Mike Huckabee’s poor timing — beginning 2012 presidential exploratory work the week he’s nominally hosting a fund-raiser for John McCain — is filtering through the political media. Wesley Pruden’s column in today’s Washington Times (I know, I know) is on the subject. Pruden also quotes a certain “counterculture” weekly in LR. Excerpt from his column:

Indeed, the buzz in Little Rock is that some of the former governor’s confidants, donors and backers are open about their blowing off Mr. McCain and his prospects. Mr. Huckabee met this week with several men who will be his steering committee for 2012. The timing, at least, was odd. You might think the former governor’s attention would be focused on getting enough hush puppies ordered for his McCain fundraiser.

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None of this surprises any of the Huckabee home folks. He has a reputation for searching endlessly for the main chance, even at the expense of presumed friends and allies. He cultivates opportunities to crack wise at the expense of the friend or foe.

Politico linked to the Arkansas Blog’s additional reporting on Huckabee’s work yesterday. That prompted some none-too-flattering comments about The Huckster from readers of that well-read site.

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PS — A Huckabee supporter who was at the Monday meeting insists today that accounts of this meeting (mine came from three people; I don’t know how many people columnist David Sanders talked with in compiling his first, similar account) have been skewed. He says the Monday session was planned before McCain’s visit to Little Rock was set and that it was a review of this year’s campaign, pro and con, not a 2012 strategy session. He adds: “The governor could not have been more emphatic that he will do everything he can to get John McCain elected. Stay away from conspiracy theories.”

Stay away from conspiracy theories? Where’s the fun in that? But … Call the meeting what you will. Setting up a PAC and a separate nonprofit, with the help of big-foot contributors, is spade work for a future race, whether you explicitly speak the words or not.

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