December 10th, 2007
01:14 PM ET
6 years ago

Huckabee backtracks on Cuba embargo

MIAMI (CNN) – Campaigning in Miami Monday with powerful Cuban American leaders, Mike Huckabee made this promise:

"As president, I commit that we would veto any legislation that would lift the embargo that is currently in place, because we must keep that pressure on."

But that hard-line position on Cuba is an about-face for the former Arkansas governor.

In 2002, then-Gov. Huckabee wrote President Bush urging him to lift the embargo on Cuba, saying the U.S. position was harming agriculture and business interests, and providing Fidel Castro with a "convenient excuse for his own failed system of government."

Huckabee admits he has now had a change of heart, saying he's been educated by Cuban American leaders like Marco Rubio, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, who endorsed his candidacy for president Monday.

"Rather than being seen as some huge change, I would call it rather the simple reality that I'm running for president of the United States, not for re-election as governor of Arkansas,” said Huckabee Monday, adding that his earlier position was intended to aid that state’s then-struggling rice farmers.

Now, said Huckabee, “I’ve got to look at this as an issue that touches the whole country, and because of the influence that the Speaker and the Hispanic community have had in helping me better understand it."

Cuban Americans are a powerful voting bloc in Florida's Republican primary January 29. Many are socially conservative, like Huckabee, but would be hard pressed to support him if he did not change his position, and oppose lifting the trade embargo with Cuba.

Sensing Huckabee’s vulnerability on the issue, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign sent out a release titled “Huckabee: Mr. President, Lift the Cuban Embargo” late Sunday, just hours before the former governor hit the campaign trail with Cuban American leaders.

–CNN's Dana Bash


Filed under: Florida • Fred Thompson • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Paul, Baton Rouge, LA

    Let's face it, Huckabee is not the "real deal" some make him out to be. Just because he's been a pastor and claims to be the "Christian candidate" the country is going to give him the job of POTUS? Please America, think twice. You're smarter than that. One thing that was interesting recently was the number of pardons this guy gave as Governor. It's phenominally more than the other Governors combined!! Does this guy think he's the Savior? He says he did it because he was lobbied by Pastors, and that anyone that had a pastor that asked Huckabee for forgiveness, such was given? Look, I'm all for forgiveness of sins, but there's also the law, and I don't get the impression that he has the backbone to get things done. Consider:

    his infamous speech playing on YouTube, where he says, "what do you want, to raise this tax or that tax or that tax? I'm ok with that".

    And now, with regard to all these pardons, he's saying to pastors, "if you want me to pardon someone, I'll pardon. Sure. No problem."

    As POTUS, will he even stand up for something? What's this guy going to do in the face of lobbyists? Roll over and do whatever they ask him to do?

    December 11, 2007 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  2. Darrel @Lone Rock Iowa

    A wise person can change his or her mind.
    A fool Never does.

    That being said if it is flip Flop on a weekly basis it would not be good/

    However if the situation changes over a longer period of time/ The wise man will adapt to change. Castro ain't dead yet! (At least they are not letting it out)
    Go Huckabee!!!
    Independant from Iowa

    December 11, 2007 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  3. therealist

    Kennedy and the liberals gave us a communist Cuba by abandoning it's freedom fighters on the beaches. Some having to even resort to cannibalism to survive. Liberals have proven themselves time and time again to be incapable of providing national security...

    December 11, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    It is time to lift the embargo anyway America has trade with china, russia and the middle east. We train nation to kill America. Cuba nothing

    December 11, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Keegan, Carlisle, PA:

    Huck's rise is exactly what you said a "meteoric rise" and then it disappears forever – it lasts only short period of time. Just wait and watch!

    December 11, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. Bryan, Firestone, CO

    Consider:

    his infamous speech playing on YouTube, where he says, "what do you want, to raise this tax or that tax or that tax? I'm ok with that".

    And pardons:
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20071210/D8TEKRSO1.html
    Huckabee has had twice as many pardons as his 3 predecessors combined? Combined! If a pastor had a good word for someone, he says, "if you want me to pardon someone, I'll pardon. Sure. No problem." Since when have pastors had the qualifications to assess whether someone was ready to leave jail?

    Now the Cuba embargo – changing his mind based on lobbying.

    So everyone jumping on the Huckabee bandwagon is willing to give this guy the job of POTUS? Please America. Huckabee is a nice guy, but he's not the one we need for president.

    As POTUS, will he even stand up for something? What's this guy going to do in the face of lobbyists? Roll over and do whatever they ask him to do?

    December 11, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Joe, Florida

    I live in Miami, and I know Cubans both here and from the island.

    Believe me, the EMBARGO IS USELESS. Perhaps people should take a look at some photos from Cuba before supporting such an ignorant and malignant policy.

    December 12, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Chris C/S, CO

    The Huckster just proved he can't learn from his own mistakes!!

    He just wrote Bush again going off his nut about Iran!

    LMHO! Can you believe this twit!?

    December 15, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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