Donors back Mike Huckabee, seen as best hope to beat Hillary Clinton

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Hillary Clinton,Bill Clinton,Arkansas,2014 Elections,2016 Elections,Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said that donors are rushing him with offers of big-dollar support, clearing away his highest hurdle to entering the 2016 GOP primaries.

The biggest difference between 2008 and this year, he said, is that supporters and well-financed contributors are urging him to run and pledging to fund his effort.

One of the main reasons why: He has the best knowledge of the Clinton campaign machine, knows Bill and Hillary Clinton and their tactics well, and has run and won against two female candidates.

“I certainly know the Clintons; I know Hillary. I’ve had two races against female opponents. I do understand the difference in the dynamics that that brings,” said Huckabee.

Huckabee, the folksy Fox News television and radio host, said that “there is a different level of interest” in him this time around.

“The interesting thing is people are coming to me this time, which is very different,” he said.

Especially big-dollar donors. “What’s different is where I would beg and plead just to get a meeting with someone and essentially cool my heels in somebody’s outer office for a long period of time only to be told ‘no’ or ‘I’m not gonna get involved,’ this time I have people who have called or approached me when I have a meeting to let me know that if I get in, they’re in. And that’s something that I did not have before. That’s very different,” said Huckabee.

He added: “These are people coming from all over the spectrum, but these are people who have a history of not just talking, but making it work.” He provided no names.

Huckabee said he will make a decision after the 2014 midterm elections. He has been reaching out to voters in early primary and caucus states, especially evangelicals.

Huckabee indicated that he would be tough on Hillary Clinton's record. Calling a fight with her “very winnable,” Huckabee charged that, “Like it or not, she has fingerprints on this administration that she cannot remove. There is no glove that can take the fingerprints off some of the things that have happened in her tenure not only as secretary of state, but as a senator, especially within the administration.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at