January 13th, 2008
05:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Huckabee spends Sunday behind the pulpit

Huckabee at a Michigan church Sunday.

Huckabee at a Michigan church Sunday.

(CNN) - As evangelicals mobilize for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor is bristling at suggestions his political success in South Carolina depends on people of faith.

"I don't think it’s just evangelicals. I think there is a strong support for me among evangelicals - at least I hope so - but I think there is also a strong support for me for people who want immigration to be addressed," he said Sunday, a day in which he addressed three church services in two states.

But he didn’t deny the potential political influence of the state’s ministers. Does he hope they’ll mobilize on his behalf? "Well, I just hope they don't mobilize against me, that's the first thing. Kind of like the Hippocratic oath, first do no harm,” he told reporters.

“The second thing, I mean, we would love for pastors... they can't mobilize, for example, from the pulpit, say ‘everybody, the bus leaves the church 8 a.m. on Saturday,’” he added. “It's a matter of urging them to use the influence they have to get their people out to vote. And I hope they will. Why wouldn't they?”

Huckabee has garnered overwhelming support from evangelicals, and his strongest showings in recent surveys have come in states with significant Christian conservative populations.

The former governor said he felt confident in South Carolina. “We really want to win here," he told reporters, before heading off to campaign events in Michigan. "To say we would be content with fourth place is not true, we wouldn't be, we want to win." But he also said that winning is not vital, as long as he continues to place at the top of the field.

The ordained Baptist minister had looked at home behind the pulpit at First Baptist Church North Spartanburg early Sunday, as he discussed his faith in God and spoke in detail about heaven. "You may be surprised the people you see in heaven, but they might be surprised to see you there as well," said Huckabee.

As Huckabee spoke, grassroots organizers across Michigan planned an ambitious day of evangelical outreach in advance of Tuesday’s primary, including phone trees by attendees of the state’s biggest churches and attention-grabbing events in church parking lots.

Evangelicals may make up as much as 40 percent of GOP primary voters in that state, according to a recent Detroit News poll. Huckabee is running behind Mitt Romney and John McCain there in surveys released this weekend.

Related video: Huckabee reprises preacher role

–CNN's Trisha Henry, Wes Little and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Michigan • Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. ike

    "It’s a matter of urging them to use the influence they have to get their people out to vote, and I hope they will. Why wouldn’t they?”

    This is why:

    A. It is border line illegal

    B. As the founding fathers said: It is unethical

    C. You haven't said why anyone should vote for you. "I am an average joe like you" really isn't much of a platform. Your only origional campaign idea is the Fair Tax, which in no way possible.

    So Mr. Huckabee why would anyone vote FOR you?

    January 13, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. John S. Maine

    Leave it Pastor Huckabee to continue his "Christian Leader Tour". I want a President who will respect the melting pot of America. That means loving Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Lutherans, Jehovahs Witnesses, Budhists, Muslims, Hindhus, Athiests and Agnostics. I am tired of Pastor Huckabee trying to fracture the spirit of America by his pulpit bashing of anyone different then him.

    I will be voting for Mitt Romney a uniter who can solve problems and loves all Americans.

    January 13, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Anyone who votes for this man, who has been nodding out for way too long on the Opiate of the People, will need God's help when they discover they're wasted their vote on a guy who can't even defeat a pathetic feel-good-about-diversity candidate like Hillary or Obama, both of whom are grossly inexperienced in managing anything other than their own grandiose ambitions to covert us to their takes-a-village social agenda.

    January 13, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  4. Jake, Brussels, BELGIUM

    "Why wouldn't they?"

    Is "state and federal law" a good enough answer or do you consider that a personal attack too, Mr. Huckabee?

    This is the same patronizing tactic employed by Democrats nationwide in black churches, but I can guarantee you the GOP will not get the same slack if Huckabee ends up on a ticket.

    January 13, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. I. Dern (Fairfax, Va)

    Huckabee seems to be a good honest man and a capable public servant.
    But the more I think about his candidacy, the more I think it would be exactly like Jimmy Carter was in 1976.

    Even though Carter was smart and savvy he was not a good president. Hopefully, Huckabee finds his niche but more and more I am convinced he is not best suited to be president.

    McCAIN 08!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  6. Tina

    I would vote for him just to hear four years of his humor – shallow, I know – but it helps that he is so strong on the issues I value .... strong national defense, strong immigration policy, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Israel and YES, a ban on smoking in workplaces. BTW: reports that Huckabee supports a nationwide ban are misleading. He does not believe cars, homes, restaurants should be subject to a ban, but does believe it needs to be implemented in all work places. I agree. Why should my rights be violated to give smokers the right to smoke? If they want to get lung cancer, let them do so in their homes and cars. Don't make me sit and breath death just because politicians are afraid to offend smokers. There's a nationwide ban on shooting people. What's wrong with a nationwide ban on cancer-causing smoke being blown in the faces of those who don't smoke. Mindless.

    January 13, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Patty D.

    Dear Lord,someone save us! Why must politicians invoke religion. As a non- participating Catholic I'm tired of it. What does this say about us in the eyes of the world?

    January 13, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. Vote08

    It seems that most evangelicals are like lemmings and will blindly follow their leaders off of a cliff. If only they could actually stop for a moment and look at the issues and then make a decision on their own without their supposed leaders telling them how to vote. If they did that they would soon realize that Huckabee will lead America "to the gates of Hell." Huckabee is a bigot, a liar, a hypocrite, and a thief.

    God gave us our free agency for a reason people. Use it to make the right choice, not a choice that will take this country back a few steps. I promise you we won't go to Hell for not choosing Huckabee, in fact we may as well be in Hell if we did, because that is where he'll take this country.

    January 13, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  9. MS Johnson City, TN

    So much for separation of Church and State!

    January 13, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  10. Ron Nebraska

    Ladies and gentlemen...........Preacher/President/Commander-in-Chief...............GOMER PYLE!

    January 13, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  11. curtis in WI

    So much for that pesky Constitution.......

    January 14, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  12. Crusify Huckabee

    Huckabee talks like he walks on water.

    Huckabee got slaughter in the last primary

    Lets see if his Campaign can be raised form the dead.

    I'm not a suckster for the Huckster.

    January 14, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  13. Bob Sadler

    Religion versus religion. Huckabee might as well be an Islamic extremist. The underlying premise of his campaigning in churches is against IRS regulations, and I hope the IRS investigates the churches who have illegally used their pulpits to mingle church with state. It's another one of his "I'm not the bad guy" talks. Can you imagine what would happen if Mitt Romney spoke in an LDS Regional Conference in Michigan or elsewhere, and mentioned his candidacy? It's unfortunate that Huckabee is practicing his priestcraft that he hopes to foist on to the American public en masse. Sounds like Ayotollah Khomeni when he bound Iran into the terrorist sponsoring state it now is and ruined a country that had great prospects. Ayotollah Huckabee? I don't think so. America's faith in God will keep that from happening.

    Romney '08!

    January 14, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  14. Gundy - Out west.

    This is a joke. I am christian and am offended by his assumed automatic support for people of his faith. If Mitt Romney pulled a stunt like this,,,, amen to his campaign. Talk about issues and supposed credentials – stay away from the pulpit!!

    January 14, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  15. Darryl

    This kind of ploy triggers my gag reflex. This is NOT the kind of political leader our founders envisioned–a preacher who can't leave his church out of his public life. I fear for the public lives, the freedoms and rights we assume are permanet, if such narrow-minded people as Huckabee make it into national office.

    January 14, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  16. nancy

    Is Gov. Huckabee campaigning as Commander-in-Chief or as Pastor -in-Chief?

    January 14, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  17. Nancy, Phoenix

    Are we electing a Pastor-in-chief or a Commander-in-chief????

    January 14, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  18. Milton

    So much for separation of church and state.

    January 14, 2008 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  19. Susan

    Excuse me – did any of you complain when Hillary "preached" from the pulpit? I've seen plenty of pictures of Obama preaching from church pulpits, also. I'm sure most of the candidates have been in churches across the country preaching.

    January 14, 2008 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  20. Isaac, Lexington MA

    Huckabee and McCain are as hypocritical as they get. "No, we're not going to be negative" ... what a joke. At least Romney has never said as much. Right after saying words to those effect, both Huckabee and McCain begin mailing attack pamphlets to SC residents. Huckabee should do what apparently he does best: stay behind the pulpit. And McCain should do what apparently he does best: get his military uniform back on. Neither one of these guys is 'complete' enough to become president.

    January 14, 2008 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  21. David, Oregon City

    Can John McCain pull conservatives together with his prior liberal voting record? Not a chance!

    Can Fred Thompson pull conservatives together with his prior record absent of him improving programs and systems that improved the every day lives of all Americans? No way!

    Can Mitt Romney buy the White House? Maybe!

    Avoid the elite media’s “Rush”, study Mike Huckabee’s real record, and support the “Huck” early!

    January 14, 2008 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  22. Leif

    why do so many people in this country fear religion? huckabee has stated many times that he has no intention of pushing his faith on anyone. I'm not christian, but I think that they are good people... relax folks.

    January 14, 2008 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  23. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Numerous gold stars awarded to Bob Sadler and the thoughtful people who posted after him ...

    If Mitt did this, kindly Preacher Mike would be wondering if Mormans believe Jesus and Satan are brothers and whipping his pastors into a frenzy about a "cult."

    Hypocrisy unlimited: Hucklebee so firmly believes in forgiveness, he pardons rapists and murders to go forth and do it again – then blames everyone but himself! In a dark sort of humor, he names the pheasants he killed after the top three Democrats ...

    There will be many here who point out why Preacher Mike is so unqualified to be president ... and a few who will whine that anyone against Mike is a religious bigot – and a few who will just say "I like Mike – because my pastor told me so."

    January 14, 2008 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  24. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Just what we need. Another right wing religous zealot in the white House. But like true "Chrisitans" none of them bother to examine his record of unethical behaviour. As long as you can spout the "Christian" line of hatred and bigotry, ethics dont matter.

    January 14, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  25. Chris, Middletown, CT

    A recent poll showed that the country (70% of them) consider themselves "moderate" – socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Nobody should be embarssed of their religion – but we need someone who will represent the melting pot known as the United States....someone who will speak for the 70% majority (and thats Democrats/Republicans and unaffiliated) – we need that moderate....and theres only one running...Giuliani (other than Ron Paul...who's really a LIbertarian...Giuliani is the only social liberal fiscal conservative)

    January 14, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
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