From the bright-red campaign-style bus to the crowd of admirers, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's visit Wednesday to a north Fresno Sam's Club felt like a political event.
But it wasn't. At least on its face.
Huckabee was in the central San Joaquin Valley to promote and sign copies of his new children's book, "Can't Wait Til Christmas," as well as his reissued adult title, "A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit."
Just below the book-tour veneer, however, was the real feel of a dry run for the presidency.
Huckabee made a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, eventually losing out to Arizona Sen. John McCain, and he made it clear Wednesday that he is interested in trying again in 2012.
He clearly relished the positive comments from those in line.
"So far, nobody's said 'don't,' so that's a good sign," he said.
Huckabee posed for pictures and chatted with the more than 80 people who lined up to have him sign copies of the books.
Everyone in line wanted him to pursue the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. But not everybody was committed to voting for him -- at least not yet.
Fresno resident Brenda Wilson was first in line. She arrived at Sam's Club at 8 a.m., four hours before the event started. She bought seven books for Huckabee to sign, which she planned to give as Christmas gifts.
But Wilson supported McCain in 2008. For 2012? She likes former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Huckabee, but isn't ready to commit.
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