December 7th, 2007
02:26 PM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee's tax record under fire

Huckabee's tax record is under fire from the Club for Growth and rival Fred Thompson.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who has been criticized by his party’s fiscal conservatives, found his tax record under fire Friday from both a rival candidate and an independent group.

Republican Fred Thompson is taking aim at Huckabee in the crucial state of Iowa, and – in what amounts to the harshest of GOP slaps – linking him to another former Arkansas governor, President Bill Clinton.

The former Tennessee senator – who, like Huckabee is seeking the support of the party's conservative base – is assaulting his Republican rival for his record on taxes while governor in a mail flier sent to Iowa Republicans this week.

Meanwhile, the anti-tax Club for Growth released an anti-Huckabee ad on YouTube, with plans to air it nationwide on FOX News Monday,

"Mike Huckabee wants to hide the fact that he and Bill Clinton share a 'D' lifetime rating for their tax and spend policies," says the Thompson mailer, in reference to Huckabee's negative assessment from the libertarian Cato Institute's Scorecard of Governors.

Elsewhere, the flier states, "Mike Huckabee talks like a Republican but taxes like a Democrat."

The 60-second Club for Growth spot excerpts a speech Mike Huckabee gave as Arkansas governor in which he says certain tax increases are acceptable.

After an initial burst when he first floated the idea of a presidential run, Thompson's poll numbers have steadily declined in the Hawkeye State, while Huckabee has surged to a tie for first place there in most polls.

Huckabee's campaign has not responded to a request for comment. But late last month he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that that the Arkansas speech has been taken out of context.

"I was basically giving a put up or shut up speech to the legislature who had been saying we have got a $200 million deficit, and we don't like any proposal the governor has to fix it," he said. "What I was saying to them was, if you don't like my proposals, give me yours, but let's fix this deficit. And we did."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Steve, Indianapolis, IN

    I hope you early primary states are seeing through these attacks. I can't understand why anyone would vote for someone like Clinton, Romney, or Thompson – people who can't defend their own policies, only attack their opponents. And it's extremely ironic that Thompson and Romney have been attacking Huckabee's tax record when Thompson hasn't been in a position to tax anyone for the past decade and Romney taxed Mass. as high as he could.

    December 7, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. BlueGoose

    Here come the tax increases.

    December 7, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Andrew, Atlanta, GA

    Oh God. This tired old refrain that Republicans don't tax and spend (and if you do, you look more like a Democrat). If this is the case, Bush is more a Democrat than anyone. 1) He pushes more and more fiscal responsibility on states and local governments to make it look like he's "cutting" taxes – of course the actual effect is that taxes increase elsewhere (incidentally, he substantially cut federal taxes for the wealthy while middle class and especially the poor see very, very little tax relief if any) 2) He spends, spends, and spends some more. My God, look at our deficit. Look at the money he's spent on Iraq. It's unbelievable!

    Republicans tax and spend. So do Democrats. This is a necessity. You can play games and hide how it's done, but they all do it in one way or another. Thompson will do it too.

    December 7, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Ca Native

    Interesting... Huckabee moves into the 1st tier group and all-of-a-sudden attack ads and hit pieces appear.

    I guess as a country we must REALLY want polarizing candidates. God-forbid a Republican candidate (working with a predominently democratic legislature) compromise to tackle problems facing folks in Arkansas. Heaven forbid a Democrat (Lieberman) vote to support any military issues.

    Gone are the days when a President and House Speaker of opposing parties sit down to knock back a few drinks and attempt to find common ground for the best interests of the American people (Reagan and Tip O'Neil)

    December 7, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Jon B Olathe KS

    Let the poor people pay it with a "fair tax"...

    Then you could add to your tax cutting record by cutting taxes for all americans by eliminating the income tax!

    (Though you redistribute tax liability to the poor through the fair tax which as you have said is "revenue neutral")

    December 7, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. drake, little rock, ar

    You should ask the state troopers about the 'deer hunt' his boys went on. Sitting the the back of a trooper car, shooting deer out of the window and LEFT the deer on the ground after killing it.

    Oh, and also about the time his son was scout leader and hung and stoned to death a dog that has wandered into their camp.

    This family was a terror to our state. Mansion funds missing, taxes raised, and hid behind God the whole time. Honestly, Mike is a nice guy, just was too influenced by others that want control.

    And what's this about not believing in evolution? Talk about a slap in the face for the scientific world. Wow.

    December 7, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. spinstopper

    This is like the democrats crying about the republicans spending habits when we all know it would have only been worse under the democrats. Kinda of like Bill taking credit for a republican balanced purse..

    December 7, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Dan, TX

    I agree with Steve from Indianapolis.

    Huckabee and McCain would be my choices. I've got some problems with both of them. But the other republicans are unelectable. Giuliani makes Bill Clinton look like a shining example of moral virtue. Romney HAS really flip-flopped. Not just a little, a lot. At best he can say, "I know that intelligent caring people can disagree about abortion rights – I agreed with both sides myself!"

    December 7, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Angel, Los Angeles of Anaheim

    If Drake is correct, Huckleberry should be in a cell right next to Mike Vick and other animal haters.

    December 7, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    The neocons, including Huckabee, want to tax you to the max to resume the Crusades after 600 years. The Democrats want to do the same and then buy your votes by "giving" you things "according to your need" and paid for with the money the swiped.

    Ron Paul is the only candidate really interested in cutting taxes.

    December 7, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Jim St Louis MO

    In order to make the federal government smaller, the state and local governments must get bigger, therefore you as a citizen will have more control on what your government can do and spend on what. That is a Republican position. What we have in Washington DC by some politicians is the desire to tell all Americans how they must act. This is unAmerican and a form of socialized programming. I don't know about you, but how is Uncle Sam doing with your retirement account – he spent mine. Now he wants to handle my healthcare. Right – all he needs is more of my money. Hucklebee doesn't scare me – he understands that the federal government is different from the state.

    December 7, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. AJ, IC, IA

    Hicle-libby is exactly what he says all the time... A BAD JOKE! Under all the "humor," he is nothing more than a man trying to use his religion to influence the enough of the general population into voting for him so he can take power. I can't imagine that someone of "faith" would do such a thing (iterated sarcasticly)!

    December 7, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Steve, Lyons, CO

    Fred Thompson: "Mike Huckabee wants to hide the fact that he and Bill Clinton share a 'D' lifetime rating for their tax and spend policies," says the Thompson mailer..."

    These Repub liars can't say anything without trying to get a dig at Clinton. Shows how much the Clintons scare these guys to death.

    In case you forgot, Freddie, Clinton presented Dubya with a balanced budget – in fact, a surplus.

    Georgie immediately turned it into the biggest deficit EVER, with brainless tax breaks for the rich and corporate.

    The economy under Clinton was on fire. Did you forget the '90s ALREADY, Fred?

    December 7, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. Andrew, NJ

    this election comes down to the break in the GOP

    1) You have the social conservatives who back Huckabee
    2) You have the libertarian wing and fiscal conservatives of the GOP who back Ron Paul
    3) You have the neo-conservatives who back Giuliani and Romney

    Will be interesting to see who'll win

    December 7, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. John Halverson DC

    sounds like he will be in my wallet more then I will. Yipeeeeeeee! I can't wait.

    December 7, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Walt, Belton, TX

    He's got as much credibility as slick Willie and Hillary. You think they might be kin?

    December 7, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. VOTE,LA.


    December 7, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  18. Richard Fuhr, Bothell, WA

    Vote for Huckabee or Hillary and you end up with Arkansas politics...lies, attacks and taxes. Not necessarily in that order.

    He took $70,000 worth of furniture?
    He registered for a wedding registry (so that people could give him gifts as he was leaving the governor's wasn't illegal to give wedding gifts...even thought they had been married for quite a long time)

    He is a snake oil salesman. Pure and simple.

    Ask him about his pardons, his clemency and the people he let loose on parole. Ask the girl who was raped and murdered by one such person (DuMond).

    He is not presidential. He is a good pastor. He would make a nice pastor-in-chief for the national cathedral, but not a commander-in-chief. Never.

    December 7, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  19. Ranny Lou, MS

    Wow, Huckbee was fat. Hey guys, maybe if he lost all that weight, he can accomplish anything

    December 8, 2007 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  20. Sean, Chicago, IL

    now im a democrat so i cant say much about this topic except

    im proud of mike losing weight, i didnt know that was a picture of him until i read the headline

    i like mike huckabee

    him, john mccain, ron paul, and to some extent rudy guiliani are the only republicans running who seem genuine

    if clinton is my party's nominee, i could see myself voting for guiliani or mccain

    huckabee is a bit too conservative for me, but like i said, im a democrat

    December 8, 2007 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  21. dk

    In defense of any Governor of a state in the late 90's until now, most had to increase revenue because the federal govt was constantly cutting state funding and 95% of the states were running huge defecits that needed to be fixed. How was that revenue going to be raised?

    December 8, 2007 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  22. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Thanks to Andrew, Atlanta, GA !! Your thoughtful posting gives me hope.

    The time has long passed when people can choose a president based on "bumper sticker phrases" like
    "tax and spend."

    Look beyond the old chestnuts brought out and repeated for the unthinking every 4 years. Do the research and vote for someone with intelligence, integrity, and a vision for the whole country, not just their party or the small vocal minority in it.

    Preacher Mike wants a 23% flat tax – the same on a pair of WalMart sneakers for a family making $30,000 as the millionaire spending $300,000 on his jet. Not really fair.

    December 8, 2007 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  23. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Just what is it with Republicans? You get all in a tizzy any time you even hear the word taxes.

    Do you think maintaining our military, national infrastructure, police, firefighters, veterans' hospitals, etc. just falls from the sky like manna?

    If your party would have done what Democrats did with pay-as-you-go, instead of just cutting taxes for corporations and the rich while spending like drunken fools, our dollar and our economy would be much stronger. We also wouldn't be leaving our children stuck with the bill due of YOUR fiscal irresponsibility.

    I like Mike although I don't think Democrats would allow a flat tax if it's only going to benefit the rich, again, like the last round of Republican "tax cuts".

    December 8, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  24. Karen Houston TX

    You can "WISH" for anything in your candidate but that doesn't make it real. Mike Huckabee was and is a nightmare. His record in Arkansas speaks for itself.

    FACT:He fought for special tuition rates for the children of illegals while he raised the debt burden by 47%. FACT: 105,000 of his constituents declared bankruptcy while he was in office. That didn't matter to Mike 'cause he was busy paying for all of those illegals to go to college. FACT: He raised taxes 22 times. FACT: He left the state with a deficite of half a billion dollars. BUT ALL IS FORGIVEN BECAUSE HE IS AN EVANGELICAL LIKE MOST OF HIS SUPPORTERS!! Is there a brain left in America? We'll ride the country to hell as long as we are riding on a Bible!

    Romney's record in Massachusetts is very different. Romney is known to have brought the state from the brink of financial ruin. He is lauded by many economic analysts as a "Financial Genius".

    He has stood on the side of conservative issues every time he has put his pen to paper. He has never been pro illegal immigration. The fact that his opponents want to point out that illegals did the yard work at His home is part of the Romney Smear Campaign. Do you honestly think that a governor and sucessful hard working business man stands and looks out his curtains and thinks,"I wonder if those people are legal". Of course not. He's working– not worrying about his lawn service!

    Amazing! Is there a relocation program on another planet where there is intelligent life?! I'd like to sign up.

    December 8, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  25. Walt, Belton, TX

    Huckabee and Romney claim all kinds of public service but neither had the guts to serve their country one day in the Armed Forces. Neither has put their life on the line for their country. They have only lived off the largesse of the American taxpayer. I, for one, do not want either on of them occupying the White House as my Commander-in-Chief. They will both acquiesce and we will all be speaking mexican or farsi in no time at all.

    December 8, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |