January 30th, 2008
10:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Schneider: The night's big winner: Huckabee

Huckabee, I think, stood out in this debate as the one who made sense, talked as ordinary people do, and rose above politics. They may have scored. He connected. And that’s a problem for Romney, who would like to become the alternative to John McCain among conservatives who oppose the Arizona senator. But he has very tough competition from Huckabee, who’s forcing people to re-think his run at a time when he was supposed to be out of the game.

But this has always been the way he’s worked: Romney uses money to stay competitive. Huckabee has debates.

Full story

- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. John William

    Huckabee's debate performance was spectacular. He nailed it !!!! I agree with the comments suggesting that this was by far the best republican debate. I cant believe I am saying this but "Romney's response to Mccain was masterful"..... Anderson Cooper was amazing (with the follow ups= basically brought out the best in Romney).

    January 30, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. Dave

    Did Schneider not realize there were 4 candidates present? One who actually is logic-guided rather than poll driven? No comment on Dr. Paul at all? – Oh thats right – they would have had to let him speak to be able to comment on his views intelligently.....

    January 30, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. Tom

    Word for word the debate goes to Ron Paul hands down. Who else wanted to hear more?

    January 30, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Todd

    Hi, Bill. Your 'moderator' never approved my last comment viz.
    "Shame on you CNN! This whole debate is a sham as well as this so-called 'blog.' From what I can tell, you are doing everything you can to marginalize Ron Paul. If this is true (which it most certainly is), then are you are guilty of trying to directly persuade public opinion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is not the role of the media. I am disgusted at the very prospect…"

    I would like your opinion. Thank you in advance.

    Best Regards,


    January 30, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  5. dan

    Dont be so critical of Huck ... he has some very Reagan like qualities...character matters...a good leader can set the tone ....it takes a team to win the fight....

    January 30, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. Mandy

    Mike Huckabee.....A genuine man, a man of integrity, a man with principles and who one will not falter in the face of darkness.

    His understanding of how decisions made at the top effect those at the bottom and how as president one must recognize that was inspiring.

    Romney is just a panderer. How can anyone can be so bold as to presume that Ronald Reagan would endorse him?

    McCain is a bumbler....can't form a good sentence if it came up and bit him in the butt!

    Ron Paul did well, but unfortunately he ran into the same problem as Mike...no time.

    My primary is over, but I will not stop supporting Mike Huckabee!

    January 30, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. Mitch

    Why can't any of the candidates answer questions that are addressed to them??

    January 30, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. FRANK


    January 30, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. doccochran

    Absolutely, it was Huckabee all the way. Why does it always seem like Mitt's answers are 30 minutes long? Huckabee is to the point from principal. I think he is the most positive force in the Republican party.

    January 30, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  10. Matt

    I personally will not vote for Paul but the way you people have sidelined a person with the best and original things to talk about is downright disgraeful.

    Paul has himself mentioned that he just intends knows that he may not win but he intends to keep the Republican on their toes – and wants to keep them from becoming free-spending big government politicians.

    Fine, dont give him too much time but at least give him some time! Give him the chance to hold others clamoring to be conservatives to fire – to evaluate them in the true spirit of the founding fathers.

    The man was there to do something selfless for the nation. Even he knows that he will not become a mainstream candidate. But he wasn't to left the level of debate and make it truely ideological – instead of the phony attempts to appeal to the broadest / most effective demographic.

    If nothing else, be respectful. The man is a sitting public representative and a respectable man. Today CNN was downright rude to him. Cutting him off and not giving him the chance to speak.

    Shame on you Anderson Cooper.

    January 30, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. Michael

    If Romney gets the nomination he loses the general election because he is pro war.

    Same with McCain.

    Same with Huckabee.

    If republicans really want to get into the white house, Ron Paul seems like their best chance.

    January 30, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. larry smith

    Mandy,,,,, The question was do you think Reagan would endorse you. Is he supposed to say no, I don't think he would. Get a clue, or at least pay attention before you critisize.

    January 30, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  13. Dave

    Ron Paul isn't being deliberately ignored or cut out of the debate. I was actually surprised how much airtime he was given. The Paulanistas need to realize that their candidate is failing not because of a media conspiracy, but because he is wrong on the issues, he is not qualified to serve as president, and the people of this country know it. Grow up!

    January 30, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  14. S Douglas

    Huckabee did win despite the handicap of limited air time. He is in it to win it, and he can win it. He is a strong conservative and the clear choice to lead America higher.

    January 30, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. chief John

    ....Your not mad at me...are you.?

    January 30, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I can only read so many of these posts on top of this article, Mr. Schneider. How could ANYONE think that Huckabee won this debate? The whole time he was flailing his arms begging for someone to pay attention to him. Finally, when he did get some airtime, he sounded unintelligent. You see, I am proficient in communications– I know that half of communicating and winning people over is simply having the ability to make it LOOK like you know what you're talking about. Huckabee has the confidence (however humble he wants to come across as) to make it look like he's informed. He's already bumbled and made SERIOUS mistakes when speaking (for instance, on Sharia law). Romney was so right: you don't stimulate a struggling economy proficiently and immediately by building a major highway. I desperately want a president who I can look to and feel secure in knowing he is more intelligent than most everyone that I know. Huckabee most certainly does not fall under that category. He may be a good man; he may have a good heart, but so does my next-door neighbor, so does my preacher. That does not mean my neighbor, nor my preacher, could be the leader of the free world. He has given it a good go, but it is time for Huckabee to let go.
    McCain was absolutely repugnant. I was repulsed by the smirk on face. He took a cheap shot at Romney by making a flat-out lie, and everyone knows it. And it's funny how he said something to the effect of: "it was you, Governor Romney, who set the tone for this campaign by running negative ads." NONE of the COMPARISONS Romney made in those ads were lies. As Romney said tonight, "facts are stubborn things." McCain flat-out lied, and that is the BIG difference.

    January 30, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  17. akaye

    Ron Paul wins EVERY debate. And you all know it. He is the only sane person on the stage. The others pretend our dollar is strong and that we're winning the war in Iraq.

    January 30, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  18. Shawn

    I agree. Huckabee won the debate despite the lack of time. He is elegant, honorable, and sincere. He is presidential and will make an awesome president! The moderators didn't do a good job in distributing the time and were even rude to Dr. Paul. Despite all of that, I think Gov Huckabee was able to show the qualities that will make him the best president we've had since Regan.

    January 30, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  19. chordchaser

    Mitt Romney and John McCain sparring about who said what, or if they said it at all, or what they meant by it if they said it, or if any of it adds up to one of them being less Republican, is a train wreck. But that's what the debate focused on, proving once again that the media can't resist a good train wreck.

    What you're pointing out is that despite this train wreck commanding CNN's attention, Mike Huckabee sounded a lot more sensible with the limited time he was given. Basically, he outperformed a train wreck. Good call.

    If, however, we ever begin to seriously talk about who understands economics and foreign policy, and has been right all along on these issues, and is being vindicated every day by the reality faced by real Americans, wouldn't we have to give the win to the one we dare not mention? The one who's statements and record cannot be turned into a train wreck?

    But that's not what this is all about, is it?

    January 31, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  20. Susie C

    Im a registered democrat. After tonight, Im changing parties Im voting HUCKABEE. Someone so straight forward and knowledgeable has got my vote!

    Go Huckabee!

    January 31, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  21. Mike B

    A lot of people never get a chance to see and hear Governor Huckabee. There is some good stuff on his web site and even more on youtube. Do a search for "best of Huckabee" on youtube.com
    I support Mike Huckabee as the best candidate in the race, and for the first time in my 45 year life – I contributed to a Presidential campaign.
    In fact that is what got my attention, almost every dollar of the money has been donated by individuals. Not PAC's and special interest groups. And guess what? His campaign is in the black – no debt. If a candidate can control his campaign spending maybe he can get Washington to control their spending.

    January 31, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  22. David

    I printed a 18 page transcript of the debate, and this is what I discovered:

    Page 1 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 2 – 5 RP lines.
    Page 3 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 4 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 5 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 6 – 7 RP lines.
    Page 7 – 10 RP lines.
    Page 8 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 9 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 10 – 2 RP lines.
    Page 11 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 12 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 13 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 14 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 15 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 16 – No Ron Paul.
    Page 17 – 25 RP lines.
    Page 18 – 9 RP lines.

    18 pages of CNN Debate with 4 Candidates...and 58 lines (approx. 3/4 of 1 page) by Ron Paul!!! Do the math! Who are these people? Who are they taking orders from? What right do they have to place a muzzle on a 10 term congressman, medical doctor, flight surgeon, and friend of Ronald Reagan??!! And at the Reagan Library!!! Ron Paul is in 4th. place out of an original field of 11...despite the MSM Blackout...but he is obviously not a "serious" candidate and has no chance of winning!!! Once again...just exactly who the heck are these people??!!

    January 31, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  23. Edward

    I have really lost my respect for the main street media. The Mccain-Romney show was such a joke. I don't know what it is about the media, but there are more than two canadates running, but you wouldn't know it by your coverage. Why didn't Anderson (Fair and Balanced) Cooper give equal time to all the canadates? Why do we need to hear and hour and a half of talking heads analyze the debate when we could have heard more from (each of the canadates) of their own opinions and let the American people decide who to vote for and not try to force feed us your two crowned front runners. The smirk on Romney and Mccains face when Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee were speaking made me want to gag. Both of them are liberals and nothing in Washington is going to change if either one of them is elected. The unfair media coverage you have given Ron Paul will come back to haunt you. He is the only canadate with real ideals and his message will get out. Thank God for the internet, a vehicle you can't control or suppress. Once Huckabee drops out after super Tuesday, there will be only 3 candates left and Ron Paul will be there in November. Go RON PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 31, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  24. Sheila

    I had submitted a number of comments but I didn't see even one of them in your "118" comments. Now I know that there must have been a lot more than only 118. It makes me wonder how many you have erased. Yes, Huckabee did well because you finally allowed him to speak, but Ron Paul did even better but you said nothing about that.

    January 31, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  25. Roman

    if you spill wine on an expensive rug, it's probably a better idea to figure out a way to clean it up instead of arguing over who spilled it. Let's solve problems.

    Ron Paul 2008

    January 31, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
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