"I will confess this: If you play the spot backwards it says, 'Paul is dead. Paul is dead,'"
Was that a subliminal smear against Ron Paul? Since the National Journal Poll found Ron Paul was dead last in national polling for Republican candidates.
Really I heard Huckabee's quote and he said Paul is Dead, three times with no reference to McCartney. Now he is claiming he was referring to Paul McCartney but was he really?
"Merry Christmas," Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said simply Tuesday in Houston in response to criticism that his latest campaign commercial mixes too much religion with politics.
Huckabee, here to raise campaign money, said the nation is in serious trouble if it is politically incorrect for him to use his TV spot to remind voters about the religious meaning of this holiday season.
Departing from the standard pitches for the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary two weeks from now, the former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist minister appears on television screens in some states with the shape of a cross behind him and Silent Night playing in the background.
"Are you about worn out by all the television commercials you've been seeing, mostly about politics? Well, I don't blame you," he says in the commercial. "At this time of year, sometimes it's nice to pull aside from all of that and just remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and friends."
Subliminal message?Some political observers see the ad as appealing directly to evangelical voters and tapping into the religious differences between Huckabee and one of his chief rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, a Mormon. Others such as candidate Ron Paul, the Republican congressman from Lake Jackson, said the ad goes overboard.
"It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He says, 'when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross,' " Paul, a Protestant, told Fox News. "Now I don't know whether that's a fair assessment or not, but you wonder about using a cross, like he is the only Christian or implying that subtly. So, I don't think I would ever use anything like that."
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights President Bill Donohue said images of a cross in the commercial are an attempt to send a subliminal message.
"What he's trying to say to the evangelicals in western Iowa (is): 'I'm the real thing,' " Donohue said on the same news network. "You know what? Sell yourself on your issues, not on what your religion is."
Play it backwardHuckabee said Tuesday that he mentioned Jesus Christ in his unscripted commercial because, considering the meaning of the holiday, "I don't know what else to say about Christmas."
Some people are drawing such wild inferences from the commercial, Huckabee joked, that they might believe the ad says "Paul is dead" when played backward. It was a reference to the myth that the hidden news of Beatle Paul McCartney's "death" was revealed in the backward playing of one of the band's songs.
After all Huckabee has no money and Ron Paul again broke a record for one day fund raising this week; when he raised over $6 million on internet donations. The previous record had been $4 million, raised by Paul a couple of months ago. And Paul was the first Republican candidate to criticize Huckabee's ad. And both are contenders in New Hampshire as I have pointed out.
Both these guys were once the so called second tier candidates in the Republican race. Huckabee now has the support of the evangelical conservative base in the party and Paul has become the most successful fund raiser, beating out all the front runners.
Huckabee is hated by the Republican establishment, who have abandoned their Moral Majority evangelical base that is the Reagan Republicans that Huckabee is shamelessly appealing to. He has little money or organizational staff with which to beat his opponents so he is doing the next best thing, talking to the folks, the base of the party who are alienated by the the current crop of 'liberals' running as Republicans; in this case the two front runners Mitt and Rudy.
This ad will come back to haunt him of course because he forgot that Hanukkah is also being celebrated this time of the year, and that Jesus was a Jew not a Republican.
In both races, Democrats and Republicans, this is not politics as usual, it is about the politics of change. Making this one of the most interesting U.S. Presidential elections in decades.
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