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The Brody File

Video Exclusive: Mike Huckabee Tells Brody File: 'There's an Openness Now' to Run for White House

In an exclusive backstage television interview with The Brody File, former Gov. Mike Huckabee says, “there’s a new openness now” for a run at the presidency in 2016."

Huckabee says he’s been encouraged to run by top evangelical and financial figures that did not back him in 2008. This time, however they say they will.

The Brody File conducted the exclusive interview behind closed doors at the Convention Center in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday evening during a private event hosted by The American Renewal Project (more on the group below).

He also met privately with pastors from the early voting states of Iowa and South Carolina. Huckabee told us after the meeting that, “a great many of them in this room certainly want me to take another shot at it and they said that. They expressed that.”

You can watch part of the interview below long with short excerpts.

Mandatory Courtesy: CBN News/The Brody File

David Brody: Is there something different here? (From how he felt a few months ago when it came to thinking about running for president)

Mike Huckabee: I think there is. I’m not even close to being ready to saying yeah I’m going to run but I think that there’s an openness now.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’ve had some incredible encouragement from people that I wasn’t expecting to get it from. I think even from people who didn’t support me before….

I’m a little surprised at the intensity people feel. It’s not just the obligatory, ‘oh I’m shaking your hand, I kind have got to say something nice, the nice thing to say is gee I hope you run.’ These are people who look me square in the eye and say it with conviction.

(On his meeting with Iowa and South Carolina Pastors)

Probably a great many of them in this room certainly want me to take another shot at it and they said that. They expressed that.

The Brody File also spoke to two evangelical leaders after the meeting with Huckabee and they both told us that he sounded like a candidate who was seriously considering running for president. Early polling in key states like Iowa and South Carolina show that Huckabee leads the pack of possible presidential contenders.

The former governor also decided not to renew his radio contract this month, leading to even more speculation that he’s eyeing a presidential run.

David Lane, an influential evangelical leader heads up the American Renewal Project. His goal is to encourage pastors to speak more boldly from the pulpit and in the process register more evangelical Christians to vote.

According to Lane and others at the American Renewal Project, there are roughly 65 to 80 million evangelicals in the United States yet just 50 percent are registered to vote. Only half of those registered show up on Election Day.

The American Renewal Project will continue to hold these types of events around the country in 2014. As a matter of fact, Huckabee is slated to speak at one of these events again in February. Sens. (and possible presidential contenders) Rand Paul and Ted Cruz attended an event hosted by Lane back in July.

During this event in Little Rock, Huckabee was in rare form. You can watch some highlights of his speech below. He pokes some fun at President Obama at the top of his speech (pretty funny) and speaks about the link between spiritual revival and political revival in America.

Mandatory Courtesy: CBN News/The Brody File

Mike Huckabee: When spiritual revival really happens, the result is always felt within the political and the economic realm.

One of the reasons we’re in the mess were in is because churches have become too political and not spiritual enough.

I sometimes hear people say, ‘I wonder what the Republicans can do to convince Americans that they really have some good ideas.’ Look, folks it’s as simple as this, something that you probably said to your church congregation over and over again. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It is high time that we understand that the gospel is not about telling them that all the world is messed up and hopeless.

It’s telling them that it doesn’t matter where they are, what kind of incredibly difficult situation they face that you are God’s arms, ears, hands and love to them and that you will not forget them. And I tell you when they kind of spiritual revival happens in this country, the impact upon the politics of this country will be incredibly profound and when the politics of this country are affected by the spiritual life of the country then I can assure you that as people become aware of God’s love in their life it will change the culture of this nation. We far too often fight the culture when we need to proclaim the Christ.

Look, if Huckabee runs, he would be formidable. You can make the argument that he would even be the frontrunner.

Why? Well for starters he’s likeable and we know how crucial it is for voters to see a candidate as a nice guy (Obama, Bush). With his southern charm, he has a way of saying things that you may not agree with but doesn’t offend you when he says them (Like in the south when people say, “You look ugly in that dress, bless your heart!).

Plus, he’s a former governor so that’s a plus in his corner not to mention that he’s already been vetted at the national level. Huckabee’s main challenge will be to show to critics that he’s viable and not just the “evangelical candidate.”

Some may say Huckabee’s time has passed but I’m not quite so sure. In these days where the GOP is full of intramural fighting, the party needs a Ronald Reagan type figure that can be a great communicator. That’s Huckabee’s greatest strength.

The party needs someone to preach fiscal conservatism in a way that’s palatable to independents and Reagan Democrats. Huckabee has that potential.

The Brody File is eager to find out the next plot twist in the new movie called, “The Curious Case of Mike Huckabee.”