February 2nd, 2008
12:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Huckabee: Romney 'needs to step aside'

Huckabee and Romney have tangled often on the campaign trail this year.

Huckabee and Romney have tangled often on the campaign trail this year.

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (CNN) - White House hopeful Mike Huckabee denied the Republican presidential race had narrowed to two candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain, telling journalists at an Alabama campaign stop Saturday that “if anybody ought to be quitting, it's Mitt Romney.”

“John McCain hasn't suggested I step aside. So if Mitt Romney's going to engage me, which he has, then I feel like the engagement is on,” said the former Arkansas governor.

“…If I'm ahead of him in places like Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, then he needs to step aside and let me in fact be that conservative alternative than he says we need.”

Romney’s campaign spent much of the early voting season attacking many of his opponents, including Huckabee. And Huckabee has been a fierce critic of the former Massachusetts governor, regularly criticizing him in presidential primary debates and on the campaign trail.

In Huntsville Saturday, Huckabee dismissed the idea that John McCain was an “inevitable” Republican nominee, pointing to the fact that more than 90 percent of the GOP’s delegates were still unspoken for.

Huckabee, who began to focus on Bible Belt states like Alabama while his GOP rivals were still battling for Florida, repeated recent comments that his campaign was setting its sights on a win there. “And frankly, I don't know of anyone that should win it more than me,” he said.

Most recent Alabama polls show Huckabee in second place there, behind John McCain and ahead of Mitt Romney, with just days to go until the state’s February 5 primary vote. The former Baptist minister is continuing his primary season pattern of making many of his campaign stops visits to local churches.

–CNN's Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report

Filed under: Alabama • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    the unspoken GOP's should vote for Hillary Clinton.

    February 2, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. greg

    I saw him speak this morning right off the University of Alabama campus. He's got a powerful message and I think is really going to surprise some folks on Tuesday.

    February 2, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Tom

    i hope you are right Greg. McCain scares me with too much guns, and very little butter. And as a father of a new Marine Corps Recruit, I can see McCain sending him to all kinds of places we shouldnt be sticking our noses. Romney is just a stuffed shirt. I ration campain dollars very carefully: Huckabee got mine this year.

    February 2, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. S. Hunt

    Let the voter's speak. Neither Romney nor Huckabee need to step aside. Super Tuesday will tell the story.

    February 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Wendy

    I may be heavily against the Republican Party, but in a race like this the Republicans REALLY need to stop fighting amongst eachothers if they want to have a chance....no one wants to hear a bunch of bickering....

    February 2, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Paul in New Roads La

    I'm a pretty liberal guy (at least I think I am) and am attracted to Obama's message of hope....but i have to say, that I really like the striaght talk I hear from Huckabee. So much so that I went to his web site and mmade a donation.... the contry needs people like Mike in the race!

    February 2, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Kate

    Huckabee makes me sick!!!

    February 2, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. D.J.

    He will overtake Romney on Super Tuesday in southern states.

    February 2, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. sharon zirn

    Well of course Huckabee is ahead of Romney in Alabama. One does not need to be a strategist to figure out why Huckabee would do well in Alabama.

    Huckabee is the spoiler.

    February 2, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. mary miller

    i did have respect for him, now i've lost all. he's putting his pettiness and ego ahead of what is best for the country.

    February 2, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  11. Karen, Vancouver, Canada

    They remind of some new cereal, different flakes with some extra nuts.

    February 2, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. zach

    I am loving this. I haven't seen Huckabee on the news circuit for quite a while. He had his 15 minutes and now he needs to let the viable candidates play. John Edwards had enough sense to see that he was getting in the way, I just wish Huckabee would realize the same thing. A vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain and if Huckabee were a true conservative he would realize that and step aside.

    February 2, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Voting Democrat

    If I wasn't voting Democrat this time around being that I'm a Republican, I would most likely vote for Mike Huckabee. He's a likeable person. However, at this stage of the game I think it's not going to happen for him.

    February 2, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. ???

    what do you mean by the expression "stuffed shirt"??

    February 2, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Angela

    At least with Huckabee, we don't have to vote for the "lesser of two evils". He brings character to the race and would be an outstanding president.

    February 2, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Chris

    I think democrats would love to go up against John, Mike or Mit. If any one of them gets the nod we will have a first in the white house. It's funny because people don't know that all the while those three are bickering the fourth candidate is picking up delegates they don't want.

    February 2, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. daveb

    I wish all states vote the same date, like in March... no more early states... then all the candidates would have a fair chance before any candidate drop out of the race. This would give a better picture of who is more popular and front runner for November general election.

    February 2, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Alan

    Huckabee is done and needs to drop out. The only votes he is going to get are from the conservatives who hate mormons. His policies are junk, his record stinks, and his kissing up to John McCain makes me want to throw up.

    February 2, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Michael

    This is a joke! Huckabee has absolutely no chance. How hard is it to see that he was a "one hit wonder" in Iowa. His performance in the debate was sad, always begging for more time and attention. It is time to step aside and let the real players play.

    February 2, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. ConspiracyTheorist

    Ron Paul is the only viable candidate.

    February 2, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. ne,pa

    A vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain.
    He's helping his buddy out with the hopes of a VP nod.

    February 2, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Melissa

    As a conservative republician, I am having a hard time deciding who to vote for. I wish WE (conservatives) had a candidate like Obama in the race that.offers change and hope and who is inspiring. Obama would be the perfect if he were pro-life. I guess thats my biggest issue with voting democrate. McCain scares me to much to vote for him. I consider myself a die-hard republican, but I'm just stumpt. Who knows I may have to cross the isle this November and vote democrate. Huckabee is the better of the three.

    February 2, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    What audacity!!

    February 2, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. Butch

    Ron Paul Is Hope Thanks

    February 2, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. ELB

    Huckabee should look at the delegate count. He is behind McCain and Romney. He was a one hit wonder and the south won't change that on Tuesday. He will get his home state but that is it. McCain and Romney are the only two with a ligitamate platform, and it will be them to the convention. Huckabee is the one who should go home.

    February 2, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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