Onetime presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made small talk with hundreds of Wichitans Monday at a book-signing in College Hill.
Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, was promoting his book, "A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit," in a stop at Watermark Books & Cafe.
Most of the people who stood in line for a few seconds with Huckabee either encouraged him to run for president again or shared their thoughts on the national health care bill that passed the House over the weekend.
Huckabee called the bill "the biggest piece of insanity I've seen in my lifetime."
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Betty Bowlin stood in line for about 1 1/2 hours with her daughter, chief deputy county treasurer Linda Kizzire.
Bowlin complimented Huckabee on his Fox News TV program.
"I watch all the time," she said. "Even the reruns."
Replied Huckabee: "That's my kind of people. We need more like you."
Huckabee paused to talk guitars with Grant McPherson, 11.
"There's a whole chapter in here about how I got my first guitar at 11," Huckabee said. "Hang in there. Keep playing it."
People at the book-signing were enthusiastic about Huckabee running for president in 2012, although he was noncommittal.
"Our next president!" Judy Foster of Wichita shouted as she left the event.
"Yes, he's got my vote," she said. "We need a change in the White House — someone who's going to listen to the people."
Huckabee won the Kansas Republican presidential caucus in 2008 but failed to attract enough support nationally to beat the eventual Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who is running for the Senate, and state Sen. Dick Kelsey, who is running for the seat Tiahrt is vacating, met with Huckabee briefly before the signing, then stuck around to campaign in the crowd.
Following the signing, Huckabee commented on his intervening in the 4th District Republican primary on behalf of Kelsey, who had helped run his Kansas campaign.
"He really was one of those folks who had the courage of conviction to support me," Huckabee said. "And during that time is when I got to know him and what he stands for.
"I think if we had more guys like Dick Kelsey in Congress, we'd have fewer anxieties about what Congress is doing. I'm personally of the opinion that we need to just pull the flush handle and put some new water in the tank, and the sooner the better."
In terms of campaigning, Huckabee said he has recently been concentrating on the off-year governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey, both of which were won by Republicans.
He did not rule out further endorsements in Kansas races.