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Washington Examiner: Huckabee dismisses a draft but remains big in Iowa

Despite having to prepare for a debate far across the state, four Republican presidential candidates — Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum — came here to Des Moines Wednesday night for the premiere of a movie. Perry thought the event so important that, even though he was campaigning in western Iowa, he hopped a plane at the last minute to fly to Des Moines for the event, and then turned around and headed back for the Fox News debate in Sioux City.

So it wasn’t just any movie. The film was “The Gift of Life,” a pro-life manifesto produced by Citizens United and narrated by former GOP presidential candidate — and 2008 Iowa caucus winner — Mike Huckabee. Iowa conservatives, 1,200 of them, packed Hoyt Sherman hall for the event, with each candidate given a chance to speak before the film.

Of course the candidates, all strongly pro-life, wanted to associate themselves with social conservatives, and they all jumped at the chance to speak to 1,200 of them at one time. But each also wanted to associate themselves with the still-popular Huckabee. Nobody will win the Huckabee primary this year — he has said he won’t endorse a candidate during the primary and caucus season — but all hoped a little of Huckabee’s approval would rub off on them.

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