December 17th, 2007
09:10 AM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee: 'I don't have anything to apologize for'

Huckabee told CNN Sunday he does not feel the need to apologize to President Bush for his 'arrogant' comment.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mike Huckabee shot down calls from fellow candidate Mitt Romney that he apologize to President Bush for a recent critique of administration foreign policy, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Sunday that his Republican presidential rival “needs to read the article."

"It would really help if he would do that. Because if he did, he would see that there's no apology necessary," said Huckabee.

The former Arkansas governor said he has been a firmer supporter of the president than Romney, backing White House positions on the troop surge in Iraq, tax cuts, gun control, abortion rights and same-sex marriage when the former Massachusetts governor had not.

“I was with the president on the legacy of the president's dad and Ronald Reagan when Mitt Romney wasn't,” he added. “So, you know, I don't have anything to apologize for. But I'm running for president of the United States. I've got to show that I do have my own mind when it comes to how this country ought to lead, not only within its own borders but across the world.”

Romney had called for Huckabee to back down from a Foreign Affairs article he had written. In the piece, released this weekend, Huckabee accused the Bush administration of an “arrogant, bunker mentality.”

On Sunday, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who is remaining neutral in the GOP primary race, called Huckabee’s Foreign Affairs comments “unwarranted and unwise.”

“There is much to like about Mike Huckabee. But he will serve Republican primary voters, and our nation, better if he focused his criticisms on the Democrats who will run against our eventual nominee and not on the President who has kept us safe,” said Fleischer.

Programming Note: Catch Huckabee tonight on CNN's Larry King Live, 9 p.m. ET

In the interview on CNN's Late Edition, Huckabee also brushed off Sunday’s Des Moines Register endorsement of Arizona Sen. John McCain in the Iowa caucuses. “You're right, I would love to have had that endorsement. It would have been disingenuous for me to sit here and say it, oh, doesn't mean anything. I would have loved to have had it. I didn't get it. They don't know me as well as they know Senator McCain,” he said. “And all I can do is congratulate him and say I wish it were me.”

And he blasted National Review editor Rich Lowry for a recent article in which he compared his candidacy to that of failed Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. “Well, should I get my towel out and start crying now or wait until when I win the entire nomination, and then everybody suddenly loves me?” he said. “I mean, look, the reality is, I'm not the choice of the chattering class, never have been, don't really care if I am.”

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Gary Denson

    Huckabee has adopted a sound approach for dealing with illegal immigration. His veiws on Trade will be what makes or brreaks him. Guliani has remarked that Americans need to learn how to compete in the global economy and I believe that statement cost him dearly. Americans will not tolerate another president who has been brainwashed into accepting free trade propaganda as the truth. If Huckabee is tough on corporations moving out of America to access cheap labor and outsourcing in general he will gain even more popularity. If he mentions doing away with our trade agreements and putting import taxes back in place he will be even more popular. He may very well be what one would call a conservative populist. Maybe he could call his campaign JUST SAY NO TO BIG BUSINESS. if he does he has my vote.

    December 16, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Is this the Dean type meltdown that many have predicted, or feared?

    December 16, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Musselman, NC

    Is this the feared or predicted Dean like meltdown?

    December 16, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Henry, VA

    Bush hasn't kept us safe, look at how he allows 95% of the cargo come into this country unchecked. No problem there, right? Anyone who claims he's made us safer is living in a fantasy world. Just because there hasn't been carnage here since 2001 doesn't mean it was stopped by that dunce.

    December 16, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Terry McKinley

    I've voted Democratic ever since I can remember, and I LIKE this guy.

    December 16, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Rafi, NY NY

    "But he will serve Republican primary voters, and our nation, better if he focused his criticisms on the Democrats who will run against our eventual nominee..."

    I'm so, so tired of this us-versus-them mentality. Politics is not a college football game. You don't support one candidate over another for the sake of loyalty, you do it over the issues. People who think it's a mortal sin for Republicans or Democrats to criticize their own party scare the hell out of me.

    That said, I like and respect Huckabee, but only as a person. I would absolutely have a beer with him, but the last time we forgave a candidate for his stupidity and insane policies in favor of his character, we woke up in a war no one wants and with an administration answerable to no one. I'd rather vote someone in office who is smart and well-qualified over an idiot buddy of mine.

    December 16, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Michael Allen

    Of course Huckabee has nothing to apologize for. I voted for George W. twice and I also know that he has an arrogant attitude. I am glad to see that huckabee has the guts to speak his own mind and not just tow the GOP line.

    December 16, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Heather

    WOW, this guy sadly is making me scared to vote for him. I really don't want this attitude in our presidency representing our country.

    December 16, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Blayze Kohime, Columbus Ohio

    Standing up to Bush is the most respectable thing Huckabee has done; its amazing how most politicians are all for free speech until their rival says something they consider questionable.

    And this wasn't even questionable; it was a statement of the obvious according to most Americans today.

    December 16, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Lou Tulsa Ok

    How can one call this a meltdown? To me its a breath of fresh air, sorely needed in both this race and this country. Huckabee's a guy who has principals, a mind that doesn't flip flop, and sticks to what he says. Perhaps that is because when he was a pastor, he learned what the truth was, how to tell it, and understands sticking to it will ultimately prove right. It is rare to find such a man in Presidential politics. We have just such a man in Huckabee. If you want to criticize anyone, jump on those who blow in the wind. Huckabee is a straight shooter who hits his mark over and over again. We need character like that in the White House for 8 more years.

    December 16, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Bill Albany ny

    Romney thinks GW Bush's policies have been good for the country? Hmmm, interesting... I think that's all I need to know about Romney.

    December 16, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. R. G., Dallas, TX

    As a Christian, I and many of us here in Texas have pulled our support of Huckabee due to his hatefull comments regarding our President.

    God commands us to pray for our leaders, not stab a fellow Christian leader in the back.

    December 16, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Robert Allen, Dallas, TX

    This is an incredible story.

    Romney thinks Huckabee should apologize to dumbya for his critique of administration foreign policy.

    Romney must either be joking or trying to pull a fast cheap shot at Huckabee. If any President ever deserved criticism for his foreign policy it is dumbya. The President has trampled the Constitution and International Law the way no other U. S. leader ever has.

    The President has set the precedent for one country to illegally invade another sovereign nation based simply on the premise that the nation possesses weapons or methods and means of attacking the invading nation and doing irreparable harm. People seem to forget that Bush established, for a certainty, that Saddam and Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction. That is the initial reason we illegally invaded a sovereign foreign nation. It had absolutely nothing to do with freedom or the poor Iraqi people.

    With this precedent established it would be just fine if Peru felt the U. S. was a danger to them and decided to invade the U. S.

    Throw in the torture and I believe dumbya's actions are certainly open for some serious criticism and rebuke.


    December 16, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. peter

    R.G From Dallas:

    So what are you saying? Never disagree with the President of the United States?

    You want a democracy or a dictatorship?

    December 16, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    Huckabee turns into Mr. Anti Bush all of a sudden, wants to abolish the IRS, and believes we should be friendlier to other countries – Sounds like he's learning something from Ron Paul. Huckabee is a fake trying to get into the whitehouse, his past judgements will bury him.

    December 16, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Good for you, Huckabee. There is nothing to apologize for. Unfortunately, Bush by now is walled off, nothing gets through him. That's what you naturally do when you are being attacked – put a wall up to protect yourself. All of that is not going to do anything to Bush, but I understand the frustration is so high, one needs to get it out.

    Maybe the Republican party can develop more heart by caring for the common people, and the Democratic party can develop more faith to take care of the common people, we might get is just right.

    I mean, if you are the party with 'God' by your side, wouldn't you want to lift up and help His people? And if you are the party who wants to do a lot for the common people, it wouldn't hurt to have 'God' by your side to give you a hand.

    December 16, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    I read from a recent blogger that Huckabee was a keynote speaker at an anti-Mormon rally in Salt Lake City, in 1998, for the Southern Baptist Convention. I wonder if he will apologize to Mitt for that too, as well as 5.5 million American Latter-Day Saints. I also hear that many Southern Baptists and Evangelical churches have frequently shown the infamous anti-Mormon film titled "The Godmaker". Apparantly they don't show it anymore because of a successful lawsuit filed by the Anti-Defamation League.
    Come on now Huck, inquiring minds want to know.
    The Clinton Camp will make a field day out of this one, and Hillary will be cackling in the Oval Office in 2008.

    December 16, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. John Allen, Boston MA

    Romney was right to call Huckey out on this one! Huck may not agree with W's policies, but Huck's comment was in bad taste, and is sure to get him in trouble with peopl who really care about the solidarity of the party. Romney also said on meet the press that he thinks mistakes have been made in Iraq. But Romney has the class not to criticize a sitting president from his own party. Huck, please just drop out of the race. You're a nuisance and you're taking votes away from people who have a real shot at beating Billary. The Republican Nationall Committee knows this and is scared to death of your nomination. Besides, you're the least intelligent of the candidates. My vote goes to Mitt Romney.

    December 16, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    Huckabee is more Democrat than Republican. Bush made mistakes, Romney was frank about that, but for Huck to disparage so loudly with his superior 20/20 hindsight shows no talent and a lack of finesse. He just isn't Republican.

    December 16, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Independent in IA

    Why don't you just e-mail him, Gary...I'm sure he's just waiting to hear from you to tell him what to say. And, I'm sure he'll jump at the chance to follow your advice. He's certainly proficient at telling a lot of other people exactly what they want to hear. Too bad it's all clap-trap.

    December 16, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Jerry, LA, CA

    R.G From Dallas: Bush has stabbed millions of "fellow Christians" in the back.

    December 16, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Mason Myatt Birmingham, AL

    Finally, Huckabee has said something he should NOT apologize for.

    However, as I think of his candidacy I am reminded of a quip my 7th grade teacher used in her efforts to help us understand the likes of the ultra-rich and powerful. Mrs. Henderson remarked about the rarified atmosphere of those at the top rerpeating the adage that "the Cabots speak only to the Lodges and the Lodges speak only to God." John Cabot Lodge was running for the Republican nomination at the time.

    As for me, I am not prepared for another president who listens only to God. We get into wars and we Foment Unlawful Carnal Knowledge on the poor and powerless when our leader communicates only with a Holy Spirit rather than the electorate. To think that we once inspired the world with our secular but theoretically humanitarian society only to have people in the WH today who fear winning this war because a victory might delay Aramageddon. If there is a god, I pray he will deliver us from this evil.

    December 16, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Concerned Citizen, Indiana

    If we never spoke out against our leaders, wouldn't we still be part of the British monarchy?

    We are not allowed to criticize our own government, yet we pump our tax dollars into other countries to promote peaceful revolution? (e.g. Iran, Venezuela, etc). Get real.

    That is the standard line for the GOP and Fox News though. We'll see when a democrat is in office how closely they stick to that mantra.

    This, and the "you are either for us or against us" have gotten us to where we are today. You can be against the war and still fund the troops. Clearly we are there, so we need to make sure our men and women have everything they need to get the job done. That doesn't mean you are for the war.

    The far left is guilty of this sort of politicking as well. It's a sad state of affairs we live in today. We need to dump lobbyists and get back to being American and compromise.

    If anything, this makes me respect Huckabee even more. At least he stands up for what is logical and has been widely agreed upon (that this war was bungled).

    December 16, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Mike, Fredericksburg, VA

    Gary D. – One thing I do know, Huckabee is not the favorite of the big business interests – they are pulling for Romney or Guiliani.

    December 16, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Mason Myatt Birmingham, AL

    RG in Dallas:

    May we correctly infer from your remarks that you stood up for President Clinton during his impeachment? If Hillary should become president, do you promise not to criticize her? Just curious about the question as to whether or not the rules of scripture vary from one Party or candidate to another. I guess I would ask you if your God is consistent or if you invoke scripture only to support what you already think. What about it?

    December 16, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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