Update: Here’s the official Huckabee campaign post on the endorsement.
A commenter there also notes:
Another positive sign is the fact that Roy Beck of NumbersUSA has changed several of his ratings for Governor Huckabee from “red” to “green” in response to his new immigration plan. This is a big turnaround from just a few days before, when Beck characterized the Governor as a “disaster” in the area of immigration.
Here’s the new Numbers USA grid:
We are entering Alice in Wonderland territory.
With Mike Huckabee’s record on immigration now the subject of negative television ads in Iowa, the candidate today embraced the endorsement of one of the most outspoken anti-immigration crusaders of recent times.
Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, appeared with Gov. Huckabee at a news conference here, and said that after months of searching for a candidate, his organization has decided to endorse Governor Huckabee and his plan “to solve this illegal alien invasion problem.”
Asked if Mr. Gilchrist’s backing signaled a new “angry” approach to the problem of illegal immigration, Mr. Huckabee said, “I’m not angry with the people, I’m angry with the government.” He added, “I’m not angry that immigrants want to come here. I’m kind of flattered that people look at America as a place they’d like to be.”
Mr. Gilchrist’s organization has been criticized for a vigilante-style of intervention that includes the use of armed volunteers on the border. His volunteers have occasionally intercepted illegal border crossers, but more often raised the profile of a shadowy alliance of anti-immigrant advocates and far-right militia groups.
In today’s news conference Mr. Gilchrist seemed to try to moderate his group’s profile by describing it as a “multi-ethnic multi-racial law enforcement advocacy group.” He said “We believe in legal immigration of prescribed number of legal immigrants” who will contribute to national prosperity and who are “people with integrity and character.”
Mr. Huckabee said, I don’t agree with all of Jim’s positions on every issue, but that is the great thing about America.”He added, “What we’re agreeing on is that the problem needs to be fixed.”
Huckabee called the endorsement “providential.” I know many grass-roots immigration enforcement supporters will have far less kind words than that.
“Frankly, Jim I’ve got to tell you there were times in the early days of the Minutemen I thought what are these guys doing, what are they about,” Huckabee said. “I confess I owe you an apology.” He said of Gilchrist, “nobody can question his commitment to his country.”
Gilchrist, an ally of the candidate who has been most anti-illegal immigration in the GOP field, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, said his endorsement of Huckabee stemmed from the former governor’s recent statements on the issue, particularly a plan that Huckabee put out last week that would require illegal immigrants country in the country to go to their country of origin before trying to return. The plan also would build a border fence and increase fines on employers who hire illegal immigrants, similar to proposals offered by some of Huckabee’s opponents in the GOP nomination process.
“It was a plan I myself could have written,” said Gilchrist, who noted the Huckabee campaign reviewed the proposal with him before it was released.
A piece of paper, an empty promise, with nothing behind it.
No matter. Via Allahpundit, he’s running away with Iowa!