February 15th, 2008
06:35 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain's Romney endorsement doesn’t faze Huckabee

Huckabee: McCain ‘hasn’t won yet’

Huckabee: McCain ‘hasn’t won yet’

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (CNN) – If Mitt Romney’s endorsement of John McCain did anything to dampen Mike Huckabee’s desire to stay in this race, it didn’t show.

“I think still the Republican Party ought to be big enough to have the debate, the discussion and an election. I’m not just willing to be part of the coronation yet,” Huckabee told CNN Thursday. “If we have a battle and [McCain] wins, he wins. But he hasn’t won yet so I just think it’s a little bit premature to go ahead and slice the cake when you haven’t had the wedding yet.”

Huckabee described McCain’s growing support as “a ‘me too’ herd mentality.” “There's a lot of folks in the establishment of the party now not wanting to be left out,” he told reporters.

“But what I'm concerned about is that there are a whole lot of people out here in middle America who are feeling left out. They're feeling their votes aren't even going to be counted.”

Huckabee repeatedly points out that Republicans will have to win the states he’s won to keep the White House. He then ticks off the big states McCain has won primaries in that are typically Democratic strongholds in the general election.

By the time Wisconsin holds its primary on Tuesday, Huckabee will have spent six days campaigning in the state. In just the first two days he has become an unabashed panderer, regaling crowds with a story (sort of) about singing the national anthem at Lambeau Field and promising them he’ll put on a famed Cheesehead if they carry him to victory.

At his second to last stop of the day, a local television reporter asked if the difference between a victory or a loss on Tuesday were to hinge on putting on a Green Bay Packer tie, would he do it? “Absolutely,” grinned Huckabee, taking the tie from the reporter and tossing the green one he’d been wearing all day to wife Janet. He then successfully tied on the new tie without a mirror in front laughing reporters and a bank of cameras.

Seconds after Huckabee left the room, an aide rushed back in to return the reporter’s tie, a gift from his grandparents.

- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt

Filed under: John McCain • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Sam

    He obviously doesnt understand the primary system. He's worried about people in middle america and their votes not being counted? Mike that happens in every single election. I remember in 2000 when I wanted to vote for McCain but Bush won the primary election before it even got to my state. That happens every time and yeah people get left out. If they wanted to fix the problem they should just make a national primary day in January or February and settle it in a general election. Then there would be no front runners and people couldn't jump on the bandwagon of the guy whos winning. The current system really is stupid and looks more like a ball game than an election.

    God Bless America!

    February 15, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. Zach G.

    He shouldn't go away. I still want to vote for him in Texas. I don't want to vote for McCain until I have no other republican options. If he's bothering you for some reason, grow up and learn how to deal with competition.

    February 15, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. John

    He is making himself look like a fool. Even with Romney out of the picture, he still finished with more delegates that what Huckabee currently has. The guy is starting to annoy me. He doesn't stand a chance against any of the two democrates running. He will get eaten alive.

    February 15, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  4. Katherine

    I am not a Republican, but I think Sen McCain should be thanking Gov Huckabee for staying in the race. If Huckabee drops out, there's nothing on the Republican side for the media to cover and the Republican campaign would fade from the news cycles entirely.

    February 15, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  5. Jonathan, Florida

    Ummm.....McCain does not automattically get Romney's delegates.

    If Huckabee wins Texas and Ohio. Boy that would shift the issue!

    February 15, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. RightSmart

    1) If Huckabee is truly a non-factor in the GOP race to the nomination, then why does it matter at all if he stays in or not?

    2) In reality, Huckabee has a very loyal base of support among evangelicals, and growing support among all conservatives who distrust McCain's record. a) MikeHuckabee.com is pulling greater traffic than McCain's campaign website. b) Contributions keep coming in. c) Hundreds of supporters gathered at campaign stops in Virginia, Maryland, and now Wisconsin.

    Who are the Talking Heads to pronounce that Huckabee should throw in the towel in spite of this support?

    February 15, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. Doug

    McCain still does not have 1,191 delegates. Huckabee said he would stay in the race until someone had that many (it would be nice if it was him). Now he is keeping his word. Imagine that, a politician who keeps his word.

    This is the candidate we should all be voting for!!!

    February 15, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Tom Wittmann

    Mr. Huckabee

    I had supported your attitude until now.

    But after the endorsement by Romney it seems that your position to continue in the primaries seems to be damaging for the GOP by distracting money and resources otherwise used for the General Election to this useless internal fighting.
    This will certainly not improve your possibilities to ensure you a position in a future McCain administration !!

    People I am speaking see your attitude as a bitter reaction because
    Romney didn't endorse you or at least stayed neutral and that you want to show that in spite this you continue to have some support, for
    your self-satisfaction. I HOPE THEY ARE WRONG !!

    I also hope that after next Tuesday, where you will jointly with PAUL play the role of the gatherer of the symbolic protester votes, you will do the right think for yourself and withdraw !!!


    February 15, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  9. Jon

    The phrase "unabashed panderer" sounds just a tad bit biased as does the way you chose to spin the neck tie thing. Hillary and Obama play the crowds the same way but nobody bats an eye.

    Huckabee isn't bothering me or the folks in the states that picked him over Romney or McCain and the also-rans. He has carried a number of states. To that end, Huckabee raises valid points about the states needed to carry the final election.

    February 15, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. JG

    It is not a coronation when there is a primary season that last months and the candidate outlast multiple highly funded and viable candidates. Huckabee is now making himself look like a fool. it's a shame, because I kind of like the guy.

    February 15, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Stellar

    Thanks for the great picture of Mike and for continued reporting. Your stuff on Huckabee is the most fair and honest I've seen on any network. I think for the future of the Republican party it is important not to throw away a vote on McCain. Some of us have the larger picture in mind. Life is long, political cycles come and go. Selling out isn't the way to go. Also, Huckabee isn't McCain's problem; it's those million voters who voted for him......

    February 15, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. Laurie

    Mike has a great point, and I haven't got to vote yet either. I am sure the people of Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, Nebraska, Mississippi, N. Carolina, Hawaii, Vermont and others are with me on that. I want to right to VOTE about this. I don't like McCain and all the corruption that he stands for, so I want to have my say about this. Furthermore, the majority of delegates left to be selected are from states that are more likely to support Mike than McCain, so there is a very real chance that he can bring it to a brokered convention. The MSM and the Republican Party are so afraid of Mike that they have tried to shut him down at every turn. While everyone else is talking about change, he actually represents it, and that scares the establishment.

    February 15, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Huckfan

    Huckabee you're a fighter. Fight till the end!!!

    February 15, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. Voice of Reason

    Be warned: If the Republican race is over, all the news shifts to the Democrats until September, which is a little late to make a case for the November election. Huckabee in the race means Republican values will continue to be heard all Spring long.

    February 15, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Melissa MO

    I am glad he is staying in!. He has every right to. This is America you know.

    February 15, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. CM in MN

    The more Huckabee stays in the race, the more he can continue to charge higher fees for speaking engagements. It's quite brilliant, really.

    February 15, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. CC

    Huckabee is trying to get a job somewhere...., talking, talking, talking....maybe it's talk radio. He's good at it. But he's also good at pandering, whining about ANYONE who has made $$ (whether working in the free market as has Romney, or in the government! Of course, he's gotten many paychecks in politics, too, as well as preaching for hire. So...why does he "whine" all of the time? He says it's about people having a choice......He took away my choice when he threw out the shrewd "alert" to his type of Christian.....those who have been brainwashed to be afraid and even hate Mormons and he and his evangelical preachers sent out the message to vote for "one of them". (HOW IS IT that those churches retain their tax exempt status when some are soooooooo vocal about politics?!?!!)

    My opinion....Huck is in it for HIMSELF more than for the voters and AMERICA!

    February 15, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. lcarr

    Mike Huckabee is a real cutie!!

    February 15, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. Pete

    Time to wrap it up Huck.

    Be honest with yourself and the nation.


    February 15, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. AJ, IL

    Stay in the race Huckabee! You are right! The Republican nominee has to have 1191 delegates. Dropping out now will give you no chance at the nomination. Forget about mathematics, you don't know what can happen between now and the Republican convention. McCain is an old guy. His mother seems to have aged well (at 95), but his dad died at 70.

    February 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. Kaptkarl

    Huck, It's time to unite the Party.

    February 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. No need to quit

    Seriously, there's no reason for Mike to quit. He isn't hurting McCain or the GOP – mainstream media nonsence. These are the priamaries and neither party has crowned a winner yet.

    Huckabee probably has two main goals at this point...

    1. Gain enough delegates to make him second place in total delegate count (this must happen before McCain reaches the magic number).

    2. Continue to get this name in the news and media. If he wants to compete in 2012, he has to establish himself now.

    I guess my point is that if Mike Huckabee continues to do better than expected, it is not hurting his reputation or status in the GOP.

    February 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. Dusacre

    Huckabee is a good man. He has the right to keep campaigning until the end.

    February 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. Tony, Memphis TN

    With that 'coronation' comment he lost any shot for VP; a good thing in my opinion. Probably going to be McCain/Romney... Now if Obama could just knock Clinton out, and pick or drop a name for VP we can get this fight started...

    February 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. John

    It is not even impossible for Huckabee to win the nomination outright and preventing McCain from getting the required delegates is very doable.

    What's everyone so afraid of? Come on already, give the people a chance to vote. Why should a few large states (mostly blue anyway) who vote early be anymore important than Wisconsin, Texsas, Ohio, and all of the rest?

    February 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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