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Jan 04, 2008

That Ain't A Cross Off His Shoulder This Time

Huckabee-Camera-Left
(straight-on)

Huckabee-Camera-Right
(right-to-left)

The Huckster might crash and burn after New Hampshire, but he's got one of the shrewdest PR instincts I've seen in a while.  If anyone thought there was anything innocent about the cross video, or the "potential mistake" of showing the pulled Romney ad, consider the background for his Iowa victory speech last night.

Enhancing the beauty of the moment, the campaign chose to flank Huckabee with Chuck Norris and his lovely wife, Gena (who spent an inordinate amount of time staring straight into the camera).  As a result, Huck's wife was not only edged out of the picture -- but she, and the camera, remained in place (that's her light brown jacket at the far right edge of the screen) when the Governor introduced and thanked her.

What is also curious, by the way, is what happened once CNN switched its camera angle from straight-on to right-to-left.

At around 5:50 through the 10 minute and 20 second speech, Chuck and his wife shifted positions, and also switched places, flanking Huckabee again at the new angle.  Unfortunately, the Chuckster failed to shift over enough and was mostly blocked by Huck, but his wife reassumed prime line-of-sight on the right, between the family values candidate and his wife.  (This was also right after Huck introduced his children, two of whom seemed about to flank him, but instead greeted Chuck and Gena, then moved off.)

The switching around could be less the result of stage management than the fact that Gena O'Kelly, a former model who is 28 years Norris's junior, has a trained eye for the spotlight.  Either way, however, its another instance where a supposedly bootstrap campaign has demonstrated an uncanny sense of what seduces the public and the media.

Huckabee Victory Speech (Video - CNN)

(screenshot: CNN)

Comments

Why is Honda using Chuck Norris in their Ridgeline truck ads? (major airtime)

He's getting so much exposure right now. A has-been, this male Bo Derek is so cheese. Do you think there was any communication to Honda that Chuck planned to be a major huckster for Huckabee? I don't think it's a positive for the brand. Awkward.

I was previously interested in that truck. No mas.

BagMan

Fantastic analysis!
Brilliantly astute observation.
thanks
peace
box

The Republican really like to feature blonds in any lineup...whether at a Senate Hearing, or House Invesitgation, the wife of Thompson, etc., etc. Not to mention, of course, That dame who delivers the Prez's message to the press corps every day...Dana...what's her name?

Oh, and the other blond babe, Hillary, just isn't so "inevitable" today, is she? Told you so. Maybe, this is the year for the thoughtful brunette.

Is that Bradley Whitford behind Huckleberry's right shoulder in the second photo?

Huckabee is very, very good. He is also using the Chuck Norris jokes that have been going around for the last couple of years. He is extremely astute and dangerous. Nehemiah Scudder or Buzz Windrip indeed.

People are saying he can't make it to the final ballot. I have my doubts. He very well could be the Republican nominee and that is very scary. He will not be easy to beat in the general election and what he will bring with him are scarier than he is.

One could also speculate that Mr. and Mrs. Norris's positions were not highly choreographed, and that CNN editors made the decisions to line up on them at the expense of other worthies.

Huckabee's stage-managing, though amply evident, tends to be pretty clumsy. I wonder if you're being too generous by thinking anyone in his operation knew what they were doing with the Norrises beyond simply putting them at center stage.


-- Cynthia Ackerman, Portland, OR

I watched that speech live (I have no idea why) and found the Chuck E. Cheese and Trained Blonde Spokesmodel routine behind Huckleberry to be extremely distracting and weird.

Like gmoke, I am very afraid he might actually win. He and his minions frighten me more than Bush ever did. And that's saying a LOT.

Those evangelical fundies REALLY love Huckleberry.

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