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

Huckabee explains Pakistan comment

Watch Obama react to Bhutto's death

Watch Huckabee react to Bhutto's death.

(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. Mark

    This guy is a moron. I've said it all along and he does nothing but solidify that. Do not need him as president. Nothing but a Bush clone that is trying to back off it to get votes. Can't escape your past voting record Huckleberry.

    December 28, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. He's at it again

    Huckabee made yet another foreign policy gaffe on "Mornign Joe" He cliamed that Afghanistan was on the Eastern Border of Pakistan. Huckabee must be one of the people that Ms. Teen USA said didn't have a map.

    Huckabee's campaign is imploding when it gets to serious issues – his comedian routine won't carry him.

    December 28, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. Chuck, Pittsburgh

    His camp will justify everything because he professes to be a Christian. They can do no wrong. So long Micky Huckelberry. Your campaign is burying itself. Maybe you should start praying for a miracle. I hope Iowa voters aren't as moronic as the polls there are showing.

    December 28, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. John Horan

    The Vice-Presidency would be a good place for Mike to learn.

    December 28, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Paul Helderle

    While I agree that Creationism (or Intelligent Design) is not science and I tend to believe in Darwinism, but I'm not opposed to Creationism as maybe being a possiblitiy, but more importantly I just don't think the best political path to achieving policies, that require votes across party lines, is best achieved by writing off a large segment of our population that believes in Creationalism.

    I'm a Chicago raised catholic boy who lives in Texas and I married to a woman who goes to a baptist church every Sunday. As does her Sister, Mom and daughter and son in law. They go to 4 different Baptist churches in this area and they all believe in Creationism. They all reject Darwinism. They did not evolve from apes. PERIOD. I've had serveral conversatation with them on this and there is no changing it.

    But they are good people. And one should not discount such voters. By my political accounting they should be Democrats. But are not and discount the democrats completely. Why...who knows.

    As a political strategist from afar what harm does it do to teach both Creationalism and Darwinism in school. I think Democrats have all to gain and nothing to loose by supporting the notion that it is okay to teach Creationalism in school.

    I just think the Democratic party could win more political points, aka votes for their candidates, thus votes for their policy agenda, if they reached out more to the religious community. What harm does it do to spend 1 hour talking about Creationalism. It's a no harm no foul in my book. You have parents paying into the public school system but sending their kids to private religious schools. Should they be double taxed on this? I think the non-religious community could give the religious community a bone on this one. I have my own concerns about religious dogma and it's political influence on our society but teaching 1 hour of Creationalism is not one of them.

    December 28, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. annette

    This "humble" preacher has turned quite ignorant. I can't believe people nor the media caught on to his sick humor about the dead birds. Wow, if I don't vote for him, I die?

    December 28, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Craig Louisville KY

    Just one of Mr. Mike Theocracy’s mistakes. Unlike a number of other candidates on both sides of the political spectrum they have had every word written or spoken investigated by the American people Mr. Theocracy refuses to release his speeches from the pulpit to the viewing eyes of the public. Also, he signed on to the Southern Baptist Convention pledges including “ Wives are to be Submissive to their husbands” What Mr. Theocracy really needs to do is go be a tour guide at the Creation Museum in Northern KY. If somehow he wins the republican nomination he would only carry his home state, Utah, Texas and the Deep South. Please please republicans nominate this American version of a Taliban Imam he would usher in at least 8 yeas of the Democrats controlling all three branches of government. Simply put a Vote for Mr. Theocracy is a vote for Hillary. JUST THINK ABOUT IT.

    December 28, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Chris

    Why is the mainstream media so hellbent on making mountains out of mole hills...I understand that FOX and the rest of the powerful EXXON, Halliburton, Texas Oil, Big Corp, etc-sponsored republican media machine are TERRIFIED of Mike Huckabee...but CNN??? How about Wolf Blitzer reporting that Obama's spokesperson blamed Hillary Clinton for Bhutto's assassination...??? Come on!! If you listen to the comments you'll see the context of the point being made. I actually used to respect Wolf, but he seems to have joined the Jerry Springer-style media pack who try to instigate stuff that they can report. Huckabee does seriously need to brush up on his foreign affairs, but thats just as needed as Romney, Guilliani etc brushing up on the needs of struggling component of America thats living from check-to-check. These candidates have stated several times that the economy is "going just great"...for real???

    December 28, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. MB - HY

    This comment is to PY, Illinois. When you make a statement like 'the Bush administration has ruined everything the past 8 long years. '

    Would you be more specific, just like a liberal makes statements and can’t back them up, or won’t acknowledge that he has done something right.

    Lets say keep us safe. Not another attact after Clinton got us attacted on 9/11

    Who cares about France or Germany, they are never on our side of anything.

    As for Huck walk a few miles in his shoes, before you throw him under the bus.

    December 28, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Mindy Chatsworth, California

    Fred –

    It's people like you who make my point. I simply find it astounding that you actually try to justify the creationist point of view regarding evolution. So we are to believe the bible as written verbatim, right? I guess that is your source for all information. It shows. It never ceases to amaze me how people will fall back on stories and fairytales and live in blissful ignorance. I guess we should discard all scientific data, knowledge and research.

    You would have us march backwards and regress completely. You don't question or think or reason, you just believe the bible as the word of God and that's it. Thank goodness that many of us still do reason and think. In the Scopes Monkey trial, Clarence Darrow said that the man who was put on trial for teaching evolution wanted to have the right to think. But now you come along and start rambling about Lucy and trying to make the case for creationism for evolution.

    I do have the ability to use my intelligence and brains and one thing I know is that I do not want someone like Huckabee as president of my country. He can spin his minister's pleasant sounding righteous pieties all he wants, but as for holding the highest office in the land – forget it! His latest gaffe is not the worst, that is yet to come. We have only just scratched the surface of this man's utter ignorance.

    This country needs someone of strength, intelligence, great ideas, fortitude, perseverance and courage to solve the difficult problems that we face. But here we have Huckabee with his fables and biblical quotes and that's supposed to take the place of real thought and real problem solving? I don't want someone who will run to the bible to find solutions to the problems of this world. I want someone who has the brains to think for themselves. Huckabee does not meet this test.

    December 28, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. nick

    he looks like president palmer of "24"...he even speaks like him....good enough reasoa for me

    December 28, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Carl Hitch, Attica, MI

    Nevertheless... this guy is a genius compared to George W. Bush!!!

    December 28, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. Mike, Fredericksburg, VA

    To Mike in Boston:
    "Did I read that right??? Did Mike Huckabee just say that it's the responsibility of the United States to track down the assassin of a former leader of Pakistan? Can someone explain to me why that's our responsibility?

    Furthermore, maybe if we spent our time and money looking for Bin Laden instead of attacking Iraq for the last 5 years, Bhutto would still be alive."

    Don't you realize those two paragraphs contradict each other? You are saying it isn't the responsibility of the US to track down Bhutto's assassins, and yet wonder why we haven't been looking for Bin Laden, whose organization was undoubtedly behind Bhutto's murder. Bhutto's enemines are our enemies – that's why Mike Huckabee said we should be tracking down those responsible.

    December 28, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Guy R. - Coldwater Ohio

    I truly think that a Huckabee/Guiliani ticket is the best ticket for the US. A strong ethical man like Huckabee for President, and Guiliani to be VP and take care of the foreign affairs. With Guiliani having ethical issues, i don't think he can when this time around but after 8 years of them both, he may be able to convince voters that he can lead the nation after proving himself.

    December 28, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Juan , Jacksonville Florida


    December 28, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Mike, Fredericksburg, VA

    "This is one reason why he is known as CHUCKLE-bee in Arkansas. He has no buisness being in politics, much less President….As a Republican, he is a "no go" as an Arkansan, he is an embarressment. "

    Gee, and despite that, he won four statewide elections in Arkansas. Somebody in Arkansas must have thought he was doing a pretty good job.

    December 28, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Skott J.

    MIke Huckabee is not running for President. He is running for Theologian In Chief. We've had 8 disasterous years of ideaology under our current idiot President. Enough is enough! This guy wants to ram his God down our throats. No thank you. My God doesn't resemble the narrow minded God that the Republican party wants to institutionalize. The only people who will vote for him are the uneducated right wing nuts who don't care about anything other than religion. Wake up America.

    December 28, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Tim T.

    And some folks think this uninformed Bible thumper would make a good president!
    Politics in the US is pathetic.

    December 28, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Jeff

    How many people actually researched this topic, oh wait, here's an even better one. Who actually read the article??? I don't believe to many of you have done either, In fact, I believe half these comments are one person under several names. Anyways my point is, Huckabee makes a solid argument for what he said. Do you really believe martial law has been completely lifted, just like that??? It's not that simple, Life isn't perfect. That's the problem with half of America today. Everyone thinks that life shouldn't be something you should work for. Face the facts. Life isn't perfect, Mike Huckabee knows it, as well as a few other canidates thankfully, and he's not making any stupid little fairy princess promises to win over support.
    Oh and when did being a christian turn you into the devil???? Someone has a few crossed wires.

    December 28, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Evan, Roseburg OR

    I see no gaffe. You can continue something that has been temporarily discontinued. Huckabee never said Pakistan was still under martial law, so what's the big deal? Also, for those comparing this to the things Bush has said, you obviously have never heard what Bush has said. Some of Bush's statements don't even have the semblance of English.

    December 28, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Evan, Roseburg OR

    Also, I love the Jim Geraghty quote. "I'm not sure how important this really is, but it will certainly add to the division of America."

    Just the kind of headlines CNN needs.

    December 28, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. Robert, Bryan TX

    He is human just like all the rest of you. Humans make mistakes, and that is OK. No one is perfect. A mistake doesn't mean your stupid, or ignorant, and anything else. You people trying to crusify him over this small mistake only shows how stupid YOU are. Let's not forget the old saying, "He who is without sin should cast the first stone". In this case sin means imperfection.

    Mike Huckabee is the best candidate for president of this country, and he has shown it many times over! The only other would be Ron Paul, but he needs to do a lot of work to catch up in the poles. Please, before you rob Huckabee to pay Paul, have him get his stats up!!!

    Jeesh, just give the guy a break!!!

    December 28, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. don

    For all who want Ron Paul for President, did you happen to see him on Meet The Press? The guy sounds like a nut. Tim Russert asked him first about abolishing the IRS and what he would do about the loss of a trillion dollars in tax revenue. His response, "Well, I, uh, uh I, uh, I, we need to cut spending." Next to him, Huck's a genius.

    December 28, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Brenda

    I love how people call Huckabee followers "idiots." Yeah, that really elevates the conversation to a mature level. Just because someone misspeaks doesn't mean they are ignorant or stupid. We all do it, and I could point to every single President and every single person who has ever ran for President and expose the "gaffes" they have made. Hillary is one of the worst offenders And btw, when was the last time we had a President with alot of foreign policy experience? The 1920's?

    December 28, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Brad, Stockton, CA

    The United States was foolish to deal with a dictator to begin with, however our history shows that we have done just that time and time again – we have supported the most worthless of international leaders provided those leaders are considered economically friendly to the interests of corporate America, which is in itself gradually making its way out of America.

    The United States supported the Shaw of Iran until he was overthrown, the United States supported President Marcos until he was ousted. The assasination of Bhutto simply makes the dictatorship of Musharraf that much easier to continue and strengthen itself, and with Musharraf doing little or nothing in the "war on terror," little or nothing will have changed.

    The United States is supporting Musharraf however supporting a person is not the same as supporting democracy or Pakistan. We are providing our support to the dictator of a nuclear armed and failing nation who will one day turn on us with the help of the money and aid that we have provided.

    December 28, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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