There's never a dull moment at Sovern Nation. In the last 36 hours, we chatted about bass-playing with Mike Huckabee and did an exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton.
Huckabee came to San Francisco, not exactly I Heart Huckabee territory, and spoke at the Commonwealth Club. He was charming, engaging and affable, with a tremendous personal backstory. He talked about his hardscrabble childhood, getting a job in radio at age 14, marrying his high school sweetheart at 19, making it through her battle with spinal cancer just one year later, and becoming a Baptist minister and ultimately, a very successful politician. His wife Janet was with him (she's been in fine health for years now), furiously working her Blackberry while her husband was campaigning (actually, I think it was his Blackberry and she was answering emails for him).
Huckabee was interrupted by hecklers from Code Pink, a feminist anti-war organization in the Bay Area. He handled them deftly, celebrating the disruption as an affirmation of American freedoms, pointedly reminding the demonstrators that in some countries, "they'd be taken out and shot" for interrupting him. The women were dragged out of the room and released. Our audio of the episode was picked up by the Drudge Report, and man, does that site have readers. We've had over 160,000 hits on Sovern Nation and KCBS.com since then - many, many times more than normal.
Most of Huckabee's positions are anathema to San Franciscans. He is staunchly anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, anti-gun control, and wants to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage and abortion. But he told the crowd at the Fairmont Hotel, that he doesn't always think Democrats are wrong, and he doesn't always think Republicans are right. He considers himself a conservative but admits that Rush Limbaugh thinks he's too far to the left on some issues.
He told me afterwards that he really still thinks he can win the Republican nomination, and that if he wins enough delegates on Super Tuesday, while Mitt Romney falls short - then it will be Romney who drops out next Wednesday, leaving him as the only remaining conservative alternative to John McCain.
We also talked for a while about playing the bass - something we both do. He got quite technical, talking about action and intonation and neck woods. We discovered our bands play some of the same songs - Mustang Sally, In the Midnight Hour - and when I told him about Bill Clinton standing us up last year when he was supposed to sit in on the saxophone with the Eyewitness Blues Band, Huckabee promised to come back and jam with us if he's the Republican nominee. And, displaying remarkable flesh-pressing skills, when I mentioned that the cameraman who'd shot an interview with him two hours earlier was the drummer in my band - a guy he met only in passing - he remembered his name, saying "Oh, Zack is your drummer?" Now that's a smooth politician.
Hillary Clinton is one, too. She finally called in to Sovern Nation to do a long-awaited interview. Maybe you already clicked above and heard it. She said she would consider Barack Obama as her running mate, if she's the nominee - although the way he's closing on her, it may be him choosing a Veep, and I don't see him selecting her. I do think, even though it goes against conventional wisdom, that he would make a tremendous running mate for her - simply because that Democratic Dream Team would generate enormous enthusiasm and turnout, especially among women, blacks, Latinos and young voters. Some of those Obama supporters really don't like Hillary, and may not vote at all in November if he's not on the ticket. Put him on there, and their support might just be enough to put another Clinton in the White House.
You can also hear our interview with Senator Ted Kennedy about his endorsement of Obama by clicking here - excellent questions by my colleagues Patti Reising and Jane McMillan. Still waiting for Obama himself to grant us an interview - I'm hoping it will happen before Super Tuesday.
In my next post: some analysis of what to expect Tuesday, and how all those delegates could shake out.