Huckabee: 'The Likelihood Is That McCain Will Win'

Six out of the 10 caucus-goers who handed Mike Huckabee his David versus Goliath victory over multi-millionaire Mitt Romney last night were Huckabee's fellow evangelicals.

That will not be the pool of voters in far more secular and libertarian New Hampshire, where many take the state motto "Live Free or Die" literally.

Flying to New Hampshire this morning, the candidate joked about plans to carve out a victory in the Granite State.

"We're gonna have to go convert a lot of people in New Hampshire in the next five days," he joked. "A big tent revival out on the grounds of the Concord state capitol? We'll get 'em all converted to the evangelical faith and then we'll win. How's that? That would work."


All joking aside, Huckabee has serious business ahead in the coming days. To a packed gymnasium at New England College in Henniker, N.H., Huckabee delivered his first address to the vastly different GOP voters of New Hampshire since his astounding victory in the Iowa caucus.

He did not mention his opposition to legal abortion.

He did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage.

He did not discuss his evangelical faith as openly as he did when he cut his way from Council Bluffs to Davenport, Iowa.

Social issues are viewed differently in Dover than they are in Des Moines. A majority of New Hampshire voters support abortion rights, and just three days ago, New Hampshire became the fourth state in the nation to enact a law allowing same-sex couples to affirm their relationship legally through civil unions.


Huckabee's stump speech emphasized nothing new — he gave voice to economic populism, a strong military, unifying the country and eliminating the IRS by creating a national consumption tax.

But after he rocked it out on his bass guitar playing with Mama Kicks and suggested his celebrity trail-mate Chuck Norris be his secretary of defense, there were some issues left undiscussed.

His campaign, in many ways, still faces an uphill battle. Huckabee is in fourth place in New Hampshire, according to the latest polls, well behind Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in a dead heat for first, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"With the short period of time, the likelihood is that McCain will win," Huckabee acknowledged.


"Huckabee's big challenge here is McCain's base, which includes conservative Republicans and independents and Romney's money," said Jennifer Donahue, the senior adviser for political affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. "Romney can pay to play as long as he wants."

Huckabee's success has been fueled up to this point by charm, message and evangelicals. He will need to broaden his appeal to New Hampshire's fiscal conservatives, who will be wary of the net tax increase he oversaw as governor.

Ed Rollins, Huckabee's campaign chairman, acknowledged they need to build a campaign infrastructure.

"Historically, when momentum catches up with a lack of organization, it does a campaign in," said Rollins. "And we have thought about that."

Until now, Huckabee and McCain have had something of a nonaggression pact, praising each other in a joint mission to defeat Romney. Huckabee called McCain "an American hero," but that policy of positivity will be tested as well.

"It's politics," said Chip Saltsman, Huckabee's campaign manager, "and you know, it may get a little rougher too, but there'll be a lot of respect between the two people and the two campaigns."

A cordiality that may last only as long as Romney does.

ABC News' Richard Coolidge and Kevin Chupka contributed to this report.