January 5th, 2008
10:00 PM ET
7 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. Phil Memphis, TN

    Romney couldn't take the heat. He acted like a spoiled child turning away, grinning, sticking his tongue out and having the gall, after the way he has run his campaign, to complain about "personal attacks" when his policies were questioned. He is phony.

    January 6, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Suzie

    I thought McCain in particular was disgraceful with his digs, snipes, and downright ugliness towards Romney. I also think Romney overall handled the attacks as gracefully as possible considering the number of attacks he had to fend, some of which he simply ignored.

    Of course to hear the pundits, Romney lost because he didn't get in a "cat fight" with McCain or Huckabee.

    I haven't been a Romney fan, but I think he made some awfully good points last night on illegal immigration. And he did tell the truth about McCain's immigration bill even thought McCain tried to lie his way out of it.

    Most of these candidates want illegal immigration. I see them all as law-breakers when they tout illegal immigration. There is no other way to see it. De law is de law. It's for everyone, not just for legal American citizens.

    January 6, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. John William

    Romney is a phony.... Does he honestly think that we can't see through him? He hired a company that employs illegal immigrants.... He knew about it and gave them a "second chance"....... And, had the audacity to pass off the blame on to his son's "incompetence".... You can't even run your own "sanctuary Mansion"..... What makes you think you can run the white house?

    January 6, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Chase Braun

    Good for Huckabee and McCain. The idea that Romney labels himself an agent of change is laughable as his record shows that he's the typical establishment candidate. It's about time somebody criticized Romney for being a flip-flopper. You can't run as a liberal to win the office of governor or senator, and then a few years later run for president as a conservative. Romney is as fake as they come. Who wants a president that you never know where they stand on the issues? Romney is the 'John Kerry' of the Republican Party. Since his early state strategy is falling apart, I'd say it's about time he dropped out already.

    January 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. J. Dean, Juno Beach, FLORIDA

    WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY JOHN McCAIN IS CONSIDERING HIMSELF A PRESIDENCIAL CANDADATE.
    IT WILL BE A GREAT NATIONAL TREGEDY IF J. McCAIN IS NOMINATED. HOWEVER HIS ELECTABILITY CHANCE ARE ZERO. IT SEEMS FOX NEWS MEDIA CHANGED GEARS FROM RUDY GIULIANI TO JOHN McCAIN. ANYHOW BOTH CHOICES, RUDY GIULIANI AND JOHN McCAIN, WERE AND ARE STILL DISASTERS.
    MITT ROMNEY, IS NOT MY CHOICE, HOWEVER ROMNEY'S PERSONALITY, CHARACTER, EXPERIENCES, HIS RELIGIOUS AND HIS FAMILY VALUES, THE WAY HE ANALYSES ISSUES AND IS INDEED OUTSTANDING ARE HIGHLY RESPECTED. OVERALL, ROMNEY IS A STRONG CANDIDATE.
    JOHN McCAIN'S ATTITUTE IS ALWAYS ANGER, FRUSTRATION AND ONLY TALKS. WE ALWAYS SEE McCAIN'S ANGER EVERYTIME HE IS UNDER PRESSURE AND CANNOT PROVIDE PROPER ANSWERS TO ALL QUESTIONS ASKED OR DIRECTED TO HIM. HIS CONDUCT ON SATURDAY'S DEBATE CONFIRMS THAT THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS MAN.
    WHILE BOTH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES WERE ACTING NORMAL RESPECTFUL EXCEPT RUDY GIULIANI AND JOHN McCAIN.
    WE ALREADY SUFFERED AND STILL ARE SUFFERING FOR THE LAST SEVEN YEARS. McCAIN AT 72 SHOULD RETIRE FROM THIS PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES TOGETHER WITH UNCLE RUDY AND ENJOY LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT.

    January 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Mario

    One is a washed up preacher (Hickupbee) the other a grmpy old man (McCain) who thinks the office of the president should be just given to him. Neither knows what he is talking about and would harm this country even more than it is already.

    You can't trust a washed up old preacher and a grumpy old man would forget where he is or forget to take his meds before he goes to bed.

    Go Mitt!!

    January 6, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Ananse

    For a moment I realized how deceptive the so-called " Man of God " Huckabee was. I believe he demonstrated how cheap politics has clouded his moral judgment.
    We the mass are no fools: We saw how together with McCain, they appeared envious of their better-funded rival, who is well placed across the states.
    I'm confident McCain will see another humiliation just like 2000.
    I will be here waiting to read their apologies, as it's been the case every time.

    January 6, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Tim T.

    Who's that trying to punch McCain in the photo, Romney? Maybe all of these guys should be put in a cage fight. The last one standing is the candidate. That's so Americana 2008.

    January 6, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Mike Allen

    Mitt has spent millions fo dollars from his billionaire fortune to attack McCain and Huckabee so I think I will not shed alligator tears if McCain takes a few pot shots at Mitt. But this race is much deeper than that. There is a true populist movement in America right now. The Democrats cannot lead minority groups to swear blind allegiance to the status quo just by makeing hollow promises of social programs that they know the country cannot pay for. Obama is living proof that Democrats are seizing new territory and an unknown but exciting future. The Republicans like wise can no longer coronate the new multi billionaire king and tell the working class Republicans to ignore the elites corporate cronies from sending good jobs over seas and that they should wait for the crumbs to fall from the super wealthy's table. Working class republicans are not ready to embrace the Dems socialist agenda but they definatly want a new face that truly represents the working man/woman. Americans want a democracy OF THE PEOPLE by the people and for the people. An Obama vs Huckabee race would restore true democracy to America and will be the most exciting race in decades. Let the best candidate win.

    January 6, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Midwesterner

    Good job Governor Huckabee! Keep exposing flip-flop-flip Mitt!

    January 6, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Andy

    I find it ironic that Huckabee would criticize Romney for his positions when Huckabee largely has no position on any issue except the bible!

    Talk to someone from Arkansas (like myself) and you will find very little to like about Huckabee. The conservative mask he has chosen to wear during his campaign is nearly a laughing matter.

    Still I hope Ron Paul, the only sound minded Republican, takes all of them out.

    January 6, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Henry, VA

    Snakeoil salesmen.

    January 6, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Paul

    Gundy, think buddy? I am a man who hates negative capaigns and attack ads, and all though I was not very happy seeing the two go after Romney, it was well deserved. Romney has led a campaign of negative personal attacks of lies and deception. He whines like a baby when someone brings up a past challenge, this was not a man I would want as my President, he reminds me of the kid that breaks the window with the baseball, hands the ball to his best friend and runs. No thanks you can keep Romney.

    January 6, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Nick Wilson, Richardson, TX

    Romney totally deserves it. He's spent the past three months viciously attacking anyone who even remotely challenged his lead, while making absurd claims about his own record. If Ronald Reagan was running, he'd attack him too, no doubt, for his immigration "weakness." This guy and Hillary both reek of "essence of politician."

    January 6, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Ben

    I thought this was a presidential election not recess in 3rd grade. Huckabee and McCain were very childish. I have never thought Huckabee was presidential material, given his record and too much religion in his campaign but I was on the fence between McCain and Romney before this debate. McCain definitely made my mind up for me acting the way he did. My vote is now for Romney.

    January 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. tiffany

    How can people not vote for Romney after watching the debates last night? Romney repeatedly endured personal attacks throughout the debate by his opponents and rather than respond with personal attacks, he focused on the issues. The candidates ganged up on Romney because he is indisputably and unequivocally the brightest and most articulate candidate. Yet they couldn't strike any concrete flaws because there simply are not any. While the other candidates focused on making jokes and discussing the need for change, Romney set forth plans and roadmaps to move forward with change. Any one who thinks Romney is just a rich mormon and would never vote for him because of it, is ignorant.

    January 6, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. sue

    lets not answer the real issues and lets avoid what we need to say. Oh and when you ask me something of substance and I can't answer I will just attack you personally. Real leadership in these two,, I hope they don't win no class and a poor representation of America.

    January 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. Patty D.

    Did anyone other than Ron Paul talk about serious domestic issues? Our dollar is declining, our infrastructures are crumbling, crime is rising, our educational system is failing, and yet, all thier debate chatter was mostly about terrorism. I'm tired of hearing the horrors of so-called socialize medecine. I will definitely be voting Democrat.

    January 6, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Bob

    Having seen the actual picture on CNN I think the actual picture of McCain, Huckabee, and Guliani looks most like Aunt Bea standing by while Goober Pyle (Gomer's Cousin) gets fighting instructions from Barney Fife. The only thing left for Huckabee is to spin off from the campaign right to he-ha like his predecessor.

    Seriously, how do any of these guys get away with attacking another candidate on issues. McCain has slid further to the left after loosing the nomination 8 years ago, Guiliani already is left, he is only running on 9/11 and a sketchy record as Mayor of NY, Huckabee is running on the bible and and even sketchier record as governor which he slid into when the previous governor got into trouble with his involvement with the previous governor (who by then was in the white house). Clinton and now Huckabee, when will Arkansas quit giving us its best and just keep them at home.

    Mike Huckabee for pastor of a mega church near you, or even just lead hymnal straightener. Just please not as the president of an entire nuclear capable country.

    January 6, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. A Baby Boomer for Obama

    Do you really believe that a man (Huckabee) who does not believe in evolution is going to be taken seriously by the people of the world especially the countries who America needs as Allies.

    Watching the Republican debate is like a flashback into the past, and watching McCain and Clinton embrace was the same thing.

    I have faith in the next generation and hope that people from 30-50 especially will realize that this is the time to act and bring America into the 21st century and away from the divisive, stalemated battleground in Washington

    January 6, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Marti San Diego, CA

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation. " Huh? I posted this before anyone else posted anything. Post this CNN.

    What a bunch of childish remarks!!! Goodness sakes! McCain and Huckabee, who have no record they're proud to talk about, were left to take immature personal swipes at Romney.

    Honestly, I am completely baffled that anyone can watch that debate tonight and not be (1) disgusted by the childish behavior of McCain and Huck (2) impressed by the composure of Romney under personal assault all night and (3) highly impressed by the clear, comprehensive, understandable, practical responses that Romney articulated on issue after issue.

    Can it be any clearer on health care? As Romney said, everyone else can talk and speculate about this plan or that plan, BUT HE HAS ALREADY DONE IT. He's *already* proven that he has the practical experience and the leadership ability to tackle and solve a large and complex problem.

    Just as he did with health care, he applied the same cadre of business experience and leadership ability to close the budget deficit in MA without raising taxes (something Huck wouldn't even dream of). He applied the same experience and leadership to turn around the financially distressed SLC Olympics.

    Wake up people! Please, please be honest with yourself and get past this issue of his religion. Get past these false charges of flip-flopping. Get past these false charges of his "attack ads". Contrast pieces are not attacks. If anything, they're free advertising for the other candidate if that person is proud of their record. Get past all that junk and recognize the incredible talent that Mitt will bring to Washington.

    VOTE ROMNEY – A *PROVEN* LEADER

    January 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Chris, Middletown, CT

    McCain – ineffective right wing – social and fiscal conservative

    Huckabee – a baptist minister – social and fiscal conservative

    Romney – a flip-flopping – once social liberal – now social and fiscal conservative

    70% of the country describe themselves as "moderate" – social liberal and fiscal conservative......(thats Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated) Theres only one candidate that fits that mold...and has a solid background – Giuliani (don't take marital or child rearing advice from him....and you will be golden)

    I'm a Republican – a moderate....if we cannot show the country that we are the first party to embrace a truly moderate candidate – I will vote for Obama....while he is a left wing candidate – we cannot embrace the Christian Minority anymore...the country has spoken...the MAJORITY is social liberal and fiscal conservative – the Dems are running all social and fiscal liberals...the other Republicans are social and fiscal conservatives....

    January 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. lee

    McCain is nasty and arrogant!
    He acted like the old fool he is last nite.
    He got his digs in and sat back smiling like a bully .
    If this man is elected it will be a third term Bush!

    January 6, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Matt, New York, New York

    Anyone who says McCain is "too mean" or a "bully"- you're right! McCain is the toughest, strongest candidate in the race. We're in a war against radicals and Islamic extremists. Do you want a nice guy who is going to be considered weak by our enemies? No, we need John McCain's candidness and strength.

    January 6, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. Richard, Ewing NJ

    A Baby Boomer for Obama,

    Huckabee never said he does not believe in evolution. You are putting words into his mouths and being very misleading. He was asked about evolution and creationism. He said he believes God created us all and that the two (evolution and God) do not have to be mutually exclusive (one or the other). That is the finest answer I heard from a Christian and I am an atheist. Maybe you need to know Charles Darwin is a religious man who happens to believe the existence of God and evolution. Albert Einstein is not religious but even he believe in a creator. His famous quote: "God does not roll dice." Most scientists are in fact religious and believe in a God or gods, but that does not exclude the facts that most also believe in evolution.

    January 6, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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