Huckabee Supporters and Evangelical Activists Cheer Palin Pick

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Evangelical and conservative leaders, including several former foes of John McCain, are heralding his selection today of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate. “An absolutely brilliant choice,” said Mat Staver, the chairman of the Liberty Counsel, and an organizer for the failed campaign of Mike Huckabee. “He could not have got a better choice than Gov. Palin. She’s a conservative. She’s a mom.”

Rev. Rick Scarborough, another Huckabee booster who runs Vision America, also cheered the decision. “I’m elated,” he said. “I think it’s a superb choice.” He said he expected her to rally the long skeptical Republican base around McCain. “She provides a leap in that department because of a concerted fear that Gov. Ridge or Sen. Lieberman would be chosen,” he said. “While McCain is not our first choice, he is the choice.”

Dr. James Dobson, a longtime McCain foe who runs Focus on the Family, is expected to give interviews on the choice later today.

UPDATE: Mike Huckabee just released this statement:

Sarah Palin is a pleasant surprise for those of us who had hoped Senator McCain would pick a principled and authentic conservative pro-life leader, and Sarah Palin is. As a Governor, she also brings an important balance of understanding of the critical domestic issues that is needed and that the Democrats have ignored in their ticket. Governor Palin is smart, authentic, tough, and a dynamic choice that will remind women that if they are not welcome on the Democrat’s ticket, they have a place with Republicans.