1) Mike Huckabee was not even on the national radar at this point in the 2008 election, and - with no money for a major advertising effort - he didnt become a factor in the election until the nationally televised debates that occurred AFTER the American people started paying attention (summer 2008). Yet look what he acheived. On the strength of his knowledge, record, personality, and performance in the debates Huckabee experienced the now-famous "Huckabee Surge" in the Fall of 2008 that led to a victory in the Iowa Caucus and a very narrow loss in South Carolina (by 1% point). Had he won South Carolina, many people think he might have gone on to win the nomination. I beleive that Huckabee learned from this experience that there is little need for him to slog his way around the country campaigning for months before the American people actually start paying attention. If he runs, he'll be a smarter, more experienced, and even BETTER candidate than before.
2) Mitt Romney learned the same lesson, I believe, although much more painfully. Unlike Huckabee, who learned what he could do with almost NO money, Romney learned how little it mattered to spend MILLIONS on advertising and sophisticated strategists (much of it his own money) before the American people are paying attention. He advertised ceaslessly for MONTHS in Iowa and elsewhere, only to get trounced.
Of course, part of that trouncing might also have had something to do with Romney being unable to sell his flip-flops on things like abortion, gun-control, gay marriage, and (now) government-run health care.
in reference to: Presidential hopefuls hold back in GOP’s silent winter - The Boston Globe (view on Google Sidewiki)