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The Wooing of Mike Huckabee: How Conservative Pastors Got Their Man

The backstory to Huckabee's maybe-sort-of 2016 run.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks during the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord International Hotel and Conference Center March 7, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks during the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord International Hotel and Conference Center March 7, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Nov. 14, 2014, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee stood inside the Auschwitz II–Birkenau prison camp and asked 18 fellow Christians to think about something unpleasant. They were on day three of "The Journey: A Spiritual Awakening," a 10-day trip from Poland to the United Kingdom to southern California, tracing the steps of Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan. Organized by David Lane and the American Renewal Project, it brought influential activists and pastors with ties to Iowa politics together with Huckabee, who acted as an affable guide and host. And the prison camp had made him think.

"These was your brightest, your highest educational minds, your intellectual elite, and they spent their time and their skill devising a system that would kill their fellow man en masse with the least mess," Huckabee said, according to Tamara Scott, an RNC committee member from Iowa who went on the trip. "So, think that through. How horrific is that?"