September 8th, 2007
08:43 AM ET
13 years ago

Huckabee challenges Thompson

Thompson campaigned in Iowa Friday.

(CNN) - Critical of Fred Thompson's decision to skip Wednesday night's Republican debate, Mike Huckabee sent a letter to the newest contender for the GOP presidential nomination on Friday encouraging him to participate in a one-on-one debate.

“Senator, let’s lead by example and get the ball rolling,” Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, wrote Thompson.

Thompson, a former Tennessee senator, said in an interview on Fox News he would rather participate in a series of Lincoln-Douglas styled debates, where two candidates discuss a specific issue for at least an hour. Huckabee wrote to Thompson to "officially accept" his offer.

"I agree that what is needed is a real discussion by the candidates about their vision for the future of our country," Huckabee wrote.

On Thursday, Huckabee was critical of Thompson for skipping the debate and said he should have been shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the candidates.

"He has certainly sucked up a lot of the oxygen as it relates to media attention," the former Arkansas governor said in a conference call with reporters.

"I think it hurt him in New Hampshire, from the comments we've been hearing," Huckabee continued. "People don't like that he had an opportunity to launch his campaign in one of the early states where people take politics quite seriously.... and he chose not to do that."

Huckabee said Thompson's decision to enter the race won't affect his current campaign strategy, but he still went on to take a few subtle jabs at the former senator from Tennesee.

"It's not just that I've said conservative things,” Huckabee said. “I've done conservative things actually having run a government. I've never been a Washington lobbyist. I've never lobbied for an abortion rights group. If we want to compare authentic conservatism, I'll be happy to have not just my comments but my record compared to anybody who stood on that stage or anybody who didn't stand on that stage last night.

- CNN's Chris Welch and Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Bill Arrott Jr, Cookeville, TN

    Huckabee has thrown down the gauntlet. I hope Fred picks it up and slaps him in the face with it!

    Fred said on Jay Leno, "Nobody declares before Labor Day."

    The time has come.

    September 8, 2007 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  2. Rev JJ

    Give up guys. Oprah is da man, kingmaker, and outed. Couldn't find a single white candidate better than Obama! Will wonders never cease.

    September 8, 2007 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  3. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    That would be very funny,can CNN air that debate?Two regressive simpletons discussing vision would make a years fodder for the daily show!Maybe they can armwrestle to see whose imaginary man in the sky is greater.Core values?More like rotten to the core.Great comedic value though.

    September 8, 2007 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  4. Terrance, Florida

    The link in the article is bad (surprise surprise) its mike.huckabee.html not mike.hukabeehtml. I hope your reporters aren't doing your website coding now.

    September 8, 2007 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  5. Keith, Omaha, Nebraska

    Huckabee would destroy Thompson.

    September 8, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  6. H. D. Schmidt, Loma Linda, Ca.

    Was the Lincoln dialogue with a guy of the same party my I ask these two Republicans? Besides, in my book and as a Staunch Conservative Christian Republican, neither one of them is truly speaking for the Founding Fathers, as Ron Paul does! I have no use for any other one, but Ron Paul is my candidate, period! America was not made for wars as now is the case. There is Mr. Oliver North, the furious preacher about war, like the most fervent preacher! How sickening that should be to the American people, especially the Christians. Yet, sadly they are some of the most fervent supporters of Goerge W.'s stupid war, the President that claimed Jesus as his hero. One can only wonder how pleased his hero might be, everytime he opens his mouth to speak? George W. what is your answer?

    September 8, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  7. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    A debate between Huckabee and Thompson?

    September 8, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. John, Cleveland, OH

    Throw ron paul into the mix and then you will have a real debate. Until then, it's just going to be more of the same neo-con garbage.

    September 8, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Sharon, Littleton, Colorado

    Shawnee Cannon – I agree that a Huckabee/Thompson debate would be a real snorefest!

    As for Thompson, I suspect that he really IS as lazy as he is reputed to be and he's arrogant to boot. He surely knows that the Lincoln/Douglas debates were between the ONLY two candidates who were running for president and the winner took all. Thompson doesn't have the Republican nomination and there will be plenty of opportunities for him to participate in Lincoln/Douglas-style debates with the democratic nominee if he gets it. Thompson has set himself above the other candidates in the GOP field and doesn't seem to feel that he needs to work hard to secure the nomination.

    From what I've heard about this man and his rhetoric, I think he's just more of the same load of crap that the lazy "W" has been offering up for the past six years! What a blowhard!

    September 8, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Dale Fitzpatrick, Hamilton MA

    You can add your signature to Mike Huckabee's letter here

    Fred is afraid to debate- no matter what the format

    September 8, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Randy Hurst San Francisco, California 94121

    Freddie has announced–clunk, clunk.

    September 8, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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    September 8, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Rev JJ

    Ron Paul? Just another guy from Texas with the initials RP, but no charts this time. An intellectually bankrupt anarchist is not the answer to America's problems (that's America...not the United States alone). Creating a killing zone along the United States' southern border? Letting just anyone get on an airplane with your mother? Eliminating all regulation of transportation on the interstate system in order to allow seemi-literate Mexican truck drivers to surround your wife's GEO? Come on, people, you may hate the Iraq war and want us out NOW, NOW, NOW, but please analyze the rest of what he advocates a little more carefully.

    September 8, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Loyda, WDC

    how about we expand it: a debate for the "other" candidates – all of those who are NOT the 'established' so-called-frunt-runners....

    lets – for once – here what the rest have to say, since we all know the script of Hillary, Obama, Edward, Romney, McCain and Rudy....

    September 8, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. James, Atlanta GA

    Huckabee won't debate Ron Paul one on one because he knows he will get schooled by Dr. Paul.

    September 9, 2007 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  16. Sean Beaverton, OR

    Ummm Loyda darling, did you read the article? This is Huckabee calling on Thompson... none of the people you just mentioned are a part of this...???

    September 9, 2007 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  17. pete Denver Co

    Good move on Huckabee's part. Since no one cares about his candidacy, why not get some limelight from a real contender. Sorry, Huck, it won't work no matter what you do. Nice guy, but cannot win. Leave Thompson to his victory lap alone, OK?

    September 9, 2007 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  18. Kevin, Dayton OH

    Fred has Flopped on his Position and rejects! Read about it here! From what I see Fred is trying to escape something...

    September 12, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
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