Iowa Rep. Steve King endorses Fred Update: Fred's Fox & Friends intvu added

Bizarre. He had people from both the Romney and Thompson camps there for the announcement. Did he tell them both to show in the expectation that it was their guy he was backing, to heighten the drama?

Radio Iowa liveblogged it:

“So I’m down to, of course, Romney and Thompson and in the end I have to come down on the side of this — who am I most comfortable with on the issues that I believe in….When I se someone who believes in their core….when they make a decision, if they’re where I am philosophically….so after really, I didn’t sleep last night but I come here to the podium to tell you that I have great respect for all the candidates.”

King now veers into a discussion of faith — an apparent reference to Romney’s Mormonism. King suggests no one should be denied the presidency because of their personal faith.

Now, he’s talking about “fire in his belly” and concludes with this, calling his pick, “the person who I believe destiny has called to be the president of the United States. I will be working for and supporting Fred Thompson for president.”

Patrick Ruffini bucks the CW this morning and says it’s Mitt’s race to lose, especially if McCain upsets him in New Hampshire. How so? Well, if Huckabee takes Iowa and Captain Amnesty pulls a surprise in NH, the 65% of us who are neither evangelical nor cavalier about the border will be desperate for a consensus candidate to deliver us from the prospect of a Huck-Mac showdown on Super Ultra Mega Tuesday. Mitt, being well funded and sort of conservative, is the obvious choice. Fred, being decidedly conservative but less well funded and having run a poor campaign, is the alternative. If McCain knocks off Mitt, leaving him 0 for 2 in the states he staked his campaign on winning, it’ll leave him smelling like a loser and make Fred the Great Anti-RINO Hope in the race by default. The problem is, Mitt has enough of a war chest to stay in the race through February no matter what happens, raising the distressing prospect of he and Fred competing for social con votes in South Carolina with Huckabee the obvious beneficiary. Probably the best outcome from the anti-Huck perspective is Fred losing big in Iowa, Mitt winning New Hampshire, and Fred dropping out and endorsing Mitt to make him the great conservative hope. Not sure where that puts Rudy except hoping against hope that Mitt and Huck split the social con vote in Florida so that he can squeak through.

Because this insane election isn’t yet insane enough, the Journal raises the prospect this morning of evangelicals boycotting the election not only if Rudy wins the nomination but now even if Fred or Mitt wins, too:

Given all the hurdles his campaign faces, the evangelical movement faces a big question: What if Mr. Huckabee fails to win the nomination?

There could be considerable disappointment, and even anger, if supporters feel that Mr. Huckabee wasn’t treated fairly, says John C. Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “They could return to their previous state of flux,” he says. At the same time, if they believe he got a fair shot, their involvement in the primary may fire up some people and give them a greater stake in the general election, he adds.

How are they going to decide if the shot he got was “fair”? Isn’t their disappointment at his losing going to tilt them towards deciding he was treated unfairly, even if he really wasn’t?

Finally, who’s the best guy to nominate given the increasing likelihood (his repeated denials notwithstanding) of a Ron Paul independent run?

Update (bp): Fred was on Fox & Friends this morning. Here’s that interview. Fred’s laugh is about a million times more palatable than Hillary’s.

Update: Yup, King did it for the drama.