Huckabee first sought public office in 1991 when he ran for the U.S. Senate and lost. Two years later, he threw his hat in the ring again, this time for lieutenant governor in Arkansas, and won. When running a second time for Senate, then Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker resigned because of the Whitewater scandal. Huckabee withdrew from the Senate race to become governor.
While governor, Huckabee confronted a personal problem that had dogged him for a while -- his weight. At the worst point, he weighed close to 300 pounds. It is a problem that most of the nation can relate to, he said.
"I'm simply a person who's characteristic of a whole nation of people who are underexercised and grossly overfed." But to his chagrin, he accepted his weight.
"I had accepted that I was sort of destined to be this way and there was nothing I could do and I was going to live and die this way. I'd come to that place. But deep down inside of me, I wasn't happy about that. I wanted to be able to go to the store and buy something off the rack that actually fit. Of course, I wanted those things."
So the governor decided to change.
"It was actually a conversation with my doctor," Huckabee said. "He told me, and I'll never forget. He said if you don't change your lifestyle, you're entering the last decade of your life. And then he did me the biggest favor that a doctor could do for a patient. He described that last decade."
Huckabee lost the weight, 110 pounds of it, and has even run in four marathons. He started the Healthy Arkansas initiative, an effort to get the state to live healthier lives.
But he did not change everything. He kept the promise he made to himself as a kid to be a rock star who never grows up. Every once in a while, he picks up his guitar and plays in his band, Capitol Offense.