Stateline Story

Huckabee targets the competition

With Iowa 's first-in-the-nation caucuses less than a week away, former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is taking aim at his competition - literally. The ordained Baptist minister this week went on a pheasant-hunting trip near frigid Council Bluffs , Iowa , where he suggested naming each targeted bird after his political counterparts in the Republican field, the ( New York ) Daily News discloses. The paper called Huckabee's (successful) hunting trip "a metaphorical flip of the bird" to another former gov and GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who, it says, "may have exaggerated his own hunting prowess."

Gotham City has the Batphone; now Alaska has the Wolfphone. The state Department of Fish and Game has introduced a hotline that residents can call to report wolf sightings; information also can be relayed to subscribers through an e-mail listserv , according to the ( Fairbanks ) Daily News-Miner . But don't mistake the listserv for a chat room open to anyone; it's designed for Alaskans concerned about wolf attacks, one state official cautioned. "We don't want a bunch of people from Connecticut on there," he said.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) is a close friend of former West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez, but the two still hadn't spoken four days after Rodriguez stunned sports fans in the Mountain State by accepting the head coaching job at Michigan , the Charleston Daily Mail writes. Does that mean the governor is angry at Rodriguez? "He's made a decision. We have to do our best to live with it, and we're going to be fine," Manchin said. Others seemed to disagree. Hours after Rodriguez announced his decision to leave West Virginia , officials in his hometown removed signs that said, "Home of WVU Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez," the Daily Mail notes.

First-year Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) has taken a tough stand against global warming, vowing to cut carbon dioxide emissions and promoting renewable energy. The governor's mansion, on the other hand, is "a 26,000-square-foot energy hog with single-pane windows, 12-foot ceilings, nine fireplaces that don't work, and zero insulation," the Rocky Mountain News of Denver reports. Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter is trying to reduce the mansion's monthly $1,700 energy bills by stringing a clothes line on the balcony and drying the family's garments the old-fashioned way.