Huckabee shows he still has same '08 charisma

TAMPA, Fla. — He???s put back a lot of the weight he famously lost before running for president four years ago and he???s not running for anything — at least not this year. But, Mike Huckabee demonstrated Wednesday night that he still has the old charisma that made him one of ???Big Three??? of the 2008 Republican battle along with John McCain and Mitt Romney.

The former Arkansas governor and popular Fox TV talkshow and radio host delighted the Republican National Convention with his humor, his barbs, and the best rhymes since Jesse Jackson. Hukckabee recalled how his blue-collar parents never urged him to rely on government, which, he said, would ???feed me, lead me, and bleed me.???

He styled himself ???a failed candidate??? who is now in the ???mud of media,??? and he castigated the Obama administration and what he deemed ???the god of government.??? And, the onetime Baptist minister weaved religious themes of faith into the issues of his day.

???An attack on my Catholic brothers is an attack on me,??? he said to loud cheers, referring to the administration???s clash with the Roman Catholic Church on the issue of contraceptive mandates in hospitals. Of onetime rival Romney, Huckabee said he ???didn???t care where he takes his family to church but did care where he???ll take this country.??? And he even favorably quoted someone not often invoked at a Republican convention: the Irish folk singer Bono, with whom Huckabee has worked on the issue of world hunger.

Mike Huckabee is no longer a candidate for office but, as he demonstrated in Tampa Wednesday night, he can still make a speech and endear himself to his fellow Republicans.