Tim Hoagland, FairTax.org's communication's director, wants to set the record straight about his group's role in helping Mike Huckabee place second at the Ames straw poll:
For the record, everywhere we went on our 25 city Iowa bus tour over the last two weeks we saw crowds enthusiastic for the FairTax. We invited one and all to come to Ames on our 10 buses and have little doubt that supporters of each candidate--and undecided's--came to Ames with us. This is a grassroots campaign to advance an issue important to the nation and every taxpayer
We never inquired as to whom someone supported, only asking them to come to our two events. We estimate that 5,000-7,000 people came through our tent during the day. Our "Fairest Wheel" drew a lot of attention as did the funnel cakes, Mel McDaniel's band, our air-conditioned tent and our FairTax materials. We believe a lot of people came in skeptics and left the tent, believers. We saw a lot of Romney and Brownback supporters wearing "FairTax" stickers on top of their candidates T-shirt even though those candidates don't support the FairTax. Simply put, the idea is resonating with the public, irrespective of political affiliation or candidate preference.
Having said that, it cannot really be a surprise that those citizens who feel so strongly about the FairTax naturally gravitate to those candidates who most strongly advocate enactment. It is, after all, a non-regressive national retail sales tax that replaces the dysfunctional income tax system, eliminates all federal taxes on the poor and benefits taxpayers at every income level.
That Mike Huckabee, who made the FairTax a central plank of his campaign efforts in Iowa and elsewhere, benefited from the popularity of FairTax is only a surprise to those who have not followed the growing grassroots popularity of the FairTax (as seen in 514 radio talk shows over the past 11 months). We have seen 10,000 person rallies in the last year in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. We are getting 50,000 web hits a day to www.fairtax.org
Finally, anyone saying that the FairTax buses or grassroots campaign was a "secret" weapon must be unaware of the fact that we have been telling anyone who will listen about our bus tour, our issue and our Straw Poll events. That the national media has paid little attention to an issue that recently has seen five of eight GOP candidates, one prominent almost candidate--and one Democrat--give it support is less a "secret" than a largely unreported truth.