January 11th, 2008
04:02 PM ET
7 years ago

Huckabee: America can save Michigan

DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) - Mike Huckabee put his main street economic populism to a Wall Street test Friday in a speech before the Detroit Economic Club.

He said there are clear indicators the American economy is growing, but urged the audience to look at the "micro economy" and said "instead of talking to the people at the head table, talk to people in the kitchen."

"If you talk to the people driving the cabs instead of riding in them, you might get a different picture of what's happening in this country," he said, drawing scattered, polite applause.

Huckabee echoed but challenged the campaign mantra of John Edwards' 2004 presidential bid: "I don’t believe this idea we can have two Americas. We are one America."

Michigan's economic woes, he said, can be alleviated with more job training programs, less government regulation, and by putting America and other emerging global economies on "a level playing field," though he offered few specifics on how to meet that goal.

"There was a time in this nation's history when Michigan saved America," Huckabee said, describing the state's historically formidable manufacturing base. "And now it may be time for America to help save Michigan."

He also touted the so-called Fair Tax, a plan designed to tax consumption that has drawn strong grassroots support nationwide but is considered by unlikely to pass in Washington.

The appearance in Detroit follows a Republican debate in South Carolina Thursday that was dominated by talk of taxes and job loss. Huckabee was attacked by Fred Thompson, who accused the former Arkansas governor of wanting to institute "liberal economic policies" if elected.

Still, Huckabee's rhetorical swirls about working class and middle class voters appear to be resonating in Michigan given the deep economic anxiety in the state, which boasts an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent according to the most recent government data. The national unemployment rate is 4.7 percent.

Huckabee is polling in high double-digits here, trailing Mitt Romney and John McCain, both of whom have built-in support here.

Romney is a Michigan native and son of a former Governor, while McCain won the state's primary in 2000 and has netted the endorsement of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.

Huckabee may be far from South Carolina for two days, but he isn't giving up on his electoral bread and butter. Tonight Huckabee will travel west to Grand Rapids, home to a good chunk of the state's evangelical population, where he will hold a pastors breakfast on Saturday morning.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Michigan • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. David - Oregon City

    Michigan & South Carolina,

    America’s only choice for President is clear. Don’t be suckered in by the elite media’s propaganda. Tens of millions of dollars was donated by Wall Street to purchase the White House in this election. Some candidates are just too old or too liberal to win. Please remember, the rest of the country is waiting and depending on you (Michigan & South Carolina) to give us the opportunity to elect Huckabee and say no to big government that does not work, Wall Street, and the elite media. Those Americans who never had a set at the table, who don’t have the big money or a voice in this election are waiting to cast their vote for Mike Huckabee. Please provide America’s true conservatives the opportunity to vote with you and elect Mike Huckabee President. No more Presidents from Camelot!

    January 12, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Mary, Michigan

    It's Saturday morning, and I just received a push-poll call from the Mike Huckabee camp. I reject push-polling and will not vote for any candidate whose supporters resort to it.

    I'm an independent who will be voting "uncommitted" on Jan. 15. I urge everyone in Michigan who supports a candidate not on the ballot to do the same. Delegates will end up being represented at the Democratic National Convention.

    January 12, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Mario

    Mike, you Gomer Pyle lookalike, give it up, MI doesn't need your B.S. they we need a leader, not a cry baby. You are a cry baby.


    January 12, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. John S. Maine

    Huckabee is not a Republican he is running as a big spending populist "Christian Leader".

    If you dont belong to his "Christian Church" he wont represent you. He represents only his "Christians". He was a huge tax increaser in Arkansas and freed 12 convicted murderers because they found his "Christian Leader".

    Huckabee equals major loss in 2008 for Republicans.

    If we want to win vote for Mitt Romney!

    January 12, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Mrjimbo, TX

    Mitt Romney is what this economy needs to bring about better trade practices, improved manufacturing environment, lower taxes and to dump wasteful spending in Washington. The choice is quite clear, even many evangelicals have "seen the light" in that regard.

    Look at his record as Governor. He DID exactly as he promised MASS. What other candidate can say that? Mitt in 08......

    January 12, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Susan

    I believe the media and probably the GOP establishment are together trying from every way to destroy Huckabee. What a shame! They finally have the right person, a good person, the kind who still stands a chance to win the general election, and yet they just want to destroy him by themselves. The general election will be for either Obama or Clinton to grab, it looks like. McCain looks too status quo and old. Hard to compete with Obama's swift talk.

    January 12, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. AJ, Iowa City, IA

    The only reason why Huckabee is in the spot light is because the media put him there. If it were not for CNN and FoxNews, Huckabee would be leading an extremist baptist cult to take back Utah for Christ, go there and have no opposition and actually be welcomed and treated with dignity and respect. Oh wait, I think that did happen already (1999). Ok so I guess after this failed campaign, he can work as a shelf stocker in the nearest grocery store, realize his talent for throwing paper towels down the asile, and sign with an NFL team to win the superbowl the next year. Oh wait, that happened too!

    I guess he could always pump gas.

    January 12, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. bob hilts

    let them take a tour of lansing and flint.

    January 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Tim T.

    To save Michigan they need to produce cars that don't fall apart after leaving the dealers' lots, that have paint that doesn't peel off after one season, that aren't recalled every month, that get 35+ mpg, that do more than just support cupholders, and that
    don't rust out after one winter.

    January 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. JAc

    Tim T, your living in the past... even the Editor of Car and Driver will tell you that Detroit has closed the quality gap. If you understood the automobile industry you know that it’s about two things now; cost of production, US vs. China, and an old perception that took years to build and will likely take more to undo. Admittedly, I myself purchased a few of the Big 3's lemons of the past, but things have changed. My 2001 Dodge has 185,000 miles on it, runs great and has no rust, and I have many friends with similar stories. So Tim T, give up the 80's story line. Just incase you were wondering; No, I am not an auto worker, I am freelance Intelligence Analyst who’s customers you would recognize.

    That aside, I am also a life long Republican who voted for Reagan, Bush Sr., twice, (sorry Bob Dole, I couldn’t do it) and for Bush Jr. twice (what a mistake). I have listened to Rush since the 80's and to Hanity for the last two years and bobbed my head up and down like a good Ditto-head. I have only recently, during this election cycle, come to the realization that both of them along with the WSR's (Wall Street Republicans) simply do not care much about anyone but themselves, certainly not about average Americans. They have come to represent unashamed greed. Ambition, determination and a good business sense are qualities that should be richly rewarded, that’s the American way, but so is loyalty to my country, something that the large multi-national corporations don't have any of. Here is something that the WSR's need to understand: We will not move the economy and our nation forward without the vast purchasing (consumption) power of the middle class, that's simple economics. Yes, I know that our companies want to sell into the worlds developing economies, and that’s good, as long as it benefits America and Americans, you know, our economy. By the way; what are all these products we sell to China, where is that list published? They’re the growing economy, surly we are exporting more to them than we import, right?

    Smart trade policies, like the ones Mike Huckabee speaks about, we need now more than ever. When we trade with a partner like China, that doesn’t respect or honor intellectual property rights, we should be careful, that our "knowledge based economy", the one that many claim will save us, will not leave us holding the short end of the economic stick. The world is a competitive place, China is a competitor, lets act like it. WSRs, ask your selves this; would Ronald Reagan believe that China has our best interests in mind?

    The thinking that somehow we don't need manufacturing in this country is short sighted and is going to come back at some point and bite us in the pants, with interest. Mike Huckabee may have been a preacher (who cares?) he has Bill Clinton's charm and ability to communicate, something that Hillery doesn’t. More importantly Huck has old fashioned common sense, something that Fred and Mitt don't seem to have.

    Yes, I need to be inspired. I may be a Republican, but I am an American first and this I promise; I and many of my Republican friends will refuse to vote for another George Bush.

    January 12, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  11. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix, AZ

    Vote Romney – the candidate with a very impressive record of decades of achievements in business, as governor of MA, and with the SLC Olympics. Romney is a *proven* leader who has shown time and time again that he can actually get things done. Talk is cheap, accomplishments matter.

    What also matters is the manner in which people govern. Huckabee was investigated twelve times for ethics violations during his time as governor. Huckabee had hard drives and computers destroyed before leaving office. Huckabee stole furniture from the governor's mansion upon leaving office.

    Huckabee also sought for the release of Dumond who went on to rape and murder again. Is that the kind of judgment you want in your next president?

    These are all facts easy enough for any of you to independently verify. Are the negative? Sure, but they're part of his record and therefore fair game.

    January 12, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  12. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    Huckabee thinks we're laughing WITH him, when in reality, we're laughing AT him.

    He has made a mockery out of the race for President of the USA with his lame jokes.

    The USA needs someone who knows what they're doing with the economy, the terrorists (Huck wants to release the prisoners at Gitmo), can reach across party lines and ISN'T TOO OLD (McCain). If you all in Michigan have your head on straight and tight, you'd vote for Mitt Romney. Go check him out.

    January 13, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. Milton, Harrisburg, PA

    The huckatollah has no substance behind his rhetoric. The man thinks the earth is 6,000 years old and that evolution isn't real. He has the scientific literacy of a 1st grader–I'm not kidding–a 1st grader! We can't afford to return to the Middle Ages with respect to science. Remember the enlightenment Mr. Huckatollah?

    The American taliban is knocking on the door. This guy likes politicking from the pulpit! Hello. I hope a representative of the IRS is following him and pulling the tax exemption status of these churches that let him campaign. Please keep the Bible out of the Constitution. It soils the value of both documents.

    January 14, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
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