January 9th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
1 year ago

Huckabee heads back to Southern turf

ALT TEXT
The Huckabee's are headed to South Carolina after a third place showing in New Hampshire (Photo Credit: AP)

GREENVILLE, South Carolina (CNN) – As his wife Janet poured Chick-Fil-A iced tea for staff and reporters on board, Mike Huckabee flew into friendly Southern territory the morning after his third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary.

The former Arkansas governor is now hoping for his second big win of the primary season in South Carolina, where the ordained Baptist minister is counting on his evangelical voting base to seal his win in a crowded GOP field of competitive candidates, including John McCain, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney.

Huckabee told bleary-eyed reporters on a chartered Express Jet flight from Manchester to Columbia, South Carolina that he’s ready to deal with South Carolina's mud-slinging reputation, and likely attacks on his tax and immigration record. "I've always said I reserve the right to get the truth out about my record," he said. (Video: Huckabee speaks in South Carolina Wednesday)

In what could ultimately be a tight race against a rejuvenated McCain in South Carolina, Huckabee emphasized there is a "genuinely mutual respect" and that he doesn't anticipate taking the gloves off, unless McCain takes them off first.

He claimed he's not worried about McCain's superior record on military and foreign policy matters. "You know the idea that, you know, he's got more experience. Ask Joe Biden and Chris Dodd what that did for them.”

The makeup of Huckabee's bare-bones South Carolina organization is much like his winning Iowa infrastructure: a handful of staffers, a band of loyal volunteers, and thousands of evangelical Christians.

Huckabee, who said he has gained ten or twelve pounds during the campaign, thinks that message overwhelms organization, even against McCain, a veteran of political warfare here who boasts more endorsements in South Carolina than any candidate.

McCain lost South Carolina’s 2000 presidential primary to George W. Bush.

Authenticity matters, Huckabee said, which is why Hillary Clinton's close-to-tearful moment in a New Hampshire diner on Monday contributed to her stunning comeback in the Democratic primary. Huckabee said it "cut her some slack."

"I'm maybe one of the few people who saw it as what it was, a very in the moment thing. I think people want their leaders to show that they are human. They're not so robotic and so programmed that they are devoid of any emotion," he said Wednesday.

After Huckabee finished his comments, his wife Janet once again worked the aisles, asking for recommendations from journalists on whether she should buy a Mac or PC. She currently has a Dell.

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Porter

    I thought he played bass... but he's carrying a 6-string. Flip-flopper!!!!

    January 9, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  2. Jay Bee, USA

    Fair Tax, LA. said "Bye Bye IRS".

    Huckabee is right, NOT. Get rid of the IRS – let's go ahead and fire 115,000 federal employees and the hundreds of thousands of Americans with their small businesses that supply tax services to indivdiuals, not to mention the high school students dancing on the street corners in Lady Liberty Costumes every April. Get rid of it and give Congress a simple tax dial.

    No muddling through to get tax increases, simply turn the dial higher.
    Year one 23%, year two 25%, year three 32%.
    There are not enough checks and balances for the, so called, Fair Tax.

    That is a SMRT economic policy for America – vote Huckabee for a vibrant economy heading into a recession. His tax policy alone will bring down the house.

    Firing 115,000 federal employees would be a huge mistake, the US economy only created 43,000 jobs in November of 2007.

    January 9, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  3. jacque bauer

    Slick tongued liberal politicians from Hope, Arkansas that pretend to be rock stars scare the hell out of me – haven't we had enough of them already? (And who is that hot looking groupie?!).

    Just remember what usually happens to charlatan preachers that sound charming and are irresistible to the sheeple.

    January 9, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  4. issa

    There are so many Christian haters here. If you don't like him don't vote for him and shut up.

    January 10, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  5. Ian, Eastham MA

    The Fair Tax plan has a few problems. First, it does nothing to stop our out of control federal government spending, it just changes the tax mechanism.

    Second, a pure consumption tax would be regressive. It would hurt those who must spend 100% of their income to live and those are the poor folks and those on fixed incomes (retired folks).

    So, to make the Fair Tax non-regressive, we'll have to start making some things tax exempt. So what gets exempt? Where do we draw the line? I can't wait to see the special interest lobbyist pushing their agenda in this new tax structure. Big Agri, Big Pharma, Big Auto, and others will all be looking to make their products tax exempt.

    Why do bank robbers rob banks? Because that's where the money is. Get the money out of DC and special interest lobbyist will scatter. Anyone call a federal agency lately? No, I didn't think so.

    Really, there's only one tax that's fair to people of all income levels, and that's no tax! Yes, our federal government has other revenue sources than those applied directly to it's citizens. If we can reduce our federal budget to Y2K levels, then we can live without the income tax and replace it with nothing. Of course we can't send billions in aid to Israel, the Arab states around Israel, Pakistan, and rich countries in Europe and Asia. Never did get much return on those investments anyway.

    The most effective and efficient government is local government. Look at how much your state and local governments do for you. Then look at how little they take compared to the federal government.

    Ron Paul 2008

    January 10, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  6. lee

    Just thought this was interesting....Who the rest of the world would vote for... http://www.whowouldtheworldelect.com/

    January 10, 2008 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  7. Starin, Hungary

    Hey U.S.!
    You are the greatest country in this World! To be that in the future, please treat with your minorities well. If you won't, then your fate will be that Hungary's was at the early XX. century.
    The Huck has the answer for this problem – as I can see it from a so far Eastern-European country.
    Economic questions are not as important as immigration is. Pay attension to the minorities!

    January 10, 2008 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  8. Chip Celina OH

    The Texas Pretender wrote:

    Just like Huckabee..the guitar is NOT a Fender Strat but a cheap foreign imported imitation/clone of a Fender Strat…

    Gee, I know a lot of guys wirh imported Genuine Fender Strats! Fender started building Strats in Japan for a while when their operations here were in turmoil and then they opened a plant in Mexico that also produces Strats and both are fine instruments. Not quite up to the quality that comes from the Custom Shop, but nice guitars nonetheless.

    Maybe if our government didn't tax exports so heavily and then want to tax profits that return from foreign markets, we wouldn't have this 'offshore' phenomenon. A fair tax would be a good thing. I would certainly not mind paying 23% for consumables (especially after the prebate for my necessities food etc.) and receiving 33% more of my paycheck. I think that would be about a 10% raise. The government would then only get what I chose to send them through my purchases and consumption and would have to exercise some fiscal restraint. But, as we see with tax cuts, revenues actually increase because of more economic activity.

    January 10, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  9. william walsh col ohio

    all the good ol boys from the south, huh? cant recall any good canidate from any southern state,bunch of bible toting oil money buddies that play guitar, there 1800 thought processes, most still think we should have slaves,and disrespect there women, if were going into the future id rather have a yankee, hell they havent even herd of most of the things that are common in the north, the northern folk work smarter and harder, just got back from good ol boy country, yeh its still that way there,dont believe it? go down to alcoa,maryville tenn, thats the menality,of the south,, go home huckelbee, your politics as usual, maby start a band, get on american idle, anything but president, and take your southern buddies with ya,including your good ol bud gw, hey maby he could be your front man,with the way he flails his arms you could always be in the barnum and bailey circus!

    January 10, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. Independent in IA

    "According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the average Arkansas tax burden increased 47% over Huckabee’s tenure. Huckabee supported (in chronological order) a sales tax hike; gas and diesel fuel tax hikes; another sales tax hike; a cigarette tax hike; a nursing home bed tax; another sales tax hike; an income surcharge tax; a tobacco tax hike; taxes on Internet access; and higher beer taxes. Huckabee also oversaw a 50-percent increase in spending; happily signed a minimum wage increase and encouraged national Republicans to do the same; favors a national smoking ban, farm subsidies, and a federally mandated arts and music curriculum; opposes private school choice; and employs class-warfare and protectionist language on the campaign trail. Huckabee calls himself an economic conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan, but the above list doesn’t sound like either."

    Do a little research, voters, before you get behind this.....person. I have, and darn near got sick to my stomach.

    January 10, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. Jack K.

    He didn't go far enought south!!!

    How about campaiging in Juarez MX!! \

    They would love your bass playing with the local Mariachi band!!

    January 10, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Jason NYC

    We need someone to lead this country with the ability to reason and think through the issues at hand. We don't need someone who thinks things are true just because he want's them to be.

    January 10, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Casey

    I agree with Jaybee and Ian, the (un)FairTax has no checks and balances. I agree with Jaybee, the unemployment rate would skyrocket. We'd lose a whole tax industry. I agree with Ian, the government could continue raising the national sales tax with lines like "We need more money, so we're only going to increase it 1%." And then we'll have 24%, 25%, 26% and so on...no checks and balances. Besides, when you add state tax to the 23%, some people will pay 30-33% sales tax on an item.

    Take for example, a person making $10/hour. Gross is $400. A $200 trip to the grocery store could cost $260, leaving only $140 for other expenses for the week.

    I agree the current systems needs simplification, but at least you can control how much is taken from your pay check with your W-4 form. The (un)FairTax allows the government to dictate the percentage. The last time I looked we lived in the USA, not the USSR.

    The (un)FairTax will send us into the biggest recession in history...my opinion.

    January 10, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Steve Pinkston, GA

    Hey Texas Prentender, SHUT UP!!!!

    Huckabee can play any instrument he wants to. This is a America. He plays because he loves music not because he is trying get you to buy a fender. I have Fenders and many custom guitars As for American made products MOST of Fender's products are made OUT of the USA. IN fact most of the stuff you have in your house is not even made in the USA. Sure I want to support the American economy as much as I can but do you honestly thing EVERY SINGLE BUYING DECISION has to made that way???!!!!!

    Wanna bet that towel hanger in your bathroom isn't made in China? Or how about the toaster in the kitchen, or the out-of-season peaches you had for lunch??

    Last time I checked this was a free country....... oops not anymore the socialists are fixing to take power. Kiss your freedom goodbye if you elect Bama, Billary or Edwards.......

    I like Huckabee because he is NOT rich and he seems like a nice guy. Not sure I am going to vote for him but I like him.

    January 10, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    issa: You posted " There are so many Christian haters here. If you don't like him don't vote for him and shut up." "Shut up?" How incredibly disrespectful and childish. First of all the brand of "Christians" who sit in judgment of others and use cherry picked portions of the Bible to justify their own hatred and bigotry have given others ample reason to dislike them. That type of "Christian", including Huckabee, have never shied at a chance to let their bigoted and hate filled views be known. You have used the media shamelessly to spew your venom against those whose views or lifestyle you disapprove. You have used any means available to you. So if people on these blogs wish to communicate their less than high regard for your views, I think that you can get a grip and deal with it. Or did you forget about turning the other cheek?

    January 10, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. terry

    Get Out And Support Clinton, In your Heart you know she's the most prepared, Anything to get that Knucklehead out of office

    January 10, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. WOODY

    LAST THING THIS COUNTRY NEEDS IS ANOTHER BIBLE BANGING WHACK JOB FROM THE SOUTH

    January 10, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. NewPatriot-Arizona

    " You anti-Christian bigots will have your day."

    January 10, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Brigitte

    I'm a Clinton supporter and could never agree with what Huckabee believes, but I did appreciate him coming out and telling the press to lay off Hillary. Everybody else is bashing her left and right.

    January 10, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Samantha

    So will you New Patriot. It’s not very Christian like to judge others! It's not that people are anti-Christian bigots; it's just that most people who call themselves Christians have a demeanor similar to yours.

    January 10, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  21. Steeler-Arizona

    I have never read so many ridiculous comments. No wonder our country is screwed up.

    January 11, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Clydene Bowen

    Will someone PLEASE offer Mike Huckabee some cheese with his whine!
    EVERY TIME he is confronted about his poor record as governer of Arkansas, he plays the poor picked on victim roll. He played the game with Fred Thompson last night at the Myrtle Beach S. C. debate. There seemes to be no end to his tool bag of tricks.
    Mike Huckabee is so verbally slippery , his dishonesty is so obviouse, so dishonest in his intentions. He is a con artist when it comes to dflecting the issues from from himself. I cant believe people dont see right through him!
    If his campaing is one of honesty as he so holier than thou claims, God help America!

    January 11, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Dena B.

    I agree!

    January 11, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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