From NBC/National Journal's Mike Memoli
Huckabee's balding dome will never been confused for Edwards' mane, but he paid $400 for a trim anyway as part of a local fundraiser. Huckabee on Saturday became the first presidential candidate to take Concord salon owner David Holden up on his offer to get a $400 haircut, and give the proceeds to autism research.
Huckabee did not really need the cut, but spent some time in Holden's chair to play along. "We're not gonna make you look like any other candidate," Holden told Huckabee. "My barber's probably gonna sue me because he never got this kind of money from me," Huckabee said. "But his only cause is himself."
In between Huckabee's one-liners ("I told him if he could add hair to the top of my head, I'd pay more than the $400"), Holden asked him a serious question, about how much he'd spend as president on autism research. "You know, I don't have a budget figure, David," he said. "But it seems to me there's been a dramatic increase [in cases of autism], and I don't understand why."
The event, complete with camera crews and a giant novelty check, was a good publicity opportunity for both Huckabee and Holden's cause. The salon owner, whose son is autistic, thanked the former Arkansas governor after and expressed hope that other candidates would follow his lead. "I think it would be great if John Edwards came to see us," he said, "because now he can spend $400 on a haircut, and it could go to a good cause instead of just going to a hair salon."
But seriously folks. Huckabee's weekend trip to New Hampshire wasn't all rock concerts and charity haircuts. He told Granite State voters he's concerned the next generation of Americans face a more trying future. At a house party in Londonderry, Huckabee talked about how fortunate he was in life to rise from near poverty to become a candidate for president. He says he often talks to people who similarly say they are living better than they ever thought they would as a child.
"But when I ask how many of you think your kids and your grandkids will be living even better than you, sometimes nobody's hand goes up," Huckabee said. "And that's what we have to change."
Huckabee added that Washington today is partly to blame. "The political structure has gotten so polarized, it's paralyzed," he said. "I want a government that's competent, that works, that fixes potholes, that seals our borders, that says that if you're coming into this country you gotta do it legally. I want a country that doesn't penalize me for working harder, trying to earn and get ahead."
Islamic jihadism is another challenge, Huckabee said. "I know this is politically incorrect, but it's true, so let me say it. This war with Islamic jihadists is a theological war," he said. "You can't simply contain it with a military strategy."
He said Americans must understand "that our job is to protect the very future of the existence of our grandchildren," and that America could do so, in part, by pursuing energy independence, so America can "treat the Saudis the same way we treat the Swiss."
About 30 people gathered to hear Huckabee. Before he began speaking, he spent nearly 40 minutes greeting every person individually. That approach is key for Huckabee, who admitted after the event that he is "not going to be raising the kind of money" his rivals are. "But we never needed to, because we don't spend money like they do," Huckabee said. "Frankly if I had to raise the kind of money, and if I spent that kind of money, and I wasn't any higher in the polls, I'd go home and cry my eyes out tonight."
Huckabee's day began at a pancake breakfast at a senior center in Concord. Later Saturday, Huckabee spoke at a workshop as part of Newt Gingrich's American Solutions day. Asked about Gingrich's decision not to run, Huckabee said: "There's no one who probably generates more innovative ideas in America in either party than Newt Gingrich. And putting his full focus on those ideas that the rest of us can capture and run with is probably a better use of his time and talent."