Huckabee seeks blessing of religious conservatives for '08

By STEVEN K. PAULSON Associated Press Writer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Saturday named himself the standard bearer for religious conservatives, and said he believes the religious right will be a major player in next year's elections.

"There is clearly a search on for an authentic conservative candidate in the Republican Party," Huckabee said in a meeting with reporters.

Huckabee later addressed the policy board at Focus on the Family on Saturday, hoping to get the blessing of religious conservatives and edge out Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who is seen as the early leader to be the Republican candidate of choice for the religious right.
Huckabee said an "authentic" conservative candidate is one who hasn't flip-flopped on family values and other issues dear to religious conservatives.

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