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. Patrick

    Huckabee is too likable!

    February 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I agree that people should be able to vote for the candidate that the like provided the candidate is still running. Is it a "herd mentality?" That is the possiblity. In elections in the past, people have formed up around candidates that people like. Look at the Democrats; it was thought that Clinton was going to win, but Obama has created much in the way of momentum and support from a wide group. If Huckabee can do that and win the remaining delegates, he'll have a great bit of leverage over McCain since he hasn't won the 1191 delegates needed to win.

    February 15, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Matt Gerber

    If Mike can stop John from getting to 1191, it will go to a brokered convention and then all bets are off. More than once in history has a non-frontrunner gotten the selection in a brokered convention. Huckabee is not out of this.

    February 15, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. JR in TN

    The real deal is that the delegates can vote for whoever they want, and Romney's suport of McCain does not guarantee that his delegates will go to McCain at convention. Bottom line, Huckabee doesn't have to stand down if he doesn't want to. Everyone has discounted him from the beginning, and if you had asked anyone six months ago, no one would have ever imagined Huckabee would have come this far. Huckabee has every right, and he should, see where this goes. It's not over until it's over.

    If nothing else, he is now a figure head in the Republican party which will only help his political career in the future. He's the only candidate that I have felt I could get behind from the very beginning, because he doensn't make excuses or hide who he is and what he stands for. I'll vote McCain if he is our candidate after convention, but I'm still in Huck's Army until then.

    February 15, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Joe, Hell MI

    The Huckster is getting a little cash right now. Why not live the life of a rockstar? Huckster was nothing more than a niche candidate...sorry Huck, but you will not even be a VP candidate.

    Romney has done the right thing to get out of the race and help McCain fill his warchest for the general election.

    February 15, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. voting with pride, not jumping on bandwagon

    Political parties are like children. Sometimes you have to let them fall before they learn to pick themselves up. Republican party, you're on your own!

    I'm amazed at all the Romney supporters that forgot the evil doing McCain did a day or two before the Florida primary. He straight out lied about Romney's stance on setting dates for troop withdraw. He did it again not just to Romney, but to all of you at Reagan's Library. We all knew he was lying. You knew it and his face showed it. Now, you're all going to jump on the McCain bandwagon??

    Many people before us died fighting for what they believed in......we sit around flip flopping on our convictions because "THE" Party tells us to.

    I support Huckabee, but I have GREAT respect for Ron Paul supporters too. They never give up. They believe in something and they stand for something whether the majority takes them seriously or not. Ask yourself....what do YOU stand for? And then don't talk about it. Live it.

    February 15, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Daniel

    He's 10x the level of John McCain in the Public Speaking Dept. Huckabee is pushing for a win at a brokered convention, very similar to a caucus. Huckabee has always been favorable in caucuses, in debates/ public addressment, and is the more conservative of the two w/regards to his firmly held positions. The most conservative candidate, has won every time the contest has gone to a brokered convention.

    So he doesn't have to get 1191, he only has to take enough delegates away from McCain, to send it to GOP Convention. With only one winner take all state left at the polls, Huckabee is guaranteed to take atleast a share of the delegates in every other state.

    February 15, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. D

    you know, i like huck, he has a good point of view on the whole primary process. hes come this far why not continue. This give up mentality is why we face so many problems in our country today.

    February 15, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Zaac

    Hang in there Huckabee. The people deserve a choice. If Huckabee is not the Republican nominee, the Republicans can expect a landslide loss in November.

    Enough of this voting for the lesser of two evils.

    February 15, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. Nick

    Proving yet again that he is too stupid for the white house. He should go home and quit wasting his supporters money. I swear I have never seen the south swindled in an election like this before. Huckabee ruined the conservative coallition for this election by making people think with their pastor instead of the brains. The south is typically conservative, but yet they let the fiscal liberal get their votes. Very strange.

    February 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. HS

    It is true that he has the right to go on but when it is up to a point that he becomes the obstacle in unifying the party, he will be disliked. Romney did a smart move to endorse McCain at this point and by doing so, the party will praise him that he is the one in helping the party. No one will blame him if McCain loses in the general election. To Democrat, McCain is already the competitor in the general election and you can see both Hillary and Obama start to shoot at McCain. The GOP will soon jump to stand behind McCain once the attacks become heavier and Huck will be seen as a sinner by the party if he still runs against McCain.

    February 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. dynmann

    No Mark, America is not sick of the relgious right and I would ask you to apologize for such a bigoted remark. Anyway, keep it up Gov. Huckabee! We believe in you and see your committement as a sign that you are for the people and not for just status and politics like Mccain or Romney. I hope he runs it down to the white house. Go Huckabee!!!

    February 15, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. homjett

    Huckabee is running for Huckabee only, to increase his speaking engagements, an the money he gets per. Once a Preacher becomes a Politician, an has to lie, fabricate, a spend his supporters money for naught, he cannot go back to Preaching. He might be looking to get a job with MSNBC on the Morning Joe Show, which he seems to be a regular guest. McCain cannot take him on the Ticket, it would go down in flames, because McCain will win the States that Huckabee has won anyway. Besides, he doesn't need a "one liner jokster" as his VP. I hope Huckabee is successful in any thing his does, as long as its not in Government. The only reason Huckabee is still in the race, is because he gets all the free spots on most of the MSM news and cable shows. The Liberal MSM knows that he only hurts the Republicans, so they have him on. Also, as soon as he gets more delegates then Romney, he will bow out. That will be a tad late to improve his standing with the Conservatives.

    February 15, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Tom Wittmann


    You write:

    ""Huckabee could still be a write in vote, did anyone think of that? Or he could still run as an Independant candidate. Why should he get out of the race at all? This is the peoples choice not the medias!"

    Question No. 1: What race ?? Even if McCain has stil formally not won, with Romneys endorsement he is very close. But it is a fact that
    Huckabee has already LOST and therefore he is not racing against anybody. And this was the will of the American people

    Question No. 2: How you write in anybody if another has the majority
    of votes pledged to him ??


    February 15, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. TL

    He doesn't give up. That's an admirable quality for a Republican. In some ways, he seems like McCain. I wouldn't be surprised if Huckabee runs for the presidency again.
    He won't win this time, as the math is against him, but he doesn't simply drop out. He's in until the end, and that's admirable.

    February 15, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Chris Foote

    What do you all think about Romney running with McCain as Vice President?

    February 15, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Patrick

    Conservative Republican, as to what you wrote "The Republicans have made there will abundantly clear. His stubborn refusal to bow to their will does not accomplish anything but maintain the rift that McCain is trying to close."

    If you listen to what he's saying, his intent is not to cause a rift but to provide a CHOICE. He is trying to give people a voice to speak out regardless of how effective it will be. Personally I think it's a notable action on his part. There are more voices to the republican party than just those who sit in places of power.

    February 15, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Mark

    There is absolutely no reason for Governor Huckabee to drop out.

    The man has guts a Charisma! Apparently the the Republican Elite are terrified of him. He is a breath of fresh air, someone with honesty and integrity that can also communcate!

    February 15, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Dana - Phoenix

    Huckabee has the right to stay in as long as he feels compelled. There is not a reason in this world that he should cave to the media and party leaders.

    He won't accept a V.P. position for a candidate that has little chance of defeating the Democrats. He needs to begin the 2012 process.

    February 15, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. Jon Cruz

    I can't believe this web site is calling a candidate an "unabashed panderer" in the context of a news story. Where do news stories end and editorials begin?

    February 15, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. BM

    I voted for Huckabee because of his sincere moral grounding. I felt that he would be able to bring a lot of good discussion to the table either with Clinton or Obama even if he didn't win the general election. He came across in the debates better than any of the other candidates. Unfortunately, he didn't have the financial and political clout. Plus too many people are afraid of his unashamed faith.

    I believe on General Election day there will be not one red state in the union.

    February 15, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Dave, Houston, TX

    We all know why Huckabee hasn't dropped out: he can't win, but if something were to happen to McCain, he'd be the last man standing. McCain is old, so a health crisis is not completely impossible. Also, with his maverick "straight talk," it's not unreasonable for him to shoot himself in the foot with some loose comment, especially the more comfortable he gets, the more likely he's going to let something slip about himself or his true intentions that will cause a huge drop in support.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Huckabee has his buddy, Pat Robertson, organizing prayer groups to send curses to McCain.

    February 15, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. TrueIndependent

    This is what Democracy is.
    If you don't like it, move out of our country.

    February 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. max25

    Huckabee is a man of great integrity and his choice to stay in the race is very admirable. For all you idiots who say that him remaining in the race is "muddying the water," well, that is about as far from the truth as I have ever heard! Huckabee is a great candidate and deserves respect for what he has and will do. If Huckabee had the funds or the coverage time that McCain or Romney got in the beginning, I believe this would be a different race.

    I think it's obvious that I support Huckabee, but I am also a Rep. and will not waiver regardless of who the nominee is. We, as Rep., have to unite because the Dem. have and will continue to gain momentum from their slams on Bush etc.

    February 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Ed K.

    Huckabee is not a problem for the republican party. The Ann Colters and the Glenn Becks and the Christan Taliban is what makes most Americans turn up their nose at the party. Now would be a good time to show these radicals the door and bring some sense of pride back to the party. The world according to people like Ann Colter does not build a party. With the Dems giving the nod to Obama looks like your membership could go up and it would go up even more if you give these crazies the boot.

    February 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6