Huckabee Remains Tight-Lipped on 2012; Aides Say He's a No Go



Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, winner of the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, and considered the GOP front-runner in many national polls, will announce his 2012 presidential plans on his Saturday night show on Fox News Channel.

Huckabee says he has not discussed his decision with his producers, nor has he reached out directly to his former aides. Many Huckabee insiders say all signs point against another campaign.

"He's not going to run, " Ed Rollins, Huckabee's 2008 national campaign chairman tells FOX. " Rollins, who with other members of the Huckabee inner circle, was in charge of setting up a potential campaign operation, emotes a sense of frustration.

"About a week ago he broke off communications which tells me he's not going to run," Rollins says gruffly. "It was different this time around. I always told him it was his decision, and no one else's. I have always told him, If you don't have the fire in the belly, don't get into the race ."

Another member of Huckabee's inner circle, who has known the former Arkansas governor since the 90's confirms Rollins description, but says Huckabee has not spoken to him directly.

"He would have made a great president, but I am not despondent about it," he says. "I've known him for years. He knows what he is doing."

While not told specifically by the governor about his announcement, the Huckabee insider says the signal from those physically around him was that operations for a possible White House bid had been halted and the engine for the "campaign option" was turned off about a week ago.

"I have not spoken to him in about two weeks," says David Beasley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina and chairman of Huckabee's efforts in the Palmetto State in 2008. Beasley was also setting up operations for a potential bid for 2012.

"At one point, I thought he was going to run, about a month ago. But I don't think that anymore," Beasley said in an interview on Friday. "I think he's going to announce tomorrow that he's not running." To emphasize that point, Beasley spoke while on his way to the airport for a flight to Nepal and other Asian countries for his charitable organization.

However, another close Huckabee source who talked to the governor, warned Friday that "no one will know what his decision is until tomorrow."

"The staff on the show doesn't know and won't know until tomorrow night," the Huckabee insider said. "Everybody's in the dark."

On two different FOX News shows Friday, Huckabee deftly avoided providing a direct answer to blunt questions about his 2012 decision, only re-affirming that he will announce his 2012 plans on his show.

"Not even my executive producer knows," Huckabee told FNC's Bill O'Reilly on Friday night. He gave the same answer to Fox & Friends on Saturday morning.

* Huckabee's show and AEHQ blog are both owned by the same parent company.