December 5th, 2007
09:25 AM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee didn't know about NIE report

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - At a dinner with reporters on Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee admitted that he had neither read nor been briefed on the latest national intelligence estimate, which stated that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

“I don’t know where the intelligence is coming from that says they have suspended the program, or how credible that is versus the view that they actually are expanding it,” Huckabee told the assembled journalists, after being informed of the report’s content by a questioner.

“And I’ve heard, the last two weeks, supposed reports that they are accelerating it and it could be having a reactor in a much shorter period of time than originally been thought,” he added.

The candidate’s apparent lack of knowledge on the issue comes at a time when the former Arkansas governor is facing intensifying scrutiny due to his rise in the polls. A Des Moines Register survey released on Sunday found Huckabee leading the GOP field in Iowa with 29 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers.

Huckabee attributed recent attacks on his Arkansas record on taxes, immigration and the criminal justice system to “desperation” on the part of rival campaigns.

“I call it that the ‘tattle tale campaign,’” he said. “Sometimes campaigns are reduced to tattle tales on the others. I think it’s a real turn off to most people.”

- CNN's Dana Bash and Evan Glass


Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. anon, San Francisco, CA

    Huckabee was trained as a preacher. He may know the bible and talks well, but little else. There is little political substance in him.

    December 5, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Steve, Landing, NJ

    This is a pretty bizarre thing for Huckabee to say. Does he really think that the NIE would release a report in contradiction to Bush's statements about Iran, including the embarrassing "World War 3" comment, if their sources were less credible than these unnamed reports he's citing? Come on. This just makes it seem like either he's fear-mongering or, more likely, he's a little desperate to be seen as "tough".

    December 5, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. Dave Reynolds NY, NY

    On the other hand, McCain gave an intelligent and thoughtful response when asked about this report. McCain is the informed and knowledgable candidate, the others are just spewing "sweet nothings" into the ears of voters without any substance.

    December 5, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. HC, Orlando, Florida

    Huckabee seems like a nice guy and I like his charisma and character, but he seems just as stupid as our current president.

    December 5, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. Mark, Houston, Texas

    "Didn't know about it"?? That's inexcusable for a presidential candidate. Meanwhile, it was one of the main themes of the Democratic debate on NPR yesterday. How is it I know more about what's going on in the world than Mike Huckabee??

    December 5, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Peggy, Lancaster, Ma

    Ron Paul is the only candidate- Republican or Democrat- who will keep us from going to war with Iran!
    "Peace on Earth Good Will toward Men"
    They shouldn't just be words! Go Ron Paul!

    December 5, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    This is kind of an important thing to be in the dark about. It sounds like another unprepared, lazy republican al la G.W. Bush. Does he think that they print those briefs just for the fun of it?

    December 5, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Arkay, MI

    Huckabee is not alone. Even Bush claims that he did not know anything about the NIE till last week. Yeah sure !!

    December 5, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Fa'iz, Omaha NE

    Great! Another president that doesn't pay attention to intelligence reports.

    December 5, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Jorge Garcia, Bradenton, Florida.

    Mike Huckabee should be one of the very first persons to know what happens about the foreign relation and everything related to the country that could affect his campaign in certain way because he has to show the people that he has knowledge about the country's issues. However, i think we shouldn't take much importance to it, I believe that is more important that he was honest enough to admit he didn't know about it. And after a reporter told him what happened he answered and he gave his point of view, so that is very important because it shows that if he won the presidency he has efficiency to solute the problems in short time periods.
    He is gaining so much popularity that he is leading the republican party in Iowa with the 29%. And his opponents are trying to make him lose credibility by talking bad thing about his proposals because they are realizing he is an important candidate.

    December 5, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. jay, Snellville, GA

    Tattle tale campaign?????????

    What a joke of a candidate.

    December 5, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. moomoo

    Great an uninformed governor with his finger on the nuclear WWIII button- sounds like a good follow up to Bush.

    At least Bush didn't raise our taxes like Huckabee.

    December 5, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    He is ill-prepared to lead this nation. He couldn't even lead a grade school science class, given that he maintains that the earth is just over 6 thousand years old and that evolution is a fiction dumb scientists have foisted upon us.
    We can't continue being the laughingstock of the world with ignorant leaders like this.

    December 5, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Ryan, Columbus OH

    Seriously? How can someone so uninformed of the facts think he's suited to be President? He's saying despited consensus from every major intelligence agency in the US saying the Iran doesn't have a nuclear program ongoing, he thinks they might. Sounds like Bush and the WMD in Iraq all over again.

    December 5, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Everybody is a critic.

    December 5, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. JONATHAN

    Huckabee just proved his incompetence and stupidity and his brainwashed servitude to the far right.

    December 5, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Pete. des moines, iowa

    Huckabee didnt know about the NIE report, or wont give thought on mormonism. What is inside his brain? Does his know anything at all?

    December 5, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. Bernard Sulliban - Fayetteville, ARK

    Excuse me, reality check...
    There are around 85-90 current US Senators that had probably never seen that report until last week – if they have even yet seen it.
    Expecting a DC outsider like Huckabee to be 'well informed' about this is unrealistic.

    December 5, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Independent in IA

    If Huckleberry can't be bothered to keep abreast of something as important as this report, this brainless-wonder has no business thinking he can lead this country. I would almost trust Snoopy to have better inside information.

    December 5, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. Rick, Charlotte, NC

    So I'm sure you're disappointed aren't you Mike? You were rattling your sabre about Iran last week, being sure to stay in step with Bush and totally awash with desire over bombing the crap out of them.

    December 5, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Heather, Chicago IL

    Well, Dr. Ron Paul won't gloat about it – but of course he has been correct about this subject all along. And unllike most politicians in Washington... he actually takes the time to read the bills and documents that come in front of him, and he actually stays and votes on them.

    Huckabee very well might win Iowa, but thats it for him. I dont know why they keep making such a big deal out of this. His support nationally just isn't there – look at his FEC.gov reports.

    December 5, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Anthony, Austin, TX

    McCain? intelligent? thoughtful?

    Did you watch the CNN/YouTube debate? He looked more like a bad actor than an "informed" person. His premeditated, sensationalist attack on Ron Paul sure did scream knowledge (sarcasm), trying to connect Nazi Germany with Iraq.

    December 5, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Tim, Denver CO

    Of course he has no need for intelligence. He shoots from the gut and his lord tells him where to aim. Just like the current bozo. Inept!

    December 5, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. bukky, baltimore md

    I guess like bush he doesnt read the new either... but i mean his advisors didnt here about this either...?

    December 5, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. jt, okc

    He just needs to get a better briefer. C'mon give the guy a break, he has been on the campaign trail all day.

    December 5, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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