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. MikeS. New Orleans, Louisiana

    Huckabee is just another right wing neocon hack like Sen. Craig, Sen. Vitter, Tom Foley and Ted Haggard.

    Whenever you have to start your campaign commercials with "Christian Leader" you've already sold your soul.

    I hope Hucky is the GOP nominee. It will be the final nail in the neocon coffin.

    December 17, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Tom, Michigan

    He actually does have a brain of his own. I heard a pretty good answer from him on how to fix eduation in this country. Then I heard Bill Bennet call it an awful answer. Basically because he had thought about it instead of attacking the unions and the "liberals." He will never make it to be GOP nominee. He thinks too much.

    December 17, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. HT, Little Rock, AR

    After enduring this sanctimonious greedhead as governor of Arkansas for more years than I care to recall, I'm amazed that more people haven't seen through Huckabee's all-style-no-substance carney act. The man may be likable on the surface, but he is completely out of his depth in the presidential race. Do some homework, folks. Start here:

    December 17, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Eric Arage, Concord, CA

    The GOP owes this country more then just an apology. That anyone would still buy the the absolute BS they're selling is beyond comprehension. Their gift to this nation is the most pathetic excuse for leadership; unnecessary deaths of Americans and non-Americans, unnecessary debt for the majority of the population while they make their true constituents filthy rich, the immense dumbing down of the populace because this is what you need to perpetrate such devasting impact on a people and not have them outraged and in full rebellion. Our own "leaders" claim they do not need to follow the laws they create yet we should quietly submit to the endless stream of abuses of power we have witnessed for seven years? What have we become that this is acceptable to us? The Democrats are certainly no cure all but the GOP while claiming to be the party of God seems more like an instrument of the devil bent on our destruction. You think they've kept us safe? We're more hated and vilified then ever before and rightfully so – our "leadership" has behaved like a tyrant on the international stage and at home they've just been vile and inept. America is looking sad and in decline.

    December 17, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Gloria Oxford, OH

    After saying the president has an "arrogant, bunker mentality.” Huckabee lost my vote for sure. That is so unbecoming for a pastor to talk like that.

    December 17, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Heather, Chicago IL

    Of course not, Huck. But how about apologizing for raising a son that likes to torture and kill animals? Bring loaded guns onto planes?

    December 17, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Tony G/VA

    "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"

    God?? Does God also command you to kill innocent women and children in a foreign country? Does God command you to invade another country and start a war? You fanatical Christians are insanely UNAMERICAN.

    December 17, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Sam, Lincoln, NE

    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.

    Hunter in '08.

    Posted By Jeremey, Casper, Wyoming : December 16, 2007 10:27 pm

    Arrogant, bigoted comments like the one above are exactly the reason this country is so divided. As long as Republicans and their supporters continue with the self-righteous, sanctimonious assertion that only they are Christians then they will not be getting my vote...and I'm a Christian.

    The entire race for the Republican presidential nomination has turned into nothing more than a contest who can be the most bigoted and hateful. What I find particularly disconcerting is that the people who keep encouraging these candidates to show their ignorance and prejudice are hateful, hateful people like Jeremy of Casper, Wyoming, who pretend to call themselves Christians.

    December 17, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Shirley Stewart, Bethlehem Twshp, PA

    To Jeremy in Wyoming.

    I am a Democrat and obviuosly a much better Christian than you could ever hope to be. I pray for everyone, especially hateful people like you.

    I know the bible well and for the life of me I cannot think of anywhere that the Lord says I need to be pro-gun!

    December 17, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. John Bebe, Salisbury, MD

    Huckabee doesn't have anything to apologize for. If anything, this is helping him. Just look at Bush's approval ratings, if you want to get elected, the best thing for the GOP to do is to stay away from Bush.

    December 17, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Derrick W.

    Well it's about time! These are the times that the ancients have spoken, written and warned us about. Based on what has taken placed in the last 8-9 years or so, the American people are slowly arriving to the conscious of reality. My god giving wisdom is telling me that the people are craving for politicians like Huckabee and Paul to standup and call a spade a spade in the heat of battle. Not to sugar coat and spin critical issues but to challegence the status quo in order to march towards a brighter future.

    In the near/far sight of order, there must be chaos.

    December 17, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. smokie, WC Arkansas

    Huck needs to be careful when making comments about other, he was not truthful telling the american how good he did on Ark. roads, Hell, I fly right out of my seat on I-530 trying to get across Arkansas!

    December 17, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Chris, Denver CO

    Apologize? Christ, this is the first thing Huckabee has said that makes any sense!

    December 17, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Lisa Westminster, MD

    I am starting to like Ron Paul more and more each day! Huckabee doesn't have a clue of what this country wants. He supported Bush on many defected policies and now he wants to run the country. I hope the voters are not that stupid! Afterall, didn't he let a convicted rapist out while he was in office? Now, that's a good one!

    December 17, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Lynn, Atlanta, GA

    Is Mr. Fleischer kidding??? "...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..." SAFE????? Being a US citizen right now is without a doubt the scariest thing to be because Mr. Bush has caused irreparable damage to the US, starting with the Iraq misconduct to the treasonous act of allowing the name of a CIA operative who's husband was an Ambassador to be revealed...Mr. Bush, should be in jail for that act alone, anyone else who had allowed the name of a CIA agent to be revealed would have been sent to jail but under Mr. Bush’s fraudulent empire, it’s not a problem apparently.

    Let me give Mr. Fleischer a little reality check here from one of the voters he speaks of, if Mr. Huckabee doesn't agree with Mr. Bush then he's on the road to being elected by the people. Wake up and smell the lies Mr. Fleischer, because we voters certainly have.

    December 17, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. David, Dallas Tx

    Bill in Albany said, 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.

    Indeed. But, did you read Huckabee's letter? While he criticized Bush roundly, his policies basically consist of "Do what Bush did, except more":

    -Put more troops on the ground in Iraq and keep them there indefinitely.

    -Increase spending on defense.

    -Increase the size of our military even faster than Bush wants.

    -Increase spending on foreign aid to Pakistan.

    -Increase military action against the Taliban.

    -Increase the urgency of the message that Americans need to fear Islam.

    -Put conditions on Iran before establishing diplomatic relations.

    Honestly, I expected more differences, considering how often he criticized Bush. But mostly, he seems to be saying he wants to make Bush's excesses more excessive.

    December 17, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. newz4i Tucson AZ

    President Bush reads from a teleprompter and says, "My policies have kept you safe."

    For some reason 20% to 30% of Americans believe it.

    December 17, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Andrew, Little Rock, AR

    I've lived in Arkansas my entire life and I have never heard any fellow Arkansan call Huckabee "Tax Hike Mike." Those that claim such are ignorant of the facts. Under his administration taxes were raised to improve our roads (90% of our our highways were repaired and went from worst in the nation to near the top). Taxes were also raised to improve education (this was mandadated by an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that found our funding structure for schools to be unfair.) All of these tax increases were voted for on ballot measures. The people of Arkansas chose these increases and there's little the Governor could have done to stop them. Overall tax burden was lowered for the average family and revenues went way up under his administration in Arkansas.

    The man was elected 4 times in this state by healthy majorities including +40% of minority vote.

    He's not a bigot, and people here know it. He has principles and lives by them. According to the logic used by people to brand him a bigot, any Christian is a bigot if they believe what the Bible teaches. You can think homosexuality is a sin without hating homosexuals. Hate the sin, love the sinner. That's how Jesus operated. When he healed people out of compassion he sent them on their way and said, "go and sin no more." He didn't just heal them and give them a hand up and say "go about your lifestyle." Besides, there's a huge difference between opposing gay marriage and trying to outlaw homosexuality. I've heard no one suggest the latter. He's got a caring heart that is evidenced by our nation-leading child healthcare system, AR Kids First. He's a decent man.

    December 17, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. David, Dallas Tx

    Trang in Fremont said, I mean, if you are the party with 'God' by your side, wouldn't you want to lift up and help His people?

    Republicans think God only loves Americans–and mostly just rich Americans. Republicans cut taxes for the rich, cut benefits for the poor, deregulate business at the expense of the public good and make war on foreign peoples.

    December 17, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I read that article that was published and huckabee does owe our President an apology, whether he thinks so or not.
    Its huchabee's righteous attitude that needs to be noted here.

    December 17, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. columbus

    Back off of R.G. dingdongs! He/she has every right to speak his/her mind. You dems are not just sheep but BLIND sheep at that! Your two frontrunner candidates don't even have a chance against the Repubs! It's just a matter of which one we like best! You have a carpetbagger user who moved to NYC just so she could run for Senator who IS a sheep for staying with her non-stop cheating husband and you have a man who has to campaign with Oprah, and he doesn't even know how to salute the flag! How sad is that? Those are your BEST choices. haaaaaa That is HILARIOUS!!!!

    December 17, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. George Jordan, PEI, Canada

    Huckabee looks Presidential, he should play down his religious beliefs, and not make comments about other candidates religious views...if he does these things, he should be in a good position to win.

    December 17, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Ken, Suitland MD

    "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."

    That pretty much says it all. He, and all you right-wing wack-jobs who have supported the current administration while it destroys this country from within, are....well....irrelevant. You don't have the brains of a toddler, who after bearing the consequences of touching a hot stove, knows enough NOT to do it again. You, on the other hand, continue to support the burning of our national hands on the hot stove of right-wing mis-administration. You guys lambast one of your own just becasue he sees a glimpse of truth through all the clouds of deception and lies? Maybe you should follow the vapid advice of the King George's spokesman, and concentrate on denouncing the [D]s. I mean, it is the [D]s who got us into this mess, right? What a joke!!!! You guys have had the presidency and both houses of Congress the last 7-8 years, and there's no way to hide just who is responsible for this massive screw up of lies and policy disasters

    What we see here in this ticker thread is the truth behind the [R] candidates. Even as they appear to run away from the current mis-administration (who wouldn't right?), the first time they are challenged to show their right-wing credentials, we see that in fact they really do support the basic policies which have so degraded our nation these past 7-8 years. Those of us who see the corrupt choices the [R] candiates really pose, thank GOD a [D] will be in office come 2009. We'll let you people from TX, and their political bretheren, tackle the irrelevant question as to just which GOD that is.

    And, oh by the way, you can welcome into your ranks of the irrelevant, that oh- so irrelevant x-[D] Lieberman. You [R]s have fun with him, since he did work out so well for the [D]s. I'll give you one thing though, he will raise the IQ in the room when he joins your caucus.

    December 17, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. tom, Detroit, MI

    If Christians had brains they would vote Ron Paul. Unfortunately Republican does not equal Conservative any more since the christian took over the party. Unfortunately we have to sit quietly while Iowa and NH get the most influence in the nomination.

    December 17, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. diane rock island ill

    i applaud mike huckabee. on this one. you white folks [most] of you. bush and his vp. are the real american gangsters.and should get an oscar for leading us in to this war and looting all of the money from this war this war is costing where and why is this war costing so much ANSWER this cnn. we have air, sea, land, superiority so justify the cost and oh how come the bush family is worth billions now but prior to the 2nd bush presidency they weren't answer this ? cnn

    December 17, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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