December 27th, 2007
08:02 PM ET
13 years ago

Huckabee explains Pakistan comment

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(CNN) - Mike Huckabee – whose foreign policy credentials have been under a microscope since he admitted to journalists that he was unaware of a major report on Iran’s nuclear weapons program – appeared to make another minor gaffe Thursday when he seemed to suggest incorrectly that Pakistan was currently under martial law.

At an Orlando press conference, the former Arkansas governor told reporters that the United States’ first priority should be to find the responsible parties.

“But the most urgent thing to do is to offer our sincere sympathies and concerns to the family and to the people of Pakistan, and that’s the first thing we would be doing other than, again, trying to ascertain who’s behind it, and what impact does it have on whether or not there’s going to be martial law continued in Pakistan, suspension of the constitution,” said Huckabee. “Those are concerns that the United States certainly should have."

Conservative critics immediately pointed out that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lifted the country’s state of martial law roughly two weeks ago. The slip "ought to be really bad news for Huckabee," said the National Review's Jim Geraghty, writing on the magazine's Web site. "...I'm not sure how big assassination-related news will play in the first primary states. Still, I think those misstatements will exacerbate the Huck/Not Huck divide in GOP circles." The National Review has endorsed Huckabee's Republican rival Mitt Romney.

UPDATE: In a statement Thursday night, the Huckabee campaign said: "Gov. Huckabee firmly believes that emergency rule/martial law in Pakistan, as a practical matter, should not be viewed as having been completely lifted until the restrictions imposed during that period on the press and judges are removed.

"Although General Musharraf let the pendulum swing a little more freely in the last few weeks, the overall policy, which is what the Governor was addressing in his comments, has been, and continues to be, repressive."

Later Thursday, at an event in West Des Moines, Huckabee told CNN that "it was not that I was unaware it was suspended, two weeks ago, lifted. ...The point was, would it be reinstated, would it be placed back in? All of the aspects of martial law have not been completely lifted even now. There's still a heavy hand Musarraf has used."

He added, "We ought to have immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders, and particularly to make sure if there's any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country. We just need to be very, very thorough in looking at every aspect of our own security internally, because we live in a very dangerous time."


–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Jessica

    Since when did it become more important to fix other countries before fixing our own? That being said, the Middle East will always have it's termoil and be it's own worst enemy. This shouldn't distract us from what we really need find in the next head of our own nation. I am much more concerned with what is going on within our own borders and help strengthen this country of the United States. Yes, our candidates need to know what is going on in the world daily, but the candidate needs to be of a good sound mind, strength, good character to respond, initiate, encourage and choose appropriatly as a leader of the United States. Noticably, Huckabee has the right priorities, and leadership quality to deal with all of the nation's matters. My goal as a housewife, mother, Christian and 40 yr old voter is to establish moral structure, safety and finacial security for the next generation to raise a family in the United States and continue our strengths to help other countries around the world without the expense of lives and burdens.

    December 28, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. JoMomma

    I'm quite sure CNN won't allow this statement to post because it doesn't smear Huckabee, but I'm writing it anyway.

    It's unbelievable that someone can drop a purposely misinformed statement into the airways, and all you self-righteous, "intelligent," expert, airmchair know-it-alls pounce like meat to the lions. If you know so much, why don't you run for President yourselves? GIVE ME A BREAK!!

    CNN is the worst of all, i.e.: Wolf Blitzer...he can't stand Republicans in any shape, form, or fashion (and Christian believers, for that matter). He knows that if he drops innuendo, the ignorant masses (as proven by these stupid blog comments) go wild.

    Huckabee hasn't mentioned his faith on his own–all the "nuances," as you call them, are coming from MEDIA. Huck WANTS to keep it separate, media won't let him...they are hung up on it . So sue him for exercising his constiutional right by politely answering their questions. Good grief!

    The fact that this country has strayed so far from the intent ot the original framers of the Constitution is SCARY! And wouldn't it be better for a Christian to be President of our Judeo/Christian- founded country than a MUSLIM??? My gosh, people! WHAT are you thinking?

    You people think that when someone drops a smear hint at a perfectly good, knowledgeable and respectable candidate, it instantly becomes "truth." With this fact about "group mentality," it's clear to me why our forefathers invented the electoral college. The masses can't be trusted to keep the facts factual and the truth intact. Just because some uneducated (and even educated) fool says it, doesn't make it so!

    Someone makes a "he PROBABLY thinks this or that" statement, and the next thing you know, CNN is reporting it as fact, and you bloggers jump in like wild dogs to tear apart the prey.

    This is what makes me sick about our country...we don't stand for anything worthwhile or respectable anymore, but are as totally out of control as people in Pakistan and Iraq as far as group's just that we haven't progressed (yet) to the point of group violence that goes along with it in other countries. (Don't worry, that will come!)

    I am ashamed of you and your lynch-mob mentality. Get a grip, use a few brain cells and realize we live in a CIVILIZED country, not third-world! ACT LIKE IT! and stop making us the laughing stock of the rest of the world!

    December 28, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. skeetz1234

    President Jimmie Carter hit it spot on when he stated "You cannot be the President of the United States and tell the truth". So who is the best lier to vote for?

    December 28, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. Anne E., SLC

    A candidate whose knowledge of foreign policy is questionable.
    We've been there, done that since '00, we DON'T need one more!
    Please go home, Mr. Huckabee, and take your religion with you.

    December 28, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Hales, West Lafayette, IN

    This man does not appear competent to represent the United States. He is much more well spoken than Bush (W) but seems to have a weaker grasp of policy and current events, particularly foreign matters. This is troubling since even a cursory reading of the newspaper would prevent a number of his woes.

    December 28, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Cousin Wilbur

    Take it from somebody from Arkansas when I tell you this Gov. Huckleberry is one crafty weasel. When I can stomach to listen to him for about 15 seconds I realized that he literally stole about three new ideals from Ron Paul. I don't take religion literally but I will beg someone who does believe in a literal Hebrew version of a diety named Yaweh that when you pray, please ask Yaweh to let this Gov. Huckleberry wine cup pass over us.

    December 28, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Marti, FL

    William Memphis, TN
    As a Christian Democrat, I take great exception to your post. We embrace diversity in our society more so than my former Republican Party these days. I agree with your assertion that tolerance is needed all around, and part of that should be learning to respect freedom of religion in this country starting at the top with our presidential candidates. They need to quit mixing religion and politics, which has contributed to some of the backlash you mentioned.

    Huckbee is a likeable person, but he has serious issues with over speaking, creating a dangerous scenario for the highest office in our nation. Considering his strange comments at the NRA meeting, disrespectful Holocaust notion, pheasant killing comparison, lack of current information on the Iran NIE report, and now this, Huckabee does not prove well-suited to be our next president.

    December 28, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. john

    Hucksterbee does it again. He proves each day how unequipped he is to be
    president. I nominate him for archbishop.

    December 28, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  9. fred

    oh, who got this one right.......told ya all, he meant "to start up again" CNN makes a lot of stories up.

    December 28, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  10. ThirstyJon, Adelaide, South Australia - Normally USA

    What silliness. Is this all the criticism anyone can come up with on Huckabee?

    The Media is trying really hard to define Huckabee in a way that is probably not accurate.


    December 28, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. Keith, Grand Rapids, MI

    Is this guy clueless? This man has hardly any understanding by his statements, present and past, on international policy. I am sick of all of it. We have huge problems at home in the USA, than bankrupting us or constantly policing the rest of the world and thier problems. With out a doubt, Ron Paul is by far the best candidate on international policy, economy, etc in 2008. Just Google Ron Paul. Everybody is asking for change, change to what, more puppet presidents that are influenced by money and contributions by special interest groups. Look at the last 5 presidents, did they accomplish really anything, was there really any change?

    December 28, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  12. Wayne in KC

    Come on Huck! Get that nomination so the Dems can have a landslide in November!!! Even Obama could beat him, course then we'd be in trouble too...

    December 28, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  13. NG

    Dumber than Bush...Vote the Huckster in 2008!!!

    December 28, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. Jordon Sumner

    He added, "We ought to have immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders, and particularly to make sure if there's any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country. We just need to be very, very thorough in looking at every aspect of our own security internally, because we live in a very dangerous time."

    WHAT the hell?! This guy's absolutely clueless if he thinks we're going to see people on ships headed for the U.S. The 'dangerous time' line is so overused, it's cliche now.

    December 29, 2007 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  15. RB, Orange, CA

    Overall, Huckabee is a mixed bag to me....

    In the debates, I thought Huckabee did better than the rest among the Republican bunch – I am a democrat myself.

    That whole thing with bird hunting in Iowa was weird I thought and he looked like a buffoon to me with "I am an outdoors kinda guy" photo op thing.

    These "gaffes" about Pakistan...well, honestly, I dunno....I dont think they are a big deal. Seems a little blown out of proportion honestly.

    December 29, 2007 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  16. Dan Sterber

    I love this guy...he is very funny, as in George Bush funny....his campaign theme should be "keep the world laughing...with presidential gaffing ...elect Mike Bushabee!"

    December 29, 2007 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  17. Tammara, OH

    Steve Prost, you are so blind. How is ANY of this Romney's fault? Maybe Huck's abysmal tax and spend policies as Governor was also Romney's fault. Maybe Huck's complete lack of any foreign policy intelligence is also Romney's fault. Maybe Huck's complete flip-flop on illegal immigration in this country is also Romney's fault. And if Mike says something else stupid and the media reports it, that'll also be Romney's fault. Give me a break!

    The fact is you are so blinded by this "Christian Leader" (I'm Christian) that you will do and say anything to cover his past faults and lack of anything we should consider to be Presidential material. He is NOT going to be the next President. The Democrats ARE going to slaughter this guy in the general election. The sooner you wake up and realize that the better. Romney's fault, give me a break

    December 29, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Scott

    Joe, you can't be serious? You're comparing the ignorance of a small, unknown congressperson to that of a man running to be leader of the free world? Of course one is more newsworthy than the other.

    December 29, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. J Williamson Bufalo, NY

    If you like Bush you'll love Huckabee! It's all here: the gaffes, uniformed, or just plain dumb comments, and the ever popular one dimensional thinking (re religious thinking vs using a God-given brain). Oh, go ahead and nominate him Repubs – the thought just warms Dem hearts everywhere!

    December 29, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. nba legend

    What a world we live in. Heaven help us all.

    . . . #4

    December 29, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. ropol, Wyo

    Is it true that Huckabee's zip code is really e-i-e-i-oh?

    As a Democrat all I can say is "OH GOD Please let Huckabee get the GOP nomination"...or Gulianni...or Romney...or...Thompson!

    December 29, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. Student

    Mike Huckabee's comment show's he is alot smarter then most of the people posting a comment on this link. Why do I say this, becuse by the comments of most people, they believe just becausce Perez Musharrat lifted the country's state of martial law the country no longer operates in the manner it did under marital law. Perez Musharrat's step in in lifting martial law did not lifted the restrictions imposed on press, judges, others as Huckabee pointed out. Pakistan is still in much upheveal and the people of the country do not have the liberty we enjoy in our country. Huckabee openend his heart to us and told us when he see's the violence that surrounds politics in some countries it makes him happy he lives in this one. Closed minded people twist his words and others can't see past their own biases to see what Mike is actually saying. He is an honest, caring man, with a clearer understanding of reality then most.

    December 29, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. Mark

    I am more concerned about his theological views related to country of Israel. Would he make foreign policy based on interests of US and it allies ? Or perhaps he just believes something like "God wants to have more west bank settlements" and make that belief part of US foreign policy ?

    December 29, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  24. Nancy

    I am surprised at the lack of respect for a man who obviously is able in many ways. We as common citizens have no idea how much support it takes to be well-versed on international politics as the President of the United States. No one is really adequately prepared for this office unless they have been either Secretary of State or Vice President of the United States.

    So I think if you have some really constructive criticism, you should with hold your decision on this until there is more substance to support chalking him off the list of prospective Presidents, just because of an off-the-cuff comment that isn't really being clearly reported either.

    We need the media to back off on their editorialism. So often they use negative words to describe an event and it makes people judge too quickly, and not based on facts. We need to be wary of anything that comes from the media...even FOX is not completely unbiased. I have been amazed however in how blatently biased the MSNBC and CNN "reporting" has been in the past. It is almost embarassing the bias they have, and they refuse to admit it.

    Please conduct yourselves with some intelligence. So many people follow along like sheep....look at the comments on this blog. Good example of that.

    January 5, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
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