Vote Obama. Peace.

    January 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Bill, Albany, NY

    Move this country forward???!!! Are you kidding me? If we listen to the sheep of Dobson, Robertson, Perkins, and Donahue we as society move backward not forward. Screw Hukcabee and screw Romney

    McCain or Paul for 08.

    January 2, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. John Halverson DC

    I don't have a problem that he is Christian, I don't even have a problem that he flaunts it. I do however have a problem that he is ignorant and a moron. He won't win the nomination, he is just a passing fancy.

    January 2, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Fortunato

    Well golly jee willikers... Since the weekdays are named after pagan gods, they all must be "real" too – see, this is Norse-created Nation!(TM) ....since Thursday is clearly named after Thor. Wait...wait...I think we're a nation of the Roman Gods...since Saturday is named after Saturn. Oh wait wait, maybe we're just a Roman Nation since a couple of our months are named after Agustus and Octavious. Hell, there are god references all over the place! Maybe we're a nation of PEOPLE who may or may not hold various beliefs in other gods?! hmmmm hmmmm?

    And our forefathers were mostly deists, not that it matters what the heck they worshipped, if anything – we've progressed since then (well most of us). I'm so sick of people deifying Washington, Jefferson, and the gan ... or deifying some ancient book that has a plethora of mystery writers, secret and constant revisions and retro-fitting, for a secret book that only the rich had permission to read up until a few hundred years ago...especially when the mystery group that wrote something with less consistency than the DC universe comics continuity.

    January 2, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Mario

    Justr more of the same that CNN has to report about things that mean nothing in the presidential campagn. CNN, Communist News network. Get a grip and quit trying to create news.

    January 2, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Mark

    Are you guys serious?

    The current conspiracy theory is a floating fish? Give me a break. The audio they wanted for this particular video was recorded at that speech...with the host organization's logo on the wall. That's it.

    Please people.

    January 2, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  25. Dawn Chrenka

    Huckabee is the only hope this nation has, as far a real choice for candidates.
    Wake up and really look at the truth.
    I for one want the IRS eliminated and this nation is long over due for a true Christian leader. This great nation was founded by our forefathers who had Christian beliefs & were God fearing men.
    Would all the true God fearing candidates please step forward!?!

    January 14, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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