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. Don Lee, Cloudcroft, NM

    Huckabee is a Democrat in Republican clothing.

    December 17, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. John, Dallas, TX

    I'm pleased Huckabee is refusing to back down over these comments. What is wrong with expressing your beliefs. I'm *horrified* that others have posted that we shouldn't criticize our President, or that Republicans should only criticize Democrats, et al. This leads straight to dictatorship.

    December 17, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Ray, miami beach fl

    Thank you President Huckabee, you are spot on with your comment, and Mr. Romney stick to the issues and dont try to defend this president, we still have a right in this country to state our views, contrary to this presidents view and his supporters whom seem to think his and his administrations lies and arrogance along with he and only he is right. Mr. Romney you will more than likely lose my vote if you pursue this critism road.....ray

    December 17, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Ken, Tampa

    Jeremey your idea of "Christian" is twisted. Go read your Bible and pay more attention to what Jesus says.

    December 17, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Sam Lutz, FL

    Don't confuse likeability with electability. Huckabee is a Christian conservative who would certainly let his faith direct his presidency (sound familiar)? For once, I would like to see a president who is directed by what should be done, rather than what hallucinations tell them to do. So, while Huckabee is likeable, I doubt he would be very open-minded.

    And by the way, Huckabee shouldn't have to apologize to Bush. George W. Bush owes the American people, the Iraqi people, and the rest of the world, a huge apology and a huge acceptance of responsibility for his actions. He should also step down for his reprehensible actions which we have seen time after time again throughout his tenure as dictator.

    December 17, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Paula R., Austin, TX

    Sorry, did Ari Fleischer say that the President has kept us "safe"? Seriously?

    How many troops have died in the Middle East?

    December 17, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Anna, Ithaca, NY

    Huckabee should apologize for trying to steal all of Ron Paul's ideas. Criticizing Bush, advocating a humble foreign policy, even his website format (live fundraising feed, section that switches through various topics) are all taken from Dr. Paul.

    Sorry Huckabee, Paul has been advocating his ideas for much longer and has a consistent, principled record to back it up. He is a man of integrity who doesn't let his faith become entangled in his politics. He recognizes that secular government is not a solution to spiritual problems, and that's something all Americans who call themselves Christians should wake up to.

    December 17, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Paula R., Austin, TX

    And in response to R.G. in Dallas's post:
    Please don't think everyone in Texas supports Bush, is Republican, or even Christian.

    December 17, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Dave C - NJ

    I have to LOL at all the "God comments" as of late.

    Here's a thought:
    None of you know what God wants. The Bible was written by slugs just like you and me. You all believe in it because you were raised to, just like radical Muslims follow a birth-incited doctrine. I believe in God, but despise religion. I don't need religion to tell me not to kill or steal. Seems like we can thank religion for a lot of killing over the last 2000 that what God wanted?
    Stop being sheep, people. Leave God out of politics. It's almost 2008.

    December 17, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    What a twisted sense of perception Mitt Romney has ... oh yeah, I forgot, party over morality – vote for Mitt!

    Mike Huckabee has no reason to apologize for telling the truth about WPE Bush.

    Republicans would be advised to distance themselves from the current occupant of the White House. Bush will cause the GOP to think of the '06 election elections as the "good old days" unless they break away from his corrupting control.

    December 17, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. jfz

    Why should Huckabee apologize to anyone? He's destined himself to soon fade back into obscurity.

    December 17, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Patrick Ferris - Seattle, WA

    I'm wondering why everybody is talking about Huckabee's "surge" when Ron Paul just broke the record for most money donated in one day and is on course to be the top GOP fund-raiser in the 4th quarter. In fact, it isn't even mentioned in any of the major news sources.

    Another thing that I find odd is that for all of the talk of the top contenders in each party, so far the ONLY signs I've seen in Seattle are for Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and some for Obama. SO WHAT IS UP??

    Yellow journalism at it's best. It's called yellow because it isn't's REGURGITATION from your handlers.

    December 17, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. KM, Phoenix AZ

    Fleischer says that Bush kept us safe...HELLO. Who was President on September 11, 2001? George W. Bush. Who was President during the unsolved Anthrax attacks? George W. Bush. If that is keeping us "safe" I'd really hate to see what would happen if Bush dropped the ball keeping us "safe.

    December 17, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    “arrogant, bunker mentality.” Well, is he lying or not? Bush seems arrogant and distant to me. Fist thing I've agreed with Huckleberry about . . . maybe he IS the best of the 'publicans.

    December 17, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. Dave C - NJ

    Best post ever:
    God does command us to pray for our leaders, assuming they share our Christian beliefs. The Clintons and most Democrats do not, therefore, we have no duty to pray to them. Only Republican Presidents have the unique Christian qualities. If you're not pro-life, pro-gun, pro-marriage, then you're not worth praying for.

    WOW! Remind me to never visit Wyoming. I didn't think anyone that talked like that had running water, let alone a computer. Real Christian mentality, "Jeremy."

    I love how the religious nuts love their guns. I guess it's ok to have a gun out in the middle of nowhere, but I don't think our founding fathers envisioned 11 year olds in inner cities shooting each other with automatic weapons. They had flint-locks didn't they?

    And God Forbid someone gets an abortion, but it's ok to bomb people? What? Please explain this.

    December 17, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Billy J Austin, Tx

    You can't blame Huckabee for such a lousy administration. Will it EVER end? I have been disappointed by every president we have had, that I can remember, beginning with Carter. But this administration takes the cake... then they eat it, and throw the plate on the floor and blame the cook. Gooo Huckabee!

    December 17, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Kevin H, Nashville, TN

    Bush has not kept us safe at all. He maintains a climate of fear to keep his regime in power. We need a regime change here in the USA. However, homophobic Huckabee isn't much better. He is a bigot and his backwards Baptist views will set this country back even further. No one in their right mind would vote for this nut, but people voted for Bush who is the same as voting for the village idiot. Larry the cable guy would be a better President than Bush has. Bush will be the worst President ever in the eyes of history, unless Huckabee gets elected.

    December 17, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Hope / Northeast USA

    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.
    Posted By R. G., Dallas, TX : December 16, 2007 3:33 pm

    People who make comments like this clearly aren't emotionally stable or intelligent enough to handle the magnitude of their right to vote. Luckily I'm confident these sort of people are out numbered and mainly found in Texas. People like this are sheep looking desperately for a shepard to lead them. That is why they love someone like Bush so much. He gives them clear answers to the difficult questions and problems that face us all. Don't worry if these answers are ethical, correct or in our best interest. Bush says them in a firm way, masked as religious gospel. To people like R.G. from Dallas, nothing is open to a moment of self-reflection or critical evaluation. People who don't allow their beliefs and thoughts to evolve are dangerous b/c they don't learn from mistakes. Instead they make the same mistakes over and over again, further complicating their situation. It would be nice if everyone could have an open mind and heart in their approach to life and people but sadly there are too many sheep.

    December 17, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Andy B Goodyear, AZ

    Huckabee admits that he's been with the WORST President in US history on more issues than Romney? Sounds like political suicide to me. Way to go Huckabee you just showed everybody that your just as dumb as the village idiot from Texas.

    December 17, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. glenn,monrovia,ca.

    The only person that needs to apoligize is Bush and his cabinet for shredding the constitution and being a dictator.We used to be a democracy a long time ago,and we were a republic for a long while.For the the last seven years this country has been leaning towards communism.

    December 17, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. Keith, Baltimore, MD

    I guess the Huckleberry camp is now trying to advise Mike to distance from Bush. hard to cover up your past, Huckleberry. you marched in step with Bush now we're supposed to believe you? whatever slimeball. you are not good for this country.

    December 17, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Anonymous

    To Gary Denson:
    Since when Republican say NO to big business. It's a dream that will never come true.

    He's a boot licker and he always will be.

    December 17, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. B.B. Tennessee

    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.

    Posted By R. G., Dallas, TX : December 16, 2007 3:33 pm"

    R.G. , as a Christian myself, I can understand your statement, however, I do not agree with it. That does not mean I am stabbing you in the back. It just means I don't agree with you. Yes, God commands us to pray for our leaders. It does not mean we have to agree with them or how they lead. We pray that God will show them the correct path and give our leader wisdom. You are also responsible as a Christian to tell your brother or sister when they are going down the wrong path. You are responsible to stand up to them as well as pray for them. I am not questioning your Christianity but I feel a lot of Christians today use bits and pieces of scriptures so their ends justify their means instead of taking the entire scripture into the context in which it was intended to be used. Just like a lot of Christians state you are not to judge people. This is erroneous. The Bible actually states in more or less words to be careful how you judge least you be judged. In other words, as you judge others, you yourself will be judged. Don't hold yourself higher than the person sitting next to you. I am a Southern Baptist. I voted for Bush twice because frankly, he was the better, or so I thought, of two evils. I pray every morning and night that God would give him wisdom to lead our country. I do not agree with all of his politics and I believe as we say down south, he has become too big for his britches. I like Huckabee because I like his honesty, however, I think it is too early for me to throw my support behind him. I do not believe he should have to apologize for his use of his constitutional right to free speech.

    As far as everyone talking about his skeletons in his closet, I am sure everyone here has skeletons in his or her closet. I know I do. I may be Christian but I am not perfect. All of us have made decisions that we wish we could take back. I know I have.

    Ok, I will come off of my soapbox. I hope everyone here has a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous and happy New Year!! God bless you and your families!

    December 17, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. Bob, Orlando, FL

    you are spot on Mike. the CFR picks and chooses these puppets. if they are members of the CFR then the voters need to educate themselves and steer clear.

    December 17, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. Daniel, NY

    Thompson has been the highest hitting Republican though against Huckabee - check this mailer he sent out this week-end blasting "Huckabee university" for welcoming illegal immigrants.

    December 17, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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