October 26th, 2007
08:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee and McCain ask 'Where's everybody else?'

Huckabee called the rest of the Republican field 'the losers' for not showing up alongside him and McCain at an AARP-sponsored forum in Iowa.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Thursday night that he regrets the fact that he and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, were the only two Republican presidential candidates to show up at the AARP-sponsored 'Divided We Fail' forum held in Iowa.

"I think that frankly they're the losers for not being here," Huckabee told reporters following the forum. "I thought the format was the most refreshing we've had in this entire presidential campaign."

That format, which was originally planned as a standard debate, was re-configured as a town hall-style meeting with the two candidates after little response from others in the GOP field.

In his closing remarks on stage, McCain said, "Frankly I regret that the other candidates for president of the United States in the Republican Party are not here tonight because it would have been very valuable."

"The original plan," Huckabee added, "was that all of the eight Republican presidential candidates would be here, and as you can see only two of us were willing to come and face you. I don't know what they were afraid of–you've been an awfully nice group of people tonight."

"Senator, I don't know about you, but I think there's enough for people to choose from [with] just the two of us. Let's just keep it this way," Huckabee said to a round of applause.

The Democratic portion of the same forum held last month on the opposite side of the state included all major Democratic candidates except one.

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Iowa • John McCain • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Chuck, Chesapeake, VA

    Good for Huckabee! He is the only Republican candidate who understands that the President of the U.S. is president of all people, including retirees and people of color.

    On the other hand, McCain has no standing to criticize the rest of the Repubican field. After having been invited to Tavis Smiley's debate to address issues important to black and Hispanic voters in February 2007, he manufactured an excuse to thumb his nose and black and Hispanic voters and skip the debate in September 2007. Obviously, Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, and, yes, McCain will continue to draw lines and drive wedges among the classes, races, cultures, genders, ages, and religions of America.

    It is easy to understand why Huckabee stands out to objective observers. He is honest, transparent, and sincere about unifying a very divided and combative America. Admirable!

    October 26, 2007 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  2. Karen,nj

    Huckabee and McCain are so dumb to sit there when no one else showed. I think it was done on purpose to keep them out of the grown up candidates way. I enjoy watching McCain he commical.

    October 26, 2007 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  3. Kate, Aurora CO

    That was pretty ignorant for the other candidates not to show. It is a proven fact retirees make up a very large portion of voters. You would think the other candidates would have taken that into consideration.

    October 26, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. A conservative

    Hmm, the big spending, big government Huckabee smoozing it up with pro-immigration Mccain...

    Wasn't it just recently that Huckabee complained out the raid on ILLEGALS in his state?

    October 26, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Christian, Tampa FL

    "Divided We Fall."

    That's ironic...

    October 26, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Kent Lipsey WI

    That just shows you that the others do not have any time for the elderly in this country.
    If you are not young, rich and filling their coffers with cold hard cash they do not have any time for you.
    Our politicians have evolved to nothing more than paid operatives of the filthy rich, the polluting corporations, and the CEO's who own them for their own benefit, while even stealing for the corporation to fulfill their GREED.

    October 26, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Chip Celina OH

    The two gentlemen of the Republicam field. The rst are jokes.

    October 26, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. DeLynn of AUSTIN

    This is rediculous. Go Ron Paul!

    October 26, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    The "Divided We Fail" forum got their answer.

    October 26, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Dave, Alpharetta, GA

    GOP candidates are afraid to face real Americans. They are using the play-book of Bush, which is to speak only in front of pre-screen, Bush-loving idiots.

    Anytime you ask Mitt or Rudy a tough questions, they try to deflect their answers by complaining about Clinton. Got news for you... You need to answer the question eventually.

    October 26, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    I thought McCain dropped out last week?

    October 26, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Republicans don't care about our divided nation...they want to continue the status quo of Bush/Cheney...Blast the democrats on every issue, and let our country tear in two. Good job Republicans...You make GW proud 😉

    October 26, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I'm an AARPer but I reject this kind of special interest dog-and-pony show. Neither of these guys can win, one because of his stubborn suppoort for a failed war, and the other because of his primitive religious beliefs.

    October 26, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Daniel, NY

    Huckabee is polling remarkably well. He is in double-digits in today's New Hampshire poll, far ahead of Thompson, and he is now in front of Romney in Rasmussen's national numbers.

    October 26, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Michael Torrance, CA

    The rest of the GOP field made a very big mistake by not showing up for this event. Everyone knows that more blue hairs vote than any other demographic group in America.

    October 26, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Steve, Sumter SC

    Like it or not presidents are presidents of ALL people! Divided we fail? I am conservative and this sounds a bit prophetic! The GOP need to get their act together. Congrats to Senator McCain and Governor Huckabee. You just may have made my choice a little easier!

    October 26, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Bob, Seattle, WA

    A McCain-Huckabee ticket would be unbeatable once the Dem vs Rep battle commenced. The two hold up extremely well to the conservative vote, which by the way is the majority in America whether the liberals like it or not. Even minded liberals, those closest to the center would most likely vote for these two, rather than cave in to any extreme leftist leaners.

    October 26, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Steve, Lyons, CO

    What a sweet party the Republicans are!

    They hate poor little kids, they love illegal wars and war crimes by our own officials, they won't go to debates sponsored by blacks, all but two ignore a debate by the one organization seen as representative of seniors.

    Talk about a clear choice in '08!

    October 26, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "A McCain-Huckabee ticket would be unbeatable once the Dem vs Rep battle commenced."

    McCain has become a political coward, playing to the far-right, including extremist "christian" crazies, while Huckabee is ALREADY a religious nut.

    Let's remember something you seem to have forgotten: it's the middle, not the right or left, that's supported by most Americans. You far-righties can't seem to comprehend that.

    These two have zero chance to win anything, 'cept maybe a PTA election.

    October 26, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. Mike, U.S. Air Force, New Braunfels, Texas

    To Steve in Lyons, CO

    1) A handful of Republican candidates are not representative of ALL Republicans
    2) Republicans do not hate poor little kids, they just believe in the American way and expect citizens to exercise their God given right, freedom, and responsibility to provide for themselves and not expect the government to provide everything for them (i.e. healthcare)
    3) If the war was so illegal, why did congress approve military action in Iraq...I know that the Republicans did not hold a 100% majority in congress at the time
    4) War crimes by our own officials? Individuals who acted outside guidelines describe by the Law of Armed Conflict (all service men & women are trained in this), or the orders of their superiors have been appropriately punished for their actions. How is this the fault of the Republicans?
    5) Not all Republicans turned down the invitation to attend the African-American event.
    6) Not all Republicans turned down the invitation to attend the AARP event

    Finally, the one candidate to consistently show sincere support for all events so far, is a Republican.....the best candidate with the interests of everyone at heart. He's the most consistent, well-rounded, & sincere candidate. He's not big budget and doesn't turn down events like this to attend fund-raisers. Give good thought to MIKE HUCKABEE!

    October 26, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. jay, Snellville, GA



    This about sums up the old Huckster. Big Gov., Big Tax., ...a liberal in Minister's CLothing.

    October 26, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Bob, Seattle, WA

    To Steve, Lyons, CO:
    Thanks for the chuckle.

    October 26, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. fred, tn

    The other candidates were busy planning for more War, more big spending, more big government,and thinking of creative ways to work in the terms "freedom" and "constitution".

    These 2 candidates could have stayed home and saved their gas money...they may need it when oil hits $100/barrel.

    October 26, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. John K. Riggs Eagle Pass Texas

    Ron Pauls support is with the young and he knows its the older generation that have gotten us into this police state with their blind idiotic allegiance to the television and the globalist message it conveys. Out with the old and in with the new. They had their chance to build a nation and a fascist dictatorship is the tragic outcome. Old geezers dont go away mad,just go away.

    October 26, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |