Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) says there's a 50-percent chance he will run for president in 2016.
The 2008 GOP presidential contender told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that "at this point it's 50/50" at this point that he would pursue a presidential bid.
Huckabee, who recently announced his intention to leave his nationally syndicated radio program, opted not to run for the White House in 2012.
The folksy politician explained that he "would never make this decision based on circumstances, it would be a decision of the heart."
"I've tried to be honest ... so when people ask me, are you open to the possibility? The honest answer is 'yes.' Does that mean I'm running? I don't honestly know," Huckabee said.In a presidential race, Huckabee would have some important assets:
- He is likeable and extremely articulate on television.
- His populism and lack of Washington experience are a good fit for the public mood.
- He has a strong base of support among religious conservatives.
- The field is open. Christie has gotten the most attention but has yet to close the sale with Republicans. (A large fraction of Iowa Republicans view him unfavorably.)
He also has some liabilities:
- His outsiderism may make it hard for him to raise money from the affluent people who fund presidential campaigns.
- His gubernatorial record -- especially on clemency -- will provide material for opposition researchers.
- Though he is usually very fluent in media interviews, he has made a disturbing number of gaffes.
- His background as an ordained minister may help in primaries but could trigger anti-evangelical prejudice in the general election.
- Conversely, his eclectic stands on economic issues could help in the general election but have already triggered strong criticism from groups such as the Club for Growth.
- What Ed Rollins reportedly told him in 2011 still applies. From Election 2012: The Battle Begins:
"Mike, I've put all these things together for you, but you've got to do something for me—you've got to lose forty pounds,” Rollins said. “Look, I'm a fat man, you're a fat man, but I didn't write a book about how I lost a hundred pounds."