Today's Des Moines Register gives huge front-page play to a story about a Huckabee secret weapon:

Thousands of evangelical Christians who school their children at home have found a candidate they can support in Huckabee, and they provide the former Arkansas governor's outsider campaign with hundreds of volunteers....

As a small subset of social conservatives, home-school activists are too few to account for all of Huckabee's recent jump to the top of the Republican field in the state.

But they number in the thousands and could make the difference in a close contest on Jan. 3, when Iowa's precinct caucuses kick off the presidential nominating process.

This quote is also interesting and explanatory: 

The recent rise is due partly to uncertainty among some Iowa activists about Romney's social conservative credentials, Huckabee's favorable reviews in nationally televised debates, Brownback's departure from the race and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's lackluster entry into the race, said Chuck Laudner, the Iowa Republican Party's executive director."Had Fred come out here and been that fire-in-the-belly guy, we wouldn't be talking about Mike Huckabee," said Laudner, who is not endorsing any candidate.

"Fred really opened the door for Mike Huckabee."

Congratulations, Fred! That must feel great.

Update: Playing off the 2004 slogan, "Dated Dean, Married Kerry," Jonathan Martin suggests the '08 equivalent might be "Flirted with Fred, Fell for Huck."

--Michael Crowley