Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is running a campaign ad which has drawn a good deal of attention during this holiday season."If I had used the name ‘Jesus Christ’ in profanity, it would have offended some of you but it wouldn’t have made a national news story," Huckabee said last week. "But because we used it in the context of saying, ‘Merry Christmas’ it’s been analyzed by virtually every television program."
In the ad, Huckabee wishes viewers, "Merry Christmas" and it features what some see as a floating white cross over his right shoulder. Huckabee has said it’s just a bookcase in the background. Former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan called the image of the cross "creepy" in a column she wrote for the Wall Street Journal.
Huckabee seems to be happy about all the furor. "It was the number one YouTube-watched video," Huckabee said Wednesday. "…But while we’re thrilled with the positive aspects, it is kind of sad that people are almost shocked when someone would just look out there at America and say, ‘Take time with your family and friends and Merry Christmas.’"
Another Republican candidate, Ron Paul, has criticized Huckabee’s ad. Paul quoted an author who warned that when facism arrived in the U.S., it would be wrapped in the flag and "carrying a cross." Huckabee and his staff deny the image of the cross was intentional, and Huckabee has joked that if you play the ad backwards it says: "Paul is dead" — a reference to a long-ago controversy involving the Beatles.
"We honestly did want to change the tone of the political discourse that was going on here and in other states as well," Huckabee said in West Des Moines. "We thought with all of the negative…backbiting and name-calling and fist-punching kind of politics, it would be kind of nice to if we said, ‘Folks, maybe we ought to remember that this is Christmas and usually that is about peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.’"
Huckabee was a Baptist minister before he entered politics.