February 2nd, 2008
12:30 PM ET
7 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. alex

    ROMNEY is the best candidate. the man is over-qualified for the job- read his bio... and he has wonderful character

    February 2, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. Observer

    Huckabee has little $ to have his voice heard.

    February 2, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Jason

    Is it just me or does it look like McCain and Huckabee are working over the Republican ticket together? The only logical reason Huckabee is still in the race is to help McCain by taking votes.

    February 2, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. independent for Obama

    Huckabee performed very well in the debates and has come from the bottom once before. I think he will be a suprising contender in Super Tuesday.

    February 2, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. Margrit

    Yes, that's exactly what we want. McCain/ Huckabee (or vice versa)... then maybe the people will have a voice in an intelligent government for a change.

    February 2, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. ELB

    To Observer-
    If Huckabee had a voice worth hearing, people would pay to hear it. Sure Romney put lots of his own $$ into the campaign, but he came in without the name recognition that Rudy, McCain, Thompson, and the leading Democrats have. As people have heard his message, they too have contributed. But after all the free advertisement that Iowa got Huckabee, and the numerous debates, not to mention the easy access to his website, people are not opening up their wallets to hear more from him. Campaign money does not grow on trees, it comes from voters. As I said before, take a seat Huckabee.

    February 2, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. NIXON 4 MCAIN

    McCain is using the Nixon dirty trick strategy

    Hucabee is to peel off religous voters

    Huckabee should be above this but he is not, he has a backroom deal with McCain

    Backrrom deals are dirty

    February 2, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  8. HUCKABEE = MCAIN

    HUCKABEE IS MCCAIN LITTLE HELPER

    HUCK IS JUST THERE TO SLIT THE RELIGOUS VOTE SO IT DOESN'T COUNT

    February 2, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Robert

    Romney is by far the best candidate. Huckabee has no chance, and a vote for him is a vote Romney could have gotten. We all need Romney to win!

    February 3, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  10. Lori

    For all you Romneyites who think Huckabee is a spoiler, unlike Romney, Mike Huckabee has just as good of a chance at winning as Mitt, but he hasn't had the money to buy votes like Mitt has. If he had the money, this would be a hands-down race for him. His appeal is very broad-even including former Democrats and atheists. He is a voice of reason and common sense, while everyone else is trying to attack their opponents, he is talking about real issues-as in the last debate. He has no interest in making McCain the nominee, but in working to do what is best for our country. Recent polls have shown that most Huckabee supporter would be more likely to vote McCain than Romney, and that includes myself. I would never vote for a candidate who takes up whichever position seems best suited for the crowd he is trying to appeal to. Try another story.

    February 3, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  11. Tom

    So the bag of hat air is now a comedian who seems to think that as god's chosen candidate he is a better man for the job. I hate to tell yah but Huckabee has the worst odds of winning the white house because outside the Christian conservatives he doesn't have much support. Also his foreign knowledge is still lacking and we don't need someone learning on the job the recent history of the world and how things stand as well as someone who as just as likely as not to make stupid comments in regards to other countries.

    Lori,
    If you think it is possible to buy votes then your as big a fool as anyone else. Thanks to the conservative right someone who happens to be Mormon is going to have to spend more money in the hopes of overcoming the vast ignorance of those who believe what their preachers have told them about Mormonism instead of actually learning for themselves. Ignorance is bliss and you obviously have been letting others doing the thinking for you based on your views on Romney.

    February 3, 2008 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  12. Steve

    A delusional comment from a delusional man!! What else could you expect??

    February 3, 2008 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  13. GRACE, SUN CITY CENTER, FL

    THIS MAN IS A SMOOTH TALKER, WHO WOULD TURN THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE
    INTO A CHURCH. HE WOULD BE A PREACHER IN CHIEF. IT WOULD DIVIDE
    THE COUNTRY. WE NEED A MAN WITH GOOD VALUES AND JUDGMENT, WHO
    DOESN'T WEAR HIS RELIGION ON HIS SLEEVE... I VOTED FOR RON PAUL.

    February 3, 2008 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  14. Willy

    Go Mike. We need you to stop the democrat socilaist today! that includes McCain too.

    February 3, 2008 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  15. vic

    Let's wait for the Super Tuesday before judging Mike, I believe in miracles.... also in "lucky punch." Go Mike, forget the odds, reach for your dream!!

    February 3, 2008 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  16. Michael

    It is this hayseed, full of quasi religious anecdotes, who should step aside.

    February 3, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. Stace

    Huckabee is very sneaky and manipulative. Very smooth talker.

    February 3, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  18. Frank Lee

    Go Mike. We need you to stop the republican wackos today! that includes Romney too.

    February 3, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. Rebecca/ALABAMA

    HUCKABEE YOU NEED TO QUIT GIVING ROMNEY ADVICE. YOUR JEALOUSY IS OBVIOUS. I KNOW YOU ARE HOPING MCCAIN WILL MAKE YOU VP IF ELECTED, BUT THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. I HAVE LOST RESPECT FOR YOU NOW. HUCKABEE STAY OUT OF ROMNEY'S BUSINESS and go back to Arkansas.

    February 3, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. DB

    GO MIKE GO!!!!

    Mitt is a rich elite tool.

    February 3, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Steve C - Atlanta

    Huckabee needs to take a look at his own numbers and step aside himself. It is obvious that he is sucking up to McCain to get the GOP VP slot....it will be the only way he will get in the White House. I think even the conservative Republicans have discovered that evangelicals and running a country just don't mix. What ever happened to freedom of religeon.....what about all of the other non-evangelicals out there???? He and George W. should have their freedom to worship as they please....but they should not have the freedom to run OUR country based on these beliefs alone...

    February 3, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. matthew allen

    Huck needs to step aside he is a loser Romney 08

    February 3, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Bil TGH, Streamwood, IL

    Hey Mike!

    Fred held open the exit door for Rudy and now Rudy is holding it open for you.

    This Wednesday should be just right.

    February 3, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. BM

    Forget it. After seeing some anti-Huckabee talk I am definitely voting for Mike Huckabee on Super Tuesday. It's always the good guy whe gets shunned in this country. That's why were going to pot.

    February 3, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Alli

    It is obvious that Huckabee is staying in the race to take conservative votes from Romney, almost ensuring a victory for McCain.
    Huckabee is pratically kissing McCain's feet, probably in hopes that McCain will give him a nice job if he becomes President.

    February 3, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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