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. N. Smith

    It does not matter which one they endorse, both are as bad as the other. Not really much of a choice.

    December 17, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Danny Casolaro, Martinsburg, WV

    Brilliant political move by Huckabee.

    In one swoop he manages to gather up an entire demographic of Republican voters who aren't afraid to admit that GWB was a disaster, while at the same time grabbing a large swath of moronic Democratic voters who will like anyone who criticizes the President.

    Commenter Mike is right in that no one will attain the office of the presidency unless chosen to do so by the international corporate cartel and their foreign policy arm, headed by the CFR-and if it just so happens it turns out to be Huckabee, then free-thinking (read: people who aren't subservient to religion) needn't worry about winding up in the concentration camps that Huckabee would love to see built for anyone who is not a Christian.
    You see, running for president is only a matter of rhetorical promises.
    Just like all Republican candidates have paid lip service, or rather deliberately lied to anyone opposing abortion when they tell them that they would work to have it outlawed, so to will anyone elected to the presidency of the United States be beholden to only one master--the international corporate cartel.
    That person has already been chosen, and the (s)election is over.
    The next president is Hillary Clinton, and nothing will stop that from being the end result.

    December 17, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. TN / NYC

    Huckabee seems like a good man. He seems to be a non-partisan, honest, articulate and friendly guy. Unlike Romney who is a panderer, Guliani who's a criminal, McCain who is too old and out of touch and Thompson who is too mean-spirited and aloof, Huckabee seems like the only Republican I could see supporting if he became President. Unfortunately Huckabee doesn't believe in a woman's right to choose or in evolution, has no foreign policy experience and mentioned that he thinks Duncan Hunter would be a good Secretary of Defense. A good man who would attempt to lead the whole country and not just the Republican base but clearly unqualified for the office. The Democrats are simply running better candidates this time around. They have 4 people: Obama, Clinton, Biden and Edwards that could easily step in tomorrow and start cleaning up the mess that Bush has either made or complicated due to his "arrogant, bunker mentality" and that doesn't mention the "Katrina" sized disaster Bush has been on domestic issues.

    December 17, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. B, Miami, FL

    So he stands up to Bush and he's all of a sudden a hero, but when democrats stand up to Bush they're attacked.

    I would NEVER vote for this guy. If you want to see another Bush, but ten times worse, then he's your man.

    December 17, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. AJ, San Diego, CA

    That the Democrats like this guy tells me that there is NO way I will vote for Huckabee. The Dems also like that loon Ron Paul. Enough said. Huckabee is a smooth talker, with little substance, so of course the left embraces him.

    December 17, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Mark Stevens Missoula MT

    Ari, You serial liar, what happened on 9-11 he didn't keep us safe then!

    December 17, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Christopher McIntire

    Bravo Mike. I'm a proud republican, but I do believe that the current foreign mentality is wrong. Can't a presidental candidate state how they feel? And when the vast majority of Americans don't agree with the current agenda and don't want another Bush, shouldn't the presidental hopefuls show that they won't be another Bush? It's a strength, and Mike Hukabee has nothing to apologize for.

    December 17, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Imran, Lawrence, USA

    Note to former spokesman Ari Fleischer.

    We the voters think a man should speak his mind.

    And we certainly don't advocate supporting a candidate who is toothless, brainless, and seemingly castrated.

    In a 24/7, 365 World we are just one nation amongst hundreds of nations.

    At least Huckabee sees it and calls it like it is.

    December 17, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. TimJowers, Cary, NC

    When the race first started my father said Huckabee would rise ot the top. I've been a supported of Ron Paul but took a voting test and found Huckabee came out very high ( In fact, the matrix pegs him as winning overall – but says Hillary Clinton is in last place with the web voters so maybe its skewed toward republicans.

    December 17, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Dan C

    Mike Huckabee sure “sounds good” with his smooth talk but the more I learn about this guy the less I like him. I mean here is a guy that would be a disaster for the GOP. He gave over a 1000 commutations and pardons as Governor (more the double the three previous Arkansas Governor’s gave combined…twelve of which were to convicted murderers) so we know that he is soft on crime. He raised over $500 million in taxes. He favored college tuition breaks for illegal immigrants. And, all this stuff is coming out about his ethics. He has way too much political baggage to be successful the general election. Sure, he may sound good with his witty one-liners and lip service to stir the emotions, but this guy is not the right choice for the GOP.

    December 17, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Brenda Dallas Texas

    So now does that mean that Ari Fisher now needs to appologize for the remark that he just made about the Democratic candudates???

    December 17, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. mrsmarshall

    I read an awful lot of judgemental attitude in this comment section. If I remember correctly, Bill and Hillary have associated themselves their entire lives with the Christian faith. Those of you who think that their political actions negate those beliefs are committing a sin, and obviously have no regard for the whole "Grace by Faith" section of the gospels.

    Shame on you all!! Personally, I'll vote for the man or woman who is best qualified to lead our country, and won't be basing my decision on what church or temple or mosque they attend.

    As for feeling safe... I feel okay here in my hometown, but I'm afraid that international travel is out for most Americans now. The current President has ruined this country's formerly admirable position in the global scene and made each one of us a moving target for extremists and lunatics. Yeah, thanks Mr. Bush.

    December 17, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Tim Jowers, Cary, NC

    Posted By Pedro A. Delgado Miami, Fl. : December 16, 2007 7:39 pm

    Excellent post. I think a LOT of people don't know the Constitution-defined freedoms which were/are over-ruin by the present administration nor the enormously huge liability in the credit markets due to soft money/credit bubble/RE bubble. We can hope our next leader will be more fiscally and politically conservative and harken back to the principals which make this country great.

    December 17, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Wrong – Mike Huckabee has EVERYTHING to apologize for....

    December 17, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. MC- Atlanta, GA

    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 ))))

    WOW this person Votes?? Tell me, what is the difference between this sort of thinking and the leaders of Iran, Saudia Arabia? The only difference is that the thinking is towards another religion but wow this is a scary type of thinking – and very dangerous. If you want to live in a religious state- move to the Middle East R.G.!


    December 17, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Huckabee is certainly NOT a gentleman. Without question, after his display of unethical comments regarding Mormonism and toward President Bush, he should NOT be considered a person qualified for President. Voters should beware that this man has no character or integrity. Huckabee is a man without moral fiber....and he's supposed to be an ordained minister? No Way. Romney was extremely impressive yesterday in an hour long conversation explaining his views. He never raised his voice, lost his composure or spoke unkindly or without sincere voice in regard to any other candidate. When he stated that Huckabee should apologize to President Bush, the world breathed a sigh of relief that one of the candidates for President has integrity and moral fiber. Mitt is his own man and will be a superb President, if voters elect him. Romney can handle himself wherever he appears with the refinement and ALL the quality of a gentleman....NOT so, Huckabee. Huckabee has now shown his true color, and mind-set and is NOT the person this great Nation should elect. President Bush is our President, and he should be treated and spoken about in the highest terms. Yes, Huckabee should apologize. Huckabee is a pea- brained undereducated jerk with a big mouth; Huckabee is a joke!

    December 17, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Frank, Tempe AZ

    Huckabee makes this comment that if a democrat had made would be considered anti-American and not supporting the troops. His tax record is horrible, he accepted money while governor from outside interest for speechs. He set up a gift registry to buy a house and other items when leaving office. His son may have killed a dog and he fires someone for not making the charge go away fast enough. (See Newsweek) His is a bigot and his statements in the 90's concerning AIDs patients and his anti-science beliefs make him such an easy target in the general election the dems cannot wait. I am a Christian Republican voter but there is no way I will ever support this guy. The extreme right of the party is pushing away more and more people.

    December 17, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Liddie

    Huckabee is another turn-coat, he is a coward.
    I would never vote for him, but then again, he will never be the candidate.
    Another Jimmy Carter, he is too weak, I do not trust him!

    December 17, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Tim, Houston, Tx

    The "christian Texan" comment is about a narrow minded as they come. This "hateful" comment is common sense not blind faith in stupidity.

    An open minded Texan.

    December 17, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. James, Illinois

    Why is there a demand for an apology? Huckabee speaks the truth as he sees it- his opinion, and has to apologize for it? And why is the Bush administration so worried about him turning his attention towards criticizing the Dems? Since when do people not get to speak their opinions in this country? If he believes criticism is warranted, then so be it. Sounds as though the Bush administration knows of their screw-ups, and they want to divert the attention to save face. The public wants to hear from the candidates- and the candidates need to be honest with their opinions. No loyalties- honesty. If Huckabee has criticisms, then let the people know, and we'll make the decision.

    December 17, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. Brewdog

    Whats there to apologize for, everything he said is true.

    December 17, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Charlie Houston Texas

    I don't get it when people say Huckabee is standing up against Bush's policies. How are his policy any different. Continue the iraq war for "honor," until "we" fix the country. Encourage troop surge. Sanction Iran instead of talking to her. Use the military if necessary with Iran, inspite of no evidence, just conjecture of atomic weapons.

    Oh, he is different in one respect. He would consider attacking pakistan, "assuming" Bin Laden is there inspite of Pakistan saying stay out. Huckabee policies actually advocate more americans fighting in the middle east.

    Huckabee criticizes "style" but does not change the substance of the debate. Please people, wake up!

    December 17, 2007 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    Romney's a moron. And if anybody has some apologizing to do, it's our Idiot in Chief, Bush. He owes several thousand apologies to the American people regarding his destructive and corrupt tenure as President. Easily he's the Worst President Ever.

    December 17, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. Christopher, hating all repukes equally, Madison, WI

    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.
    Posted By Shawnie – Grants Pass, OR : December 16, 2007 4:21 pm

    Perhaps you're confusing neo-cons with Republicans. Do some history reading before you open your thought bubble or lack there of.

    December 17, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Pat Flanagin, Forrest City, AR

    Huckabee never apologizes for anything. Sadly, he never apologized to Dumond's rape and murder victims or their families. He never apologized for his ethics violations (and related tax evasions) for which he was twice fined. He never apologized when his son was fired as a camp counselor for hanging and torturing a dog to death.

    December 17, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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