“It is a surrender, not a truce,” he says. “Under a Santorum presidency there will be no surrender”. He vows to remain “in the foxhole, out on the frontline, fighting the pro-life fight”. Mr Santorum, a staunch Catholic and father of seven, has previously campaigned for abortion to be outlawed even in cases of incest-rape.
He is rewarded soon after the speech with the endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats, the head of The Family Leader, an influential pressure group. Mr Vander Plaats ran Mr Huckabee's successful 2008 campaign in the state and was credited with delivering him its social-conservative vote. Soon after that, Mr Santorum receives the surge in support he always claimed was coming while he languished in the low single-digits and his glossier rivals rose and fell.
“We're seeing a lot of momentum and intensity,” Mr Santorum says later, 36 hours before caucuses open. Indeed, Mr Huckabee points out, candidates here “have to get the people so intense for them” that they will “go out on a cold night in January and sit in a drafty school room for three hours and caucus”.
Debbie Myers, a 55-year-old legal secretary from Des Moines, is just one undecided caucus-goer ready to “get intense” for someone on January 3. “The United States will get what's coming to it unless it repents from the sin of abortion,” she said, following the screening. As a tear rolled down one cheek, she added: “AIDS was only the start”.
On the eve of the caucuses it looked as if the issue of abortion, focus on which is customarily forced by Iowa's role as first state to have its say, may well end up handing a shock victory to the former Pennsylvania senator.
But it does not even register in surveys of voters' priorities nationwide. Even in Iowa this time, just 25 per cent of white, evangelical Republican caucus-goers name social issues as their top priority, a CBS News poll found, while 71 per cent overall said candidates should be judged on their economic plans.
Little wonder, then, that the party establishment worries that by flirting with candidates such as Mr Santorum – who has said that all contraception should be illegal – its Right wing may be recklessly thwarting the hopes of the candidate most likely to beat Barack Obama in a general election: Mitt Romney.
It was Mr Romney, a relative moderate who endorsed abortion rights while governor of Massachusetts, who, despite spending $10 million (£6.1 million) trying to stop it happening, was knocked into second place here in 2008 by Mr Huckabee, who campaigned on the ingenious claim to be the candidate who “reminds you of the guy you work with, not the guy who laid you off”.
So is the slick former private equity executive, who amassed a $250 million (£160 million) fortune stripping down businesses, still the big-bad-boss figure to be opposed this time round? Mr Huckabee smiles. “You know I never actually mentioned him by name,” he says. “I think people kind of drew that conclusion.”
“Look, I have made clear that if Mitt Romney is the nominee I will be absolutely on his team and campaigning vigorously for him,” he adds. He has “no doubt” that Mr Romney could manage the economy “far more capably” than Mr Obama. “So all of this stuff from four years ago – that was then.” Mr Huckabee later predicted that Mr Romney would win Iowa, before falling quiet again amid the Santorum surge.
In any case it is quite clear that like many allies Mr Huckabee – who “reserves the right” to endorse a candidate, but does not expect to – longs for a feasible conservative alternative. He claims that “the fact no candidate has caused everyone to coalesce around them is an indication of a strength of field, not a weakness”, but equally seems resigned to having to back a flawed horse.
“They each have their strengths, and quite frankly each of them have their weaknesses,” he says. Asked if he, like some other evangelicals, could not bring himself to back the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich due to his infidelity and three marriages, Mr Huckabee sighs. “None of us can stand on a stage and say 'here stands a perfect person',” he says. “If we're looking for that, we're never going to find him”.
One issue on which he is lockstep with Mr Gingrich, however, is Israel. Famously vigorous in his support for the Jewish state, Mr Huckabee says that he agrees with Mr Gingrich's controversial remark earlier this month that the Palestinians are an “invented” people.
“It's an accurate description,” he says. “There are people who unquestionably have moved and have been displaced, but it was not like an organised government. I think that's what he was saying and I think he was correct”. Make that two high-profile Republicans to the Right of Likud.
Furious at Mr Obama for his demands that Israel submit to pre-1967 borders, he is almost as scornful towards the president for his handling of relations with Britain. “We need to treat our friends like friends,” he says. “You don't treat your friends like casual acquaintances.”
He revives the well-worn examples of Mr Obama's removing Churchill's bust from the Oval Office, and his 2009 gift to the Queen of an iPod filled with show-tunes, to illustrate his point, as he jabs his finger on the sideboard. “These are marginal in the grand scheme of things,” he says, “but they show no greater thought was made – and that's the affront.” For him, “Britain was treated just as one of a hundred nations, not as that very special friend that we should value”.
Like many American conservatives, he was won over by the unquestioning loyalty of Britain's prime minister at their time of need. “No matter what people think in Britain of Tony Blair”, he says, his “unabashed courage” after 9/11 means “he will forever to me be a terrific world statesman”.
“It would have been easy for him to be more 'Gee, we're very sorry for your loss',” says Mr Huckabee, using a southernism that he falls back on frequently. “But he went far beyond that”.
The lack of “statesmanlike” quality on display during this extraordinary Republican primary contest – part-dominated as it has been by an absurd former pizza restaurant tycoon accused of sexual impropriety – has prompted yearnings for a weightier wild card candidate to make a late entry.
Much of the chatter centres on Jeb Bush, the socially moderate brother of George W. Mr Huckabee ruled himself out early on this time, declaring in May: “All the factors say go, but my heart says no.” It is said that he simply prefers his life as a multimillionaire television presenter, radio host and musician. He may always have been too Right-wing to persuade enough independent voters to make him president.
None the less, it is striking how much more substantial and engaging he seems than most of his successor-candidates. And with his 37-year, three-child marriage and mainstream religious background, considerable personal fortune and folksy charm, he seems to embody several of the individual electorally appealing characteristics of some of the current choices.
There is only the slightest hint of regret in his voice as he realistically surveys the horizon. “Ballot access in a number of states has already closed,” he says. “So a person who jumped in now, they wouldn't even be on the ballot in a number of states,” he says.
But he concedes that “a lot of people disagreed” with his decision.“It just did not seem that this was the right time for me,” he sighs. “My own wife thought I shoulda run,” he admits. “Typically it's the other way round. The guy says 'I look in the mirror and I see a president'. The wife says 'I look over there and see a guy who needs to go rake the leaves'.”