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Huckabee's wife's weekend in Vegas raises eyebrows
NC Times ^ | February 21. 2008

Posted on 02/21/2008 11:53:39 AM PST by Shermy

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas -- especially if you're the wife of presidential candidate. Just ask Janet Huckabee, who attended a middleweight prize fight this last weekend in Vegas -- where she stayed at the Hooters Casino Hotel.

That eye-opening combination -- a title bout in Sin City, which celebrates gambling, drinking and all things wild, along with a hospitality chain favoring buxom waitresses in low-cut garb -- could potentially shock the armies of evangelical conservative Christians who have made her husband, the former governor of Arkansas, the only remaining GOP opponent to party front-runner John McCain.

But Huckabee, whose husband is also a former Baptist minister, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that her recent brief excursion to root for boxer Jermain Taylor, a longtime friend and fellow Arkansan -- and her stay at a hotel that she said wasn't exactly her first choice -- was supposed to be a rare respite from the often-brutal presidential campaign trail.

"It's a grueling schedule. ... I had been in Wisconsin and flew to Michigan, and Friday and Saturday I spoke 14 times before the fight," said Huckabee, who called a Chronicle reporter while traveling with her husband in Dallas in response to questions about the trip. "There's little time for anything other than campaigning."

Janet Huckabee has made no secret of the family's support for Taylor, the middleweight boxing champ known as the "pride of Arkansas," who had a title bout against Kelly Pavlik in Vegas over the weekend.

But Huckabee said she never planned on staying at Hooters for the hot-ticket match, which also drew such celebrities as Jack Nicholson, Michael Jordan, Eddie Murphy and Sylvester Stallone.

"I had a room at the MGM Grand," she said, but canceled it when she believed she wouldn't be able to make the fight. Plans changed, and "a friend had two rooms. ... It was the only thing, quite frankly, that was available because the fights were in town."

In a highly charged 2008 presidential campaign, some political observers say Janet Huckabee's news-making extracurricular activities are just the latest in a string of events that dramatize, as GOP strategist Karen Hanretty puts it, that "the larger story line in this campaign is candidate's spouses as celebrities -- whether it's Jerri Thompson, Elizabeth Edwards, Cindy McCain or Michelle Obama."

"This is the first election where we've seen the spouse as a celebrity ... because for good or ill, spouses are a reflection of the candidate," Hanretty said.

Hanretty, a past spokeswoman for the campaign of former GOP candidate Fred Thompson, said that in Janet Huckabee's case, the Hooters stay may be problematic with conservative Christian voters who support her husband in droves -- but so may the perceived political signal being sent by the couple.

The week before GOP primaries in Wisconsin and Washington, "he's in the Cayman Islands, giving a speech -- and she's at a pro boxing match in Vegas?" said a flabbergasted Hanretty. "It demonstrates that Mike and Janet aren't serious about moving into the White House. ... This is not a couple serious about leading the nation."

But Huckabee -- who supporters say often provides a feisty and refreshingly human contrast to other more scripted candidate wives -- hasn't been the only political spouse to take her turn in spotlight recently.

...Don Solem, a longtime San Francisco Democratic political consultant, says political spouses are being more closely watched and reported on because "they reinforce character."

"That's their No. 1 role, to say 'X' has family values, he sees a brighter future, he has character with a capital C," he said. "Aside from being interesting or articulate, ... that's their job."'

...Still, the problem is that even trivial mistakes, like that of Janet Huckabee, can get people talking. "You go: 'What were they thinking?' It is what makes gossip and what makes afternoon and evening TV work," he said. "But I don't think it means a vote in a million."

Indeed, Janet Huckabee -- who happily hasn't stuck to the frozen-smile spouse's script -- said this week that the attention given to her personal statements and activities can sometimes seem "ridiculous." But she also said that reporters who ask questions about presidential candidates and their spouses doing are "not out of line at all. That's part of it, and anybody who goes into it knows that."

She does bristle, however, at the suggestion that Team Huckabee's noncampaign activities suggest they aren't serious about taking the White House.

"It's totally opposite," she said. Her husband, giving a speech in Grand Cayman, "kept his word" to a commitment he had made long before. "He's the only candidate that's not paid by the taxpayers; everybody else is living off the taxpayers right now," she said.

And she said that voters can consider stories about more personal issues, but they should know that "we have sacrificed a whole lot to do this. I have taken a leave of absence from my job. ... We're out there giving it at least as much as anybody else running."

She also firmly says she doesn't regret her friendship with folks like Jermain Taylor and his wife, Erica, who are "good friends -- and I try to support my friends in any way I can."

And her presence at a prize fight was more than that, she said: because Arkansas lacks a professional basketball and football team, state residents see Taylor as "the pro team," she said.

"I was the first lady for 10 1/2 years, and I supported him the whole time. ... He appreciated it very much that I came."

Indeed, the candidate's wife was seen on YouTube last week sporting a "Team Huckabee for Team Taylor" T-shirt and huge red boxing gloves rooting for the young boxer "on behalf of all Arkansas." The video can be seen at fightbeat.com/videos.php?id113.

Huckabee's effort to cheer Taylor apparently didn't bring him much luck this time around; the boxer lost the weekend fight by unanimous decision.

But Huckabee suggests that, when it comes to the campaign trail -- and the often harsh spotlight on candidates and their spouses -- maybe the boxing ring isn't so different anyway.

"Something my husband always says," she said, "is that it's not the dog in the fight -- but the fight in the dog."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: caymanislands; hanmoneypennyretty; hanretty; hanrettyisthe; huckster; mikehuckabee; stalkinghorse; vegas
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Money related story:

Huckabee's Cayman Islands visit causes stir in US

1 posted on 02/21/2008 11:53:41 AM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
The stories get better and better...

"he's in the Cayman Islands, giving a speech -- and she's at a pro boxing match in Vegas?" said a flabbergasted Hanretty. "It demonstrates that Mike and Janet aren't serious about moving into the White House. Two world centers of money laundering for one couple in one weekend? Maybe they were "serious" about something else but running...just can't give up to quickly lest he be called a planted stalking horse to push out Romney.

2 posted on 02/21/2008 11:56:59 AM PST by Shermy (Huckabee in the Cayman Islands while his wife was in a Las Vegas casino. $$ Laundromat??)
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To: Shermy

But this doesn’t raise eyebrows:

Obama on cocaine: Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.


3 posted on 02/21/2008 11:57:03 AM PST by donna (ADHD - Absent Dad/Husband Disorder)
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To: Shermy

She’s a grown woman ... guess she can go where she wants. Besides, I too would rather be in Vegas than in the Cayman’s on business or at Obama rally or listening to tonights Dem Debate.


4 posted on 02/21/2008 11:57:09 AM PST by K-oneTexas (I'm not a judge and there ain't enough of me to be a jury. (Zell Miller, A National Party No More))
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To: Shermy

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1974026/posts


5 posted on 02/21/2008 11:58:12 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (John McCain. 2008ís version of Bob Dole.)
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To: K-oneTexas

I bet she’s been to New York City where she was offered a condom and told to “Get Some”.


6 posted on 02/21/2008 11:58:32 AM PST by donna (ADHD - Absent Dad/Husband Disorder)
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To: Vigilanteman; Hawthorn; okie01; Liberty2007; longtermmemmory; AmericaUnited; Calvin Locke; ...

Meant to ping you all.


7 posted on 02/21/2008 11:58:50 AM PST by Shermy (Huckabee in the Cayman Islands while his wife was in a Las Vegas casino. $$ Laundromat??)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Different story. This one highlights the Cayman Islands angle.


8 posted on 02/21/2008 11:59:43 AM PST by Shermy (Huckabee in the Cayman Islands while his wife was in a Las Vegas casino. $$ Laundromat??)
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To: Shermy
...where she stayed at the Hooters Casino Hotel.

A quality Arkancide matron.

9 posted on 02/21/2008 11:59:47 AM PST by fweingart (Obama-Clinton (A ticket that will change our lives forever!))
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To: donna

Isn’t that something to put on the mantle or the wall in the living room as a memento of NYC>


10 posted on 02/21/2008 12:02:01 PM PST by K-oneTexas (I'm not a judge and there ain't enough of me to be a jury. (Zell Miller, A National Party No More))
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To: Shermy

Truth of the matter is that what ever happens in Vegas does not necessarily stay in Vegas. There are tens of thousands of video cameras and you are always on camera. From exiting your hotel room through the betting pits through the restaurants onto the streets and then back again. More servelliance than Singapore.


11 posted on 02/21/2008 12:02:46 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Shermy

Stay classy. Meanwhile Huck continues to yuck it up with the cool kids. This week it’s SNL.

Psst Huck, they aren’t laughing with you. They are laughing at you, you stupid hick.


12 posted on 02/21/2008 12:05:21 PM PST by kinghorse
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To: Shermy

IMHO, the only class act, as far as First Lady, was Ann Romney.


13 posted on 02/21/2008 12:06:18 PM PST by dawn53
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To: Shermy

What happens in Vegas makes the NYT front page (if Republican).


14 posted on 02/21/2008 12:07:12 PM PST by AU72
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The media really has run this election (cept for Hillary’s failure to launch, they’ve done all they could for her). I mean how in the world does it come down to this on the Republican side? Who is Mike Huckabee and why is he still running? I think it’s because the media elite are keeping his story alive in order to further weaken and aggravate mainstream conservatives. They see the weakness with leadership choices at this time and are taking advantage. Huckabee’s more than happy to play along.


15 posted on 02/21/2008 12:10:49 PM PST by kinghorse
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

I wonder if Mrs. Huck bet on her friend Taylor, the loser, yet “won” anyway? Kind of like Hillary’s $100,000 futures profits scheme. Maybe Mr. Huck was in the Cayman’s to open the account at time of transfer...just a guess...

If you read the linked article to the Cayman Islands you’ll see Huck joking a lot about off shore banking seemingly against it...but strangely familiar with it...


16 posted on 02/21/2008 12:11:48 PM PST by Shermy (Huckabee in the Cayman Islands while his wife was in a Las Vegas casino. $$ Laundromat??)
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To: kinghorse
you stupid hick - I once heard Texans are people from Arkansas that did not make it all the way to Mexico.
17 posted on 02/21/2008 12:13:31 PM PST by SF Republican (Conservatives wanted all or nothing, and they got it.)
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To: AU72

Maybe she carried some Gospel Tracts into the ring, and was evangelizing the sinners who had come for the fight?


18 posted on 02/21/2008 12:13:46 PM PST by rovenstinez
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To: Shermy

I don’t like Huckabee.

But what is the big deal?

Christians don’t go to Vegas? Christians don’t go to prize fights?

Hooters may be questionable for a candidate or his wife. But no big deal to me.

People need to grow up.


19 posted on 02/21/2008 12:13:47 PM PST by Mr. Brightside ( Ronald Reagan Would Back McCain - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1970504/posts)
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To: Shermy

I think they both deserve a vacation in sin city for giving us McLame.


20 posted on 02/21/2008 12:15:57 PM PST by 1Old Pro (I feel sooo calm, that I'll probably forget to vote for McLame.)
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