He won the South. Did he win it because of something about the South, or because he has so little money that he had to concentrate it somewhere?
Ed Rollins, Huckabee's chief political strategist, said he would be astonished if Huckabee has spent more than $10 million on his candidacy....So McCain is handling this gracefully. Meanwhile, Romney has been a clod about Huckabee:
But Huckabee focused his limited resources almost exclusively on the Southeast, with old-fashioned, retail politicking. He presented himself as the only true social conservative in the race, jabbing at Romney as a flip-flopper as he pulled conservatives disenchanted with McCain into his orbit.
"Conservatives had the opportunity to pick a real conservative in the South," Rollins said. "And they did."
Even as McCain was claiming the mantle of front-runner in his victory speech last night, he was compelled to congratulate Huckabee on his sweep of the South. "Not for the first time, he surprised the rest of us," McCain said.
Over the past weeks, Romney has said repeatedly that Huckabee was more a nuisance than a threat, a candidate who should drop out of the race and leave it to the only two Republicans who could reasonably claim to be contenders for the nomination. Huckabee complained during last week's California debate that he was being treated as a third wheel....Coming from a campaign that isn't doing very well, that haughtiness is ridiculous. "We've all enjoyed him"? That's so patronizing. It's got to push the religious conservatives even more strongly toward Huckabee. And it gives Huckabee more material for his folksy jokiness:
Romney supporters and aides continued to show Huckabee little respect despite the Super Tuesday victories....
"He deserves credit for hanging in there and being the winsome personality he's been. We've all enjoyed him," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a Romney backer. "But everybody knows Mike is not going to be in the final two. That hasn't changed."
"I've got to say that Mitt Romney was right about one thing — this is a two-man race. He was just wrong about who the other man in the race was. It's me, not him."