Action Hero Helps Draw Teens to Huckabee Politicos may think Obama has the youth vote, but Huckabee has a secret weapon: action hero Chuck Norris, who is luring teenage fans to Mike Huckabee's campaign stops. Some of them can even vote.
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Action Hero Helps Draw Teens to Huckabee

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Action Hero Helps Draw Teens to Huckabee

Action Hero Helps Draw Teens to Huckabee

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When it comes to New Hampshire, Mike Huckabee can't get respect from his big Iowa win. He doesn't have a built-in base of evangelical voters in the state. But he does have one secret weapon to get people to show up at his rallies - TV tough guy Chuck Norris.

NPR's Robert Smith sent this audio postcard about what happens when political science meets martial arts.

ROBERT SMITH: Young teenage boys can't vote for president, and let's be honest, that's probably a good thing. I mean, come on, who's powerful enough to get a 14-year-old to show up for a political rally?

Mr. TYLER GRAHAM: Chuck Norris is so fast he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.

SMITH: Well, there you are. Tyler Graham is holding a book called "The Truth About Chuck Norris," a collection of so-called facts about the karate star. He came to the Huckabee event in Windham, New Hampshire, just to have the man sign it.

Mr. GRAHAM: Chuck Norris can speak Braille. Chuck Norris counted to infinity twice.

SMITH: Are you a Chuck Norris fan?

Mr. GRAHAM: Yes.

SMITH: Or a little tongue-in-cheek?

Mr. GRAHAM: It's a big teenage fad right now, and me being a teenager, you know?

SMITH: Never mind that Graham wasn't even born when Chuck Norris starred in "Delta Force." He was just a kid when Chuck Norris wrestled a bear on "Walker Texas Ranger."

(Soundbite of movie "Walker Texas Ranger")

SMITH: I don't need to tell you who won that fight because I think you're getting the idea of just how tough Chuck Norris is.

Mr. GRAHAM: Chuck Norris can charge a cell phone just by rubbing it against his beard.

SMITH: Yeah, but here's one fact about Chuck Norris you may not know; he's probably going to kick me in the head for saying it. He's not the best political speaker. Oh, he gets cheers when he walks on stage, but the audience tends to zone out after a few minutes.

Mr. CHUCK NORRIS (Actor): Because the thing is, what impresses me the most and the things that are more passionate to me is education. Education's very important to me.

SMITH: In fact, during his speech, reporters in the back of the room compete to come up with the best political version of the Chuck Norris facts. Perhaps you didn't know that Mike Huckabee's bumper stickers don't have glue. They stick to your car because Chuck told them to.

Mr. NORRIS: Actually, interesting, you know, me being a martial arts teacher for 15 years…

SMITH: When Chuck Norris gives a stump speech, it's on an actual stump that he pulled from the ground with his teeth.

Mr. NORRIS: You know, physically, psychologically and mentally and spiritually…

SMITH: You know, the toughest guy on this stage is perhaps Mike Huckabee, who has to listen to this speech five times a day. I'm not saying that Chuck Norris is not a powerful political prop. When a heckler starts yelling at Mike Huckabee from the back of the room…

(Soundbite of hecklers yelling)

SMITH: …Huckabee is ready for it.

Mr. MIKE HUCKABEE (Former Democrat Governor, Arkansas; Presidential Candidate): Don't make me send Chuck back there.

SMITH: And Huckabee rarely talks about his immigration policy. I mean, why does he need to when he has ads like this?

(Soundbite of political ad)

Mr. HUCKABEE: My plan to secure the border? Two words: Chuck Norris.

SMITH: It's hokey and maybe even a little desperate, but politics is a sales job, and you have to get the people in the door. And heck, some of those teenagers can actually vote. Daniel Savasano is 18.

Mr. DANIEL SAVASANO: I honestly came today for Chuck Norris, but after hearing everything that Mike Huckabee said, I really do like him. I think he would make a great president.

SMITH: Well, are you saying Mike Huckabee is more powerful than Chuck Norris?

Mr. SAVASANO: No, nobody is more powerful than Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris might be God, but Huckabee's pretty close right now.

SMITH: They might as well put it on the bumper sticker, come for the Chuck; stay for the Huck.

Robert Smith, NPR News, Manchester.

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