January 5th, 2008
10:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Huckabee, McCain go after Romney

McCain and Huckabee both have an interest in seeing Romney lose in New Hampshire Tuesday.

McCain and Huckabee both have an interest in seeing Romney lose in New Hampshire Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republicans John McCain and Mike Huckabee seemed to be working off the same playbook at Saturday's presidential debate, each hitting rival Mitt Romney for changing his position on key issues.

"Which one?" Huckabee interjected when Romney asked that he not try to characterize his position on the Iraq war.

"We disagree on a lot of issues, but I agree you are the candidate of change," McCain told Romney later in the debate, after the former Massachusetts governor said he was best able to change Washington.

Meanwhile, Romney's presidential campaign sent out press releases shortly after the comments attempting to show that Huckabee has changed his position on the troop surge in Iraq, and McCain has changed his stance on an amnesty policy.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John McCain • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Randy

    Huckabee looked good. Fred Thompson makes good points, I'm liking him better more and more. Guiliani dropping fast.

    January 6, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  2. j bower

    I thought McCain was very arrogant during the debate.
    I would not vote for him.
    After listening to his responses to the questions I felt that he cont. to have his own agenda.
    The American people want to end the war and stop illegal immigration.
    Do we want 4 more years of politics as usual, I think not.
    The republicans need to listen to us.
    It absolutely astounds me that anyone can say anything positive about the current president. He has divided this country and caused people all over the world to to view us as bullies. I was amazed that all the candidates praised Bush for his stance on terror. He will go down in history as the worst pres. this country has ever had.
    Although I have always voted republican, I can no longer do this.
    It is time for a change and I pray it is not too late!

    January 6, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  3. Desert Viking

    I like both McCain and Huckabee, but it is downright weird how they seem to have an agreement to burn Romney...is that legal? It certainly doesn't seem cricket...I can still see a mccain/ huckabee ticket being the best chance the repubs have, as it gives them a solid base of evangelicals that would be exceedingly loyal. Interesting...

    January 6, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  4. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    While the American economy goes down the sink and Wall Street plummets this year, it's so comforting to know that we have scores of narrow-minded paranoid dupes who are actively campaigning (especially in the South) against the Mormon candidate. It was the well-concerted effort by many Evangelical ministers in Iowa who thwarted the Romney campaign. We all know Pope Dobson was rooting for the Huckster from the beginning. He finally came out of the closet and is gloating about the "Christian' candidate. I'm just sure the Huckster will use his business savvy to mastermind our complex economy with his divinity degree from Oachita Baptist College. Then, he will deploy his cerebral army of has-beens, like Ric Flair (professional wrestler), Chuck Norris, etc., to sell scores of cheese wiz in the can, by the caseloads to the Chinese, so that they don't just dump their American dollars on the world market, as its value continue to tank. After all, Chuck will give them all a swift kick. Besides, I'm just sure the whole world will magically be charmed by the Gomer Pyle, with the smile and want to buy cloudy Arkansas diamonds at full price. Besides, we don't need no Wall Street elitists, right Huck. Just play the class warfare card. I'm just sure your Jesus would. South Carolina is next. Praise the Lord and stop the Mormon cultist, right?
    And furthermore, the Barney Frank crowd in Massachusetts is hell bent on getting revenge against Romney for his four years of conservatism in the bluest state in the Union. Frank probably called on the scores of jounalists from the Image Maker Machinery, in order to artifically prop up Mc Cain in New Hampshire from not only the newpapers, but to the television media as well, with the silly mantra, "the comeback kid". The forces of both the right wing anti-Mormon bigots and the left wing liberals are committed to stopping Mitt Romney. Romney may be the "rich" candidate, but he earned it and has also worked his gluteus maximus off the most, as well. He has also been the most positive of all candidates. His attacks against his opponents are sound and factual. Sounds like the American way to me. Trust me, once Romney gets bumped-out, the Image Maker Machinery will suddenly commence in drive-by journalism at those candidates they once artifically propped-up. Then, that will pave the way for the Democratic nominee. What a shame. Americans of conservative persuation will have primarily the bigoted wing of Evangelicans in Iowa, South Carolina and many other Bible Belt areas to blame. I know of several Evangelical friends who have already told me they too are discussted with them.

    January 6, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  5. Jimmy from colorado

    I think huckabee is honest and good person and i do believe he can win this election i like the guy so much.But one thing am not happy about him is the way he attacks Romney I think he needs to leave Romney alone the more he attacks Romney,the more people will get different view on Huckabee.I hope Huckabee will change and continue to be decent candidate.

    January 6, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  6. John

    Romney has changed his stance on several issues, but he openly admits it and says that he was wrong. I respect a man who can admit when he is wrong. That is the type of person I want in the Oval Office. Not someone like our current President who is not willing to stop and admit he has made a bad choice. Mitt Romney out weighs Huckabee and McCain on personal character, family values, moral leadership, economic intelligence and cross-party delegation. What I think he’s weak on is foreign policy. McCain, has great experience in this arena and would make an excellent member of Romney’s Cabinet.

    I would urge every involved American to forget the “Mormon thing” and give Romney a serious consideration as we make this very important decision.

    January 6, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  7. Rich

    McCain acted like a child during the debate...I lost a lot of respect for him today,

    January 6, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  8. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    Spare me, both are in bed with God.

    January 6, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  9. alan

    Bu-bye, Mitt!

    January 6, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  10. matt

    McCain and Huckabee both tried to attack the man who WILL get the nomination and the presidency–Mitt Romney. It's one thing to compare and contrast issues as, Governor Romney does (which the press loves to call "negative campaigning"), but it's another to question a person's integrity just to get some post-debate soundbites.

    Just for fun (not meant as an "attack")–here's something to ponder:
    If these attacks seemed orchestrated–maybe the connection is Mike Huckabee's wife, who interestingly is named Janet McCain. Anyone researched her genealogy lately?????

    Seriously though–Governor Romney is the only viable candidate who stands FIRM on illegal immigration, is truly conservative on lowering taxes, and will protect America and its economy. John McCain, Rudy Giulani, and Mike Huckabee all fail this important test in one regard or another!

    January 6, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  11. Rob

    John McCain is a dangerous man. I saw crazy in his eyes.

    January 6, 2008 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  12. Richard, Ewing NJ

    To Romney supporters,

    You all claimed that Romney had contrast ads in Iowa, while Huckabee had negative ads. Wake up! What Mitt Romney did to Huckabee in Iowa and tried to do to McCain is disgusting. You said Huckabee and McCain cannot take the heat. You said the mass media lied when they pointed out that it is your candidate who started the attack. Learn the history, accept the truth. Romney action is shameful and every "objective" persons know that. Which is why every GOP candidates Saturday can no longer silently watch these shameful acts. Guiliani, Thompson, McCain, Huckabee all criticized Romney for what he is: a flip-flopper Supporters of all the other candidates literally despise Romney. Maybe when one day you have regain your objectivity, you will realize and regret that you have all helped Romney in his unholy task.

    January 6, 2008 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  13. Gundy

    I used to have respect for those two men... Know I realize they are just as cheap and degrading and anyone.

    January 6, 2008 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  14. Gregory Wood

    Objectively analyzing the debate, I deduced Romney won on points, but certainly it was no knockout. Thompson and Paul accorded themselves reasonably well, excepting Thompson's barbs directed towards Romney. As for these incessant attacks, the remaining candidates looked sophomoric and their responses to questions were ambiguous at best. Romney and Paul made the greatest attempts to clarify positions with Thompson providing acute, but overly general, responses. Again, Romney wins on points earned by the strength of his arguments and his ability to withstand excessively childish behavior exhibited by his opponents, which was entirely directed towards him in an unnecessarily personal manner.

    January 6, 2008 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  15. Nate, Tallahassee, FL

    I thought Romney spoke very cogently and did a great job at staying clear-headed despite the onslaught from EVERYONE on stage. He defended himself without sounding overly defensive and sounded good on the issues and was one of the only candidates who stuck to the issues rather than stooping to personal attacks. Boy does it get old and just as all the dems love to attack Hillary, perhaps it's because Mitt's the candidate that everyone fears. In any case, I think if Huck won sympathy points in IA, Mitt deserves them this time around. McCain simply went too far and sounded like a schoolboy trying to pick a fight:

    January 6, 2008 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  16. Lori

    Huckabee and McCain are so NOT presidential.

    January 6, 2008 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  17. Harold Bishop, NH

    But wait...what's that I see on the horizon?!!

    Why it's high kicking Chuck Norris, Mike Huckabee's secretary of defense!


    January 6, 2008 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  18. Salem

    In response to John McCain's criticism of the pharmaceutical companies' part in blocking the American people's access to cheaper medicine from Canada, Willard Mitt Romney jumped all over McCain for “picking on the pharmaceutical companies” because, Willard Romney said, pharmaceutical companies do a lot of good and help the American people.

    I hope people will pay attention to what phony hypocrite Willard Mitt Romney said last night. I am not crazy about McCain, but he is a lot better than Willard.

    I would not vote for Willard Mitt Romney and I would not vote for the adulterous skirt chasing Giuliani. That guy Giuliani and his mistress turned wife have six marriages between them.

    January 6, 2008 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  19. WakeWashington

    The former Arkansas governor earned his Huckster nickname as well as a great YouTube moment of shame when he challenged Romney’s support of the troop surge during ABC’s New Hampshire debate.

    The YouTube clip shows exactly how dishonest Huckabee is. Two weeks after Romney issued a January 2007 press release supporting the surge; the Huckster does an interview deliberately distinguishing himself from other candidates by withholding support.

    In the Jan. 24, 2007 interview on MSNBC’s “Live,” Norah O’Donnell asks:

    “We have a Rudy Giuliani, who supports the president’s plan on Iraq. We have Governor Mitt Romney, who also supports a troop surge. How are you different from any of those candidates?”

    Huckabee: “Well, I’m not sure that I support the troop surge, if that surge has to come from our Guard and Reserve troops, which have really been overly stretched.”

    January 6, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  20. joe

    Those two men are eating their words. Hope americans will realize they can't better lead.

    January 6, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  21. Cole, Lexington MA

    McCain is jerko #1 in my book. Cheapshot after cheapshot. The guy is as arrogant as Bush and will be just as bad for the country. And him seeming to object to the fact that Romney has placed some of his own 'personal fortune' on the line in his campaign? What is that about? The real question should be, why hasn't McCain? The guy has his own 'personal fortune' by any one's standard. Romney has shown some personal sacrifice in his run for the White House, McCain has not.

    January 6, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  22. Tyrone

    Mitt Romney stayed about the fray, as the Huckster and McCain took their preplanned shots agianst the perceived front runner McCain.

    Rudy's game plan seems to be: hopefully nobody notices me for now and avoid any conflict until its time to roll east.

    The republicans seemed more relaxed than the Democrats who seem to be ion over their head, clearly Hillary is in panic mode.

    January 6, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  23. Mary


    McCain and Huckabee had every right to go after Romney at the debates. Romney has spent millions in Iowa and NH running negative ads against them. If Romney's going to dish it out, he better be ready to take it. McCain and Huckabee shouldn't just let Mitt run over them. There was nothing cheap or degrading about it.

    January 6, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  24. Mary


    Why did my previous comment need moderation? Nothing was changed from what I posted.

    January 6, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  25. Lisa

    Romney is the bully. He sure doesn't like taking what he gives out.

    January 6, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
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