Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who surprised voters with a win in Iowa in 2008, said Ron Paul could win the Iowa caucuses, but has no chance of going on to be the Republican nominee.
"Iowa is not so much a place that picks presidents, but it does pick people who are thrust into the upper tier," Mr. Huckabee said on "Fox News Sunday.” "That's the history, and it gives people credibility. In the case that it's Ron Paul — and I know I'm going to get a lot of nasty letters and emails, too — Ron Paul is not going to be elected president. He's not."
"There's no way a win for Paul [in Iowa] is going to do anything other than confuse the race," Mr. Huckabee added later. "But he's not going to get the nomination, that's for sure."
While Mr. Paul's supporters are devoted to him, they represent a small faction of Republican voters.
Mr. Paul's isolationist foreign-policy views are particularly problematic and outside the mainstream, Mr. Huckabee said, calling them "anathema" to the Republican Party.
"You can't go around saying, 'Yeah, it's OK with me for Iran to have a nuclear weapon,'[ThSp]["] the former Arkansas governor said. "That's beyond off the edge to think that it's OK for this government of Iran to have nuclear devices, and he says, 'Well, Pakistan has them, and Israel has them, and the U.S. and Russia have them.' The difference is they have them so they won't use them. Iran wants to get one because they want to use it. There's a big difference, and it's just like, he doesn't get it."
Even though most Republicans don't support those libertarian views, Mr. Paul could win, especially if the weather is cold and snowy on Jan. 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Huckabee said.
"I would probably say that Mitt Romney will end up winning it — today," Mr. Huckabee said. "Now I think again — Ron Paul, because of his organization, could (win), and that's where Mitt Romney is really at a disadvantage. He doesn't have the devotion. If the weather is good, Mitt Romney is in better shape. If the weather is bad, and it's real tough to get out, Ron Paul will win."
Polls show Mr. Paul with a strong lead in the Hawkeye State — 23.8 percent to Mr. Romney's 20.3 percent and Newt Gingrich's 17.3 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics.com average of polls.
"Ron Paul has an exceptional organization [in Iowa], and it very well could be that he could end up winning because of the extraordinary devotion of his followers," Mr. Huckabee continued. "I've often said he's got people that would walk over broken glass for him, and they'd break the glass just to be able to say that they did it. But Mitt Romney could win the Iowa caucuses if the vote splinters among a lot of the conservatives who haven't yet made up their mind."
In 2008, Mr. Huckabee scored an upset win in the GOP caucuses in Iowa, taking 34 percent of the state's first-in-the-nation presidential contest with 34 percent of the vote to 25 percent for Mr. Romney.
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