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The Unhearted Huckabee

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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SCHOOL DAZE David, Mike (inset)

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has parlayed three solid debate performances—defined by a series of canned-but-mildly amusing laugh-lines and some articulate riffs on his religious views—into new buzz about his prospects as a possible VP selection.

But what about his Glock-packing campaign trail roadblock of a son, David? The li'l Huckster briefly caught the national spotlight in April by getting arrested for trying to carry a loaded handgun through airport security. His father called the situation just "one of those stupid things," but it wasn't the first time the Baptist preacher's son has been an enticing target for bad press.

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In 1998, a teenage Huckabee (he's now 26) was fired from his job at a Boy Scout camp for his reported involvement in an incident where a stray dog was brutally killed. While an elected student leader in college, his questionable private business dealings with a student organization created a local controversy that resulted in Huckabee bitterly paying for business licenses with over 6,000 pennies. A Little Rock paper even ran an unsubstantiated charge about marijuana that earned them a libel suit.

Campaigns are quick to cordon off uncomfortable family issues as irrelevant, but anyone who has observed Andrew Giuliani's public airing of grievances or seen Jamie Kennedy's mesmerizing Malibu's Most Wanted rightly suspects that campaigns privately nurse deep worries about the impact of off-message kin.

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