Huck: "Aren’t I Great for Not Playing this Ad?"

Dana Milbank writes about New Year’s Eve on the campaign trail in Iowa in the Washington Post. Here he zeroes in on the GOP front runner.

“Huckabee was the lone candidate to defy his image; the GOP populist who rails against the country-club set scheduled his early-evening party at, uh, a members-only country club. His supporters were greeted by a “Huckabee 2008” ice sculpture, polished serving trays, and a bar stocked with Absolut, Stolichnaya and Tanqueray.

If the image wasn’t quite right for the populist, it was not Huckabee’s worst event of the day. That distinction went to his lunchtime news conference, at which he drew disbelieving laughter when he simultaneously displayed and disavowed his new attack ad. “You’re not going to get a copy of it, so this is your change to see it, then after that, uh, you’ll never see it again,” Huckabee teased.

“Why are there still five easels up with the attacks?” challenged the Politico’s Jonathan Martin. ABC News’s Jake Tapper asked whether it might be “too late” to take the high road after Huckabee had compared Romney to “Seinfeld’s” George Costanza.

Reporters began to ask each other whether this was Huckabee’s “Howard Dean moment.” And things didn’t improve when he invited them to watch him get a haircut. Three dozen journalists, among them The Post’s Libby Copeland, squeezed in to witness the shave, facial massage and haircut, performed by a barber wearing a microphone.

Amid the grooming, Huckabee continued to field questions about the attack ad. “You should’ve seen the ad I wanted him to run,” the barber interjected.

By the time the well-shaved but roughed-up Huckabee arrived at his New Year’s Eve party, he had become a man of modest goals. “Tonight, when I put my head on the pillow in 2007,” he joked, “I plan not to wake up until 2008.” The way things are going out here, even that wasn’t guaranteed.”