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Huckabee backs Kelsey, criticizes incivility of politics

WICHITA — Kansas congressional candidate Dick Kelsey will support fiscal and socially conservative values if voters send him to Washington, but he won't be "bullheaded and uncivil" with opponents, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told about 230 people in Wichita today.

Huckabee, a radio and television program commentator, bass guitarist and a Republican candidate for president in 2008, spent two hours at the Holiday Inn near Rock Road and Kellogg, promoting the state senator who supported his Kansas Republican primary campaign in 2008. Huckabee won that Kansas primary before losing the nomination to John McCain.

While talking to supporters (and autographing two bass guitars for a raffle to support Kelsey), Huckabee touched several times on Kelsey's support for less taxes, less government spending, less regulation and the Second Amendment. And he talked about Kelsey's opposition to abortion.

But Huckabee also brought up more than once the incivility of politics today. He warned that this is damaging to politics and getting things done. He did not spare conservatives, saying that anonymous bloggers said mean and uncivil things about him recently when he brought President Obama's wife, Michelle, onto his Fox cable show to support and elaborate on her efforts to fight child obesity.

"Some bloggers, it seemed, wanted me to bring her on my show only if I yelled at her. Or it seemed they wanted me to hit her."

He said he disagrees with nearly every policy position of her husband, but that attacking people doesn't accomplish anything. The viciousness of attacks from all sides, he said, are "disgusting ... the anger and the meanness."

"Part of the reason I support Dick Kelsey is that I know him, and I've talked with people from both sides of the aisle who have worked with him," Huckabee said. Kelsey has friends among Democratic legislators and won't alienate people even while he sticks to conservative principles, he added.

People are so angry at government, Huckabee said, that all incumbents are in some danger of losing their jobs. But he also warned that a third party movement, as suggested by some disenchanted voters, would drain conservative support from Republicans and ensure that Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would retain their jobs.

Kelsey, R-Goddard, is running in a crowded Republican primary for the 4th District seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard. Kelsey told the audience that of the five Republican candidates, four, including him, are conservatives. But he said he is "the only one who has a voting record" showing that he's as good as his word in supporting conservative concerns.

His opponents are fellow state Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita; oilman, restaurateur and indoor football team owner Wink Hartman; small-business owner Jim Anderson; and Republican National Committeeman and businessman Mike Pompeo.

Democrats who have announced in the race are state Rep. Raj Goyle, D-Wichita, and retired court services officer Robert Tillman.

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