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Dialing for Huckabee

January 25, 2008 | 11:20 pm

It's all hands on deck for Mike Huckabee, literally.

That's the subject line on an e-mail Chip Saltsman, Huckabee's campaign manager, has sent to supporters of his boss nationwide asking for their help in phone-bank operations for both Tuesday's Republican presidential primary in Florida and the raft of contests on Feb. 5.

Huckabee is desperately in need of another breakout showing -- comparable to his scrappy victory in the Iowa caucuses -- to remain a major player in the GOP race. But money, never his campaign's strong suit, is in particularly short supply. So to compensate, Saltsman is asking for a Herculean grassroots effort on behalf of his candidate.

In his e-mail, the aide writes that his plan "calls for every Huckabee supporter to get involved in helping us identify and turn out" likely voters for the former Arkansas governor. The memo goes on to say that an online phone bank has been established "designed to give campaign supporters, no matter where you live, the ability" to rouse other folks to cast ballots for Huckabee in the upcoming faceoffs.

And it's not just a phone call or two that ...

Saltsman is envisions. He asks in his e-mail: "Will you contact 10 voters on Governor Huckabee's behalf?  25 voters?  50 voters or more?"

He says that "short, telemarketing scripts" will be provided. Focusing on the Florida vote, he adds: "Nationalizing this effort will give us the ability to contact more potential Huckabee voters than our Orlando phone bank is able to do."

And make up -- at least a bit --for Huckabee's inability to reach those possible backers through an aggressive advertising campaign.

Now, if Huckabee was Mitt Romney, he would simply write a personal check to beef up staffing at that phone bank in Orlando. But then, he'd face pesky questions about how much of his own money he's spending, like the one posed to Romney at Thursday's night candidate debate (and which Romney proceeded to dodge).

-- Don Frederick