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. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    I wouldn't compare him with Howard either.
    I would compare him with Jim Bakker.

    December 17, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  2. pik

    Ron Paul is the only patriot in this election. Vote for real change and stop being sheep.

    December 17, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  3. Jack, Atlanta, GA

    I love the way Huckabee reveals the cracks in the Republican party. Maybe the best part about it is that these are cracks that ordinary Republican voters didn't know existed–especially southern and mid-western voters. The true elites (Republican elites) are showing their true colors. The funniest thing is that he's running on the Fair Tax. And they still call him a populist. Go figure. I can't wait to see the fallout if Huckabee wins the nomination.

    December 17, 2007 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If someone can't critize the president, same party or not, then I have to ask, "what happened to our freedom to speak our mind?" If you critize someone, that is fine. If it is harsh, then try to be tactful. Huckabee has the right idea. Since he, like most people, find many flaws in the foreign policy of the current administration, Huckabee did the American thing of saying he thought that the president was wrong to do it that way.

    Romney has no reason to tell Huckabee what to say or appologize for what he said. What Romney called for is totally un-American. About the only thing you can't call for with regards to the president is for someone to kill him. With the current president, I just hope he realizes his mistakes (many of them because there are far too many to fix in the last year or so) and starts to fix them. I could go on with global warming and civil liberties or messed up spending priorites.

    December 17, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. Don, Concord, New Hampshire

    Mitt Romney is a freaking genius! He has tax hike Mike speaking out of both sides of his mouth...one minute bashing Bush, the next hopping in bed with him. Huckabee is incompetent and is in no way qualified to be President of the US; the only thing he has done is tap the far-right nut factory.

    C'mon people...Would you ever vote for someone who campaigns with Chuck Norris, Texas Ranger?

    If the GOP...er...the Evangelical freaks in the South...nominate Huckabee, I'm voting democrat. Nominate Romney, Guliani or McCain...or I'd even take Paul over Huckabee. Just not another "christian" zealot in the White House. Armageddon has gone on long enough over in Babylon.

    December 17, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. Paul Dallas TX

    Michael Allen

    You have guts admitting to voting for Bush twice.

    December 17, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. Rodney Dallas TX

    R. G., Dallas, TX

    Sorry RG, I also live in Dallas and have to disagree with your comments. Everyone I know criticizes Bush on a dialy basis so I think you might be on that limb by yourself man.

    December 17, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Mike Birmingham, AL

    A VOTE FOR HUCKABEE = 8 MORE YEARS OF HILLARY AND BILL

    8 more years of peace and prosperity?

    Sign me up!

    December 17, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. HH, Pittsburgh, PA

    Absolutely brilliant, Mike. Yes, our so-called "leaders" divide us with distractions like abortion, gay marriage, etc., while all the time bowing to the globalists who have no loyalty to our Republic. That is why no one who doesn't kowtow to the globalists will ever get the nod of the Republicans or the Democrats. Instead, the patriots who think of America first will be marginalized and ignored by a media that is in bed with corporate and globalist interests. Wake up, folks. We are being sold down the river.

    December 17, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. Chet Bling

    I think that Huckabee is not saying they are arrogant to offend the President but to make a point why he should be in office and i will vote for him..

    December 17, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. David Rochester NY

    This is Why the Democratic party is better than them. They think that if you have a diffrent option you are suppose to shut up and just follow. Be a Sheep. As were the democratic party is a party of many many voices. Making there options know so we can come up with the best ideas. To form a more perfect union. ( sound like something you heard before)

    December 17, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    You need to apologize for breathing.....

    December 17, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. Allen, Cleveland, OH

    Huckabee accused the Bush Administration of having an "arrogant, bunker mentality." I voted for Bush twice and I would agree with this statement, so I don't think Huckabee has anything for which he needs to apologize. What's wrong with saying something that's true?

    December 17, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Mike, Calgary Alberta

    Huckabee didn't go far enough. It's clear to historians and constitutional scholars that Bush/Cheney have made a concerted effort to undermine the constitution, cripple congress and the judiciary, and expand the role the of President beyond that spelled out in the constitution. The only way to do it was secretly, in their White House bunker.

    December 17, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. Dan, Illinois

    Huckabee is a liar...he doesn't even have a Degree in Theology. How can we trust him as our President if he is already lying to the public.

    December 17, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. Jim, bethlehem, Pa.

    Romney is a backstabbing coward. He is doing all he can to stab huckabee in the back and he has the gall to ask huckabee to apologize to the president..Romney is pathetic!!

    December 17, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. Gabe Williams Denver, Colorado

    I'm loving it that finally somebody has a backbone in the political arena and won't apologize everytime the chronically-offended get their soft feelings hurt. It's past time for someone to say "I'm not going to apologize, stop getting your feelings hurt, and get over it."

    December 17, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. John Marietta, GA

    For those of you that are upset with Huckleberry for daring to question the almighty GOP, you are the reason the GOP has fallen so low. Your blind party alligience has serviced you well, but in the end has been your undoing.

    When you can no longer speak the truth, point out mistakes when they're made or question very poor judgement, it is no wonder the party has no respect with the American people today. This administration has the most dangerous, the most damaging, the most deadly mistakes of any (in all of history). Those of you who think they should not be critizied or accountable for that are a major threat to everything America stands for. You can not support this blind alliegence to the party over country and still claim to be Patriotic or American. It is bad enough for the administration to deny their responability but it is un American for a citizen to burry their head in the sand because the facts do not support their idiology.

    December 17, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. Allen, Cleveland, OH

    Hey folks. Read what Huckabee actually said. He said the BUSH ADMINISTRATION has an "arrogant, bunker mentality." He didn't refer to the President, but to the entire administration. Look at what's happened over the past 7 years. I think this characterization of the Bush Administration is right on target.

    December 17, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. Tom, Iowa

    This is pretty great to watch. The Republicans hijacked the Evangelicals to get Bush in and now they have taken over the party. It's hilarious to see. If Huckabee gets the nomination, what then? Will the right fall in line? Or just not show up?

    December 17, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. June Hilton, Arlington, Texas

    Mike Huckabee's remarks show that he is perhaps a more independent thinker, and even if he loses Republican support, he may pick up some from the Democrats who didn't find anything positive about the Bush administration. Nothing.

    December 17, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. Harry, Rockville, MD

    If anyone should be apologizing it should be President Bush and his friends for bankrupting this country and lying to the American people.

    December 17, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Jim, San DIego, CA

    This is the problem I have with politics today, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said:

    “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".

    Mike Huckabee, is thinking about the country, not the Democrats or Republicans. We would be far better off if the politicians would put their country before their party.

    December 17, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. foxxy

    I love all you republicans who keep wanting to make same mistakes over and over...I say We need someone who is NOT for big business but for the people...how about someone who is willing to help keep jobs in AMERICA not for corporations getting BIG tax breaks while we normal people continue to pay taxes to make up for those that dont...I think I am going to go DEMOCRATIC, since the republicans are ROBBING us blind and you people are too stupid to see that. You are like sheep, just keep revoting some idiot in..

    December 17, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. Mike M., Atlanta, GA

    Although I would have been more diplomatic in my references to George W. Bush, there is nothing wrong with Huckabee appraising some of the mistakes made in Iraq and elsewhere. No president is above critique even by members of his own party. Nobody should take this as an attack by Huckabee on Bush. I'm sure Bush himself is not offended.

    December 17, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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