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Huck downplaying Iowa expectations?

From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
SIOUX CITY, IA – The public's expectations for the success of Mike Huckabee's campaign have soared almost as high as his Iowa poll numbers. And now the campaign's newest advisor, Ed Rollins, is predicting an Iowa win. Rollins told CBS recently that he expects to emerge from the early caucus victorious, but the candidate seemed surprised by the confidence after a rally at North High School here on Saturday.

"We've never said we had to win Iowa," Huckabee said. "We certainly said we needed to be in one of the three seats out of here – either first class, business or coach. Now that Ed is willing to upgrade us to first class automatically I better call Ed and ask him…does he have the frequent flyer miles to make sure we get there?
The former-governor said that he is "playing to win" in Iowa, but if he doesn't, he feels that he can still be competitive in other early voting states like South Carolina, Michigan, Florida, Georgia and Texas. But you can't accuse Huckabee of downplaying the importance of a potential victory in the Iowa caucuses.

"If we do win in Iowa it is a true upset of the classic form," Huckabee said. "To be outspent like this and outmanned, to win here is huge and it gives us a great momentum going into the next several contests."

Also on the candidate's agenda on Saturday – Is Rush Limbaugh picking a fight with Mike Huckabee? Some members of the media seem to think so. Rush had some harsh words for the newest GOP presidential frontrunner on his show last week, supposedly in response to a Huckabee aide calling Rush an "entertainer."

"I don't know [why he's mad]," Huckabee said. "I don't know, I mean I really don't. But all I can do is hope that Rush will love me as much as I love Rush because I think he's terrific and he's been a very clarion voice for the conservative movement. Somebody said something that upset him. I don't know who and I don't know what and I can't fix what I don't know."

But Huckabee said he was willing to try. Asked by The Politico's Jonathan Martin if he had been in contact with the radio personality Huckabee said, "I don't have his number. If you have it Jonathan why don't you give it to me. I'd love to talk to him. So, maybe put it on the web that if he'll call me I'd love to visit with him because I'd certainly like to clarify if there's any issue there. I think he's a person who would probably love to see my candidacy succeed if he knew me."

We've put it on the web governor, now it's up to you and Rush to do the rest.

Huckabee will deliver the sermon at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX this morning where Pastor John Hagey has gotten some heat for being critical of the Catholic Church and its failure to condemn the actions of Adolf Hitler during WWII. On Friday Huckabee distanced himself from Hagey's comments but said it would not affect his visit on Sunday.  

"I'm going to let Pastor Hagey speak to that because, you know, I can't speak for him anymore than he could speak for me. I'm sure that there're things I'll say that he disagrees with," Huckabee told reporters on his press bus.

"I would certainly never characterize the Catholic Church as being pro-Nazi, never. I don't know when he said those things or when he wrote them I have no idea…there's things I said 20 years ago I wouldn't say today. If that's still his position, I wouldn't agree."