December 15th, 2007
12:08 PM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee: Bush administration has 'arrogant bunker mentality'

Huckabee had some sharp words for the Bush administration Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee is questioning the Bush administration's policy on Iraq, criticizing what he calls the White House’s “arrogant bunker mentality.”

“Much like a top high school student, if [the United States] is modest about its abilities and achievements, if it is generous in helping others, it is loved. But if it attempts to dominate others, it is despised,” he writes in the January/February issue of Foreign Affairs.

In the magazine, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, Huckabee says the president did not call for enough troops during the invasion of Iraq, and disregarded the advice of Gen. Eric Shinseki, who said several hundred thousands troops would be needed.

Huckabee also calls recent U.S. policy toward Pakistan a “setback” and a “waste” in the article, released Friday, and says that the United States “might be able to live with a contained Iran.”

The former Arkansas governor has poked fun at his own lack of foreign policy experience, saying earlier this month that while his grasp of foreign policy might be thin, he “did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

He faced criticism from campaign rivals last week for not being aware of an intelligence assessment released by the White House that said Iran had effectively ended its effort to create nuclear weapons in 2003 until he was informed of the report by journalists a day later. He told reporters he had been too busy on the trail to keep track of the development.

- CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Former Rightie, Pittsburgh

    Every decent Republican has abandoned the ship. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove are to blame. The mess the Republican administration and former congress left is deplorable. Because of this, the candidates are all flawed. Nobody in their right mind wants the job cleaning up one of the most blundering administrations in history. It is too late to now come across as trying to differentiate from the NEOCON Bush/Rove machine. Every Republican candidate comes across as just continuing the poor decisions or inactions of the last 7 years.

    December 15, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. roger,grand rapids,michigan

    You tell 'em, Huck! Bush is a false Christian on his way out of office. Only Huckabee can bring us to a true theocracy!

    Join us!

    Posted By Jonathan, Westboro KS : December 15, 2007 2:35 am

    who wants a theocracy?go live in a middle eastern country if you want it ruled by religion

    December 15, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Jason W, Omaha NE

    For the people who think Huckabee is genuine, get real. He is great at misleading people. For example, by telling people that the national retail sales tax rate would be 23%, when in actuality it would be 30%

    December 15, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Matt, Winston Salem NC

    I thought for sure that regardless of who the Republicans nominate this time, they had to be better than GWB. Really, its not that difficult. Yet...somehow...they are jumping behind someone even more to the right in ideology. God help us if he wins, not sure if America can come back from 12 years of similar leadership.

    December 15, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Kitosoma, Tampa FL

    lol... I will never trust a candidate who endorses discrimination or one who thinks he will win for endorsing Chuck Norris.

    December 15, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. leo, new bern, nc


    December 15, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. John, Tallahassee, FL

    Gore won, Bush stole the election.. blah blah blah. Bush knew about 9/11 before it happened... blah blah blah.. Bush knew Saddam didn't have WMDs but wanted revenge for the planned assassination of his daddy.. blah blah blah.. No blood for oil.. blah blah blah.. Global warming is Bush's fault.. blah blah blah.. Hurricane Katrina is Bush's fault.. blah blah blah.. Unemployment is Bush's fault.. blah blah blah.. Subprime mortgages is Bush's fault.. blah blah blah.. Bush is a dummy.. blah blah blah.. Neocon this, Neocon that, Rah Rah Rah!

    Wipe the hatred away from your eyes and get a grip on reality, please!

    As for Huckabee, running for President is all about strategy and timing. This might get votes in the general election (pick up moderate Democrats who actually believe in God and want to feel good about how they think the world views them), but I seriously question taking this position during the primaries considering the recent successes in Iraq("NEOCON NEOCON SISK BOOM BAH"). He's weak on foreign policy (can't believe he didn't know about the NIE) and maybe this is his attempt at a coming out party. I can't wait to read Krauthammer's assessment. He's been down on him for a while.

    December 15, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. Raymondo, El Paso TX


    December 15, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Barry, Raleigh, NC

    1. Flip-Flop Mike
    2. Tax Hike Mike
    3. Wolf in Sheeps Clothing Mike
    4. add yours here...

    December 15, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Butch Dillon

    This republican campaign gets more humorous with time. Now Huckleberry is stealing a page from Willard the Mitt's playbook: just tell them what you know they want to hear! So now there are two of them too busy pandering to tell the truth.

    December 15, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Charlie Houston Texas

    Thanks Huckabee for making me feel nice, and warm inside. When I hear you speak I know americans are good, warm, decent christian people. That is how Bush another compassionate conservative made me feel.

    But then Bush started a war that killed and wounded almost a million Iraqs and 70,000 killed or wounded americans on false pretense. Ran up the deficit and inflation with more bloated compassionate programs. I know you won't do that... but wait you say we should've sent more soldiers to die and continue to do so for "honor." I've counted your promises in debates. Your compassionate programs run in the trillions that raises taxes and inflation, which hurt the middle/poor class.

    You know, I think I don't need you to feel good and warm inside. I'll just have a bowel of chicken soup instead, it will cost us a lot less.

    December 15, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Dana Rinkin Lake Elsinore, Ca.

    Being President is a tough job. Let's let God do the judging. "He who lives in Glass House should cast the first stone".

    December 15, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Merari Garafola - Staten Island, New York

    Hucakabee says Bush administration has arrogant bunker mentality. How dare you Hucakabee! Saying that Mormoms are Christians is ok! or saying that Your religion should not play a role in who becomes President. How could a man of God make such a statement. Faith is in your heart therefore it is our hearts and mind that cause us to make decisions. Listen man of God, Check yourself real good. Jesus said If you deny me My father will deny you.

    December 15, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Vance, Lansing, MI

    I've just returned from a trip through major cities in So America and boy am I exhausted from having to explain that not all Americans approve of George Bush etc. etc. etc.
    Now even Huckleberry Hound from Arkansas gets it too.
    Bush has been a total disaster for America with his preemptive war against the wrong nation and now is involved in a religious/civil war and when anyone objects Bush says Oh you are against the troops, unAmerican and all the rest of the BS.
    I think I might vote for Hillary... just kidding.

    December 15, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Daniel, Syracuse, NY

    This is an in-depth, multi-pronged analysis and all CNN can come up with is "Huckabee blasts 'arrogant Bush'"? What a joke.

    READ BEYOND THE FIRST FEW PARAGRAPHS. Read the entire piece; it will take awhile, but it's worth it. I don't agree with Huckabee on every point he makes, but it's clear that he is no intellectual lightweight.

    December 15, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. billy-bayou

    huck-a-bee couldn't even be considered a viable candidate for a pimple on the presidents ass.

    December 15, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Chris, Colorado Springs, CO

    What in the world is happening? The Republicans are taking a page from the Democratic playbook - sniping at each other! At any rate, we know this isn't true. Bush himself told us in 2000 that he was a "compassionate conservative" that would unite, instead of divide, Washington. 😉

    December 15, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Joy, Charlotte, NC

    5. Imploding Mike

    December 15, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. connie sprarks nv.

    I would sure like to tell Huckabee, I was set to vote for him,until he decided to degrade President Bush. Just remember we have a lot a boy and girl in harms way. So see you!!

    December 15, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Texrat, Fort Worth, TX

    Oh, don't pick on Mike so much– half the time Bush isn't aware of what's going on. At least.

    Welcome to current politics, where substance no longer matters. You get what you vote for.

    December 15, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. James, Houston, TX.

    Geo Bush was bought and is a product of the PNAC! He, follows instructions since prior to 9/11. Whats the mystery? And this time its not the "Economy Stupid". Its Envy and Power, Oh, and Money of Course! However, sadly money is only the Means, not the End!

    December 15, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Jonathan, Westboro/Topeka KS

    Help us bring the theocracy to America! With a Christian nation we can beat Islamic Fascists and take it for a new Christian Empire! The Book of Revelation demands it!

    December 15, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. RuthieM

    Why is it I don't hear anyone screaming about Huckabee's 'lack of experience'? Is it because his 'age' clouds the reality just like Hillary's age clouds it? So to look at her when she uses that word 'experience' who would argue because what we're really subliminally swallowing is the 'age' thing as 'experience'. So I think Obama is being a gentleman for not saying, "People, you are confusing this 'experience' thing for 'age'. Anyone 60 years old is walking 'experience', is just - life. And so this by no means qualifies one to be president. And yet, because Huckabee is older, bulkier, former governor and has 12 years Baptist Minster under his belt, he is not being attacked on this 'experience' thing even though he has absolutely no foreign relations experience. Is it because he was governor? Well then the American people again are duped because that has nothing to do with being president either. In both positions you have a staff to call upon. Does Huck want to bring the troops home or keep them there? Was he in favor of the invasion of Iraq or against it? Sounds like he was for it but was only against Bush not sending in enough soldiers. So what's his position here?

    December 15, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. J Shepard, Phoenix AZ

    Good for Mike Huckabee! Regarding the government's crusade for truth, let me get something straight here. The government investigates and will probably indict MLB players for steroid/human growth hormones use, and yet it is okay to pump livestock raised for human consumption with growth hormones and antiobiotics. Not to mention that evidence presented in the Mitchell report has raised questions of validity (

    December 15, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. Lisa, San Diego, CA

    Although I do appreciate Huck's sense of humor (ie the Holiday Inn plug), it's still not enough to garner my vote. It's just funny how once all the GOP candidates were against Ron Paul's no war stance, and now, one by one they'll all climb onto the bandwagon. GOP- Goodbye Original Platform!!!

    December 15, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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