He’s the presumptive nominee now, especially with Rudy fading. How do you feel?
Update (Bryan): I feel like it’s hard to see either McCain or Huckabee winning the nomination. Huckabee can’t win in South Carolina, a southern state with a heavy evangelical contingent. McCain won overall but doesn’t appear to have won among conservatives, again. So the top two finishers in SC carry very limited appeal.
The question is, who can unify these voters under the conservative party’s banner?
Update: The good news: Huckabee’s basically done. The breakdown:
He can’t win among non-evangelicals. This makes Florida essentially a three-man race between McCain, Mitt, and Rudy, with Huckabee still around to pull votes from Romney among social cons.
Update: Huckabee’s at the podium now taking veiled digs at Mitt by congratulating McCain on not doing any negative campaigning.
Update: Have a look at the recent Florida polls. What do you think they’ll look like this week? To put it another way, is this the end for Rudy?
Update: A noble defeat:
It’s clear who Huckabee camp is blaming for its squeaker of a loss in South Carolina: Fred Thompson.
After Huckabee’s gracious concession speech — in which he had nothing but kind words for John McCain who he said showed great “civility” — former SC Gov. David Beasley, a Huckabee surrogate, railed against Thompson.
“Fred hurt us in South Carolina,” Beasley began. “He had one goal and one goal only — to distort Mike Huckabee’s record so John McCain could pull it out. No ifs, ands or buts about it….
“One thing about Fred; I love Fred, but Fred’s not stupid….I don’t think he had any intention in South Carolina but to hurt Mike Huckabee…. Had Fred Thompson not been in the race, this would have been an overwhelming, dynamic victory for Mike Huckabee.”
McCain’s team also thinks Fred was the difference.