Iowa City, Iowa

One of the big topics of conversation among the reporters following Huckabee is if or when the famously thin-skinned governor will lash out at someone in a way that sets him back. I personally don't think it's going to happen. The Huckabee campaign isn't the most disciplined operation, to say the least. And Huckabee is hardly the most disciplined candidate. (That honor probably goes to Romney--or at least it did before the "definition of saw" fiasco.) But if there's one thing Huckabee knows absolutely can't happen, it's some kind of blow-up. My sense from traveling with him is that he's absolutely determined not to let it. Yes, he can get a little prickly from time to time. And all bets are off if Huckabee goes on to win Iowa and the race turns into a long, drawn-out fight between him and Romney or whomever. But I don't really foresee something like that in the 13 days before the caucuses.

Just one small anecdote to bolster the point: Newsweek's Howard Fineman turned up in the Huckabee scrum when we stopped at a music store in Coralville this afternoon.

The two of them made some small talk about playing the bass (Fineman played in high school; Huckabee still plays), then Fineman lunged with a question about all the nasty things Rush Limbaugh's been saying about Huckabee lately--how Huck plays the Christian card every time he gets a tough question, etc. It's the kind of thing you might have expected to set Huckabee off, but instead he just smiled and said, "I like Rush. I think he's a great voice for conservatism." The conversation kind of fizzled out after that.

Huck then treated himself to a few minutes of jamming with some store employees.  

This does not look like a guy who's ready to blow.

--Noam Scheiber