You can't expect a presidential candidate to know everything, but Mike Huckabee surely should have known he'd be crossing a picket line to do Jay Leno's show tonight. Instead, Mike Allen of Politico.com reported on my show this afternoon, Huckabee told reporters that it was okay, there wouldn't be any picketers, because all the late-night shows had made a deal with the writer's guild -- when, in fact, only David Letterman's company has such an agreement.
Even if Huckabee wasn't personally keeping up with the strike details, someone on his staff had to be. It's impossible to believe that no one in the campaign knew he was headed for a TV studio where the writers (including my friend Jon Macks) would be walking the line, complete with anti-Huckabee signs targeting him for being the first guest on Leno's first show back.
Perhaps Huckabee and/or his advisors believe that his phony populist image will carry him, but this isn't going to help him with any union members whose votes he wanted. It's also strange that, rather than staying in Iowa for every available minute of campaigning before tomorrow night, he's spending so many hours out of the state to do a TV appearance in California that will mostly be seen by people who won't be casting votes for weeks to come. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, stayed in Iowa to tape her cameo appearance for tonight's Letterman show.
Mike Allen will be back on my show tomorrow afternoon to assess the impact of both of those appearances, as well as other factors coming to bear as Iowans engage in their odd political process.