Huckabee, Dems visit Wausau

Former cannon-fodder … errr, Senate candidate Tim Michels introduces former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Thursday before an audience of about 300 at Stoney Creek Inn just south of Wausau.

Must be an election coming up. All of the “final four” are crawling around Wisconsin these days leading up to our primary on Tuesday (Feb. 19). Three of them will have visited Wausau – Mike Huckabee at a rally at Stoney Creek Inn last Thursday, Barack Hussein Obama at an invite-only meeting with students and some faculty at Northcentral Technical College on Saturday morning (photos), and Hillary Clinton in a public rally either Sunday or Monday.

I attended the Huckabee rally, for which they cleverly closed off most of the banquet hall, to crowd everyone toward one end and make it look more packed than it otherwise would’ve been. That’s politics; I would’ve done the same thing. I do wish they would’ve distributed Huckabee signs, though, so folks could wave them in front of the dozen-or-so cameras assembled in the back.

Huckabee was a humorous speaker and came across as a genuinely good guy, even following his obligatory Packer reference with, “See, this is the part of the speech we call ‘pandering to the locals.'”

He looked at me! He looked at me! *swoon*

Huckabee signs autographs on his way out the door. (It was about 5:45, and he was due in Green Bay about 8 p.m.)

Huckabee’s speech hit all the right notes, of course, and I was impressed with what a smooth speaker he is. Even on debates I’ve noticed that. His theme Thursday was clever, in that it urged Wisconsin to stand apart from other states as the one that confused the pundits and voted for Huckabee. It was just refreshing to hear someone be candid about their place in the race.

I actually would’ve liked to hear Obama (I understand he gave a pretty thrilling address at UW-Oshkosh), but I understand why he closed his appearance. If the 17,000 he drew in the People’s Republic of Madison was any indication, Wausau, lacking a convention center, never would’ve had room for those who would’ve turned out. It would’ve been a logistical nightmare. When President Bush visited in October 2004, he packed the amphitheater at Marathon Park. Obviously it was too cold for Obama to use that venue, though I bet he could’ve filled it.

I might attend Hillary’s thing, depending on what time it is. (After all, the Daytona 500 is Sunday.) I’ll probably end up voting for Hillary; in the primary, anyway.

UPDATE: I’m watching some speeches from candidate visits on Wisconsin Eye right now and thought I’d tack on a link to the channel’s campaign videos.


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