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Monday, February 18, 2008

 5:18 PM 

Huckabee urges supporters to 'shock the nation'



APPLETON -- Mike Huckabee urged nearly 200 supporters in Appleton this afternoon to "shock the nation" by delivering a surprise win for his campaign in Tuesday's primary election.

Huckabee was introduced by Wisconsin campaign manager Tim Michels, who reminded supporters, "There is an election tomorrow, despite what some of the pundits have to say!"

Huckabee highlighted his record as governor of Arkansas to assert he's the only person in the race who has executive experience, is a Washington outsider and is 100 percent anti-abortion.

The fact that he's a distant second behind John McCain for the Republican nomination shouldn't matter, he says. No one should mind a prolonged fight for the nomination, either.

"Nobody has 1,191 delegates. This well could go all the way to the convention," he said.

"Why would we be so afraid that we don't want the people of America to actually pick their candidate?"

The eyes of the nation are on Wisconsin, the candidate noted, but the media coverage is on the Democratic primary. Indeed, only six television cameras focused on his speech, plus a handful of other reporters.

"If, tomorrow, John McCain ends up winning in Wisconsin, you will get a brief mention on the evening news. If, on the other hand, you guys go out and we win tomorrow, then for two hours the talking heads will be saying, 'We just can't figure this out. What went on in Wisconsin?' Don't you just love it when you can do that to the media?" he said.

A mobilized conservative base voting for the most conservative candidate could mean that win. "If, for some reason, you've decided you're not voting for me, my request is: stay home tomorrow," he smiled.

Huckabee zigzagged Wisconsin in the push before Tuesday's primary. Sunday night he spoke in Milwaukee and navigated bitter storms Monday starting in Hudson and Eau Claire before ending his campaign day in Appleton.

Every Wisconsinite and every American would benefit once he's the 44th president, Huckabee said.

"We need to implement the fair tax, and we need to kill the IRS before it kills our small businesses in Wisconsin!" he said.

Listen to audio of Huckabee's speech here.

-- By Jeff Decker

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