Wednesday evening CNN's Anderson Cooper mediated a Republican Debate in Florida. What made it fascinating was the YouTube entries, some of them very provocative, others thoughtful, a few were funny.
What struck me was how calm, thoughtful, and engaging Huckabee came across, no matter what the question. Other candidates seemed obviously embarrassed, struggling for right words, stumbling out phrases trying to answer very, very carefully.
For example: one YouTube entry asked the candidates if they believed every word of the Holy Bible. It was an "in your face" question, almost arrogant. Unfortunately for Rudy, he got to go first and he didn't do so well. He mentioned that he read it occassionally, that it was helpful to him in his hard times, but that some of the Bible was allegorical, not all of it was literal...basically he was trying to find a way to say that he found the Bible helpful, without going so far as to say he believed every word - he came out and said No, even though it was a qualified no.
The Mormon Mitt used the phrase Word of God, he believed the Word of God, but he also quaffled at the phrase "believe every word". Mitt did point out that he believes the Bible, but interprets it differently then the others; when Cooper pressed him on "believe every word" Mitt got testy and replied with an almost exasperated voice: I believe the Word of God.
And then it was Huckabee's turn, the guy with the theological degree - which he deftly pointed out. Mike basically gave a smooth, heartfelt, personal explanation of what the Bible means to him, how he understands it to be revelation, and basically put the question in context. Good answer, even if the non-religious didn't quite understand what he was getting at.
Another good response by Huckabee was a YouTube question concerning the Log Cabin Republicans: would he accept an endorsement from them. Mike said, "Look, I need all the endorsements I can get!" He noted that of course he would accept it, but that he wouldn't change his position, and that he wouldn't expect them to either - they'd learn to dialogue and argue in a civilized manner.
The best retort by Mike was in regard to what would Jesus do about the death penalty. Upon being asked the question, Mike went on about how he views the death penalty, it is to be used in only extreme cases, but that there is a place for it. At the end Cooper pressed him to answer the specific question: what would Jesus do about the death penalty. Huckabee answered brillantly: Jesus was too smart to get involved in politics!