From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
DES MOINES, IA -- As if Huckabee's day wasn't strange enough, immediately following his anti-attack-ad news conference, a scheduled trip to his campaign headquarters here was disrupted by dual demonstrations that prevented the candidate from entering the building. The ordeal ended with three arrests and a mob of confused journalists forced to find another way inside the building.
Paul's Iowa campaign offices are directly adjacent to Huckabee's, and as journalists arrived to cover what was supposed to be an innocent photo opportunity of Huckabee greeting some campaign volunteers, they were surprised to find dozens of Paul supporters crowding the sidewalks chanting, "Ron Paul revolution, legalized the Constitution."
Simultaneously, an unrelated group of local anti-war activists surrounded the entrance to Huckabee's headquarters, while three members of the group staged a sit-in of sorts in the office lobby. The police were already on the scene when most of the media arrived, but the dueling demonstrations -- combined with a multitude of TV cameras -- presented a formidable entryway when the governor's campaign bus pulled in across the street.
The bus remained parked across from the campaign office for 10-15 minutes as the demonstrators shouted for the governor to come out and address their concerns -- which for the anti-war group meant answering the question, "Who would Jesus bomb?"
Finally, the bus pulled away and turned around the corner, after which the police led the three trespassers out of the campaign's office and into a paddy wagon parked in the street. The leader of the anti-war protest –- whom local journalists say is a former priest who is now a regular inmate at the local police station due to his disruptive activism -- lauded the three arrestees as heroes.
As the commotion began to die down, Huckabee slipped in through a side door and several members of the traveling press corps who had been following him for weeks were invited to watch as the governor met with several volunteers on the office's second floor. Soon the small group of media ballooned as a stream of camera crews found their way upstairs and invaded the meet and greet.
At this point, wife Janet Huckabee was heard to say, "I thought this was supposed to be a private meeting." Well, if portions of the event were supposed to be private, that didn't last long. Soon the media nearly equaled the number of volunteers on the office's second floor. The protests died down outside, and members of the press were allowed to mingle with volunteers as Huckabee conducted interviews with several local news outlets. But following his appearance on three morning shows this morning, a run-turned media circus, an unconventional press conference and a mob of demonstrators blocking the entrance to his headquarters, maybe the New Year couldn't come soon enough for Mike Huckabee.