January 17th, 2008
06:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee: Outsiders not welcome in Confederate flag decisions

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/17/art.huckabee0117.ap.jpg caption="Huckabee told South Carolina voters they were the only ones who should make decisions on the flag."]
MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told South Carolina voters Thursday that the government had no business making decisions over the Confederate flag.

"You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," Huckabee said at a Myrtle Beach campaign event. "In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole, that's what we'd do."

Later, in Florence, he repeated the remarks. "I know what would happen if somebody comes to my state in Arkansas and tells us what to do, it doesn't matter what it is, tell us how to run our schools, tell us how to raise our kids, tell us what to do with our flag - you want to come tell us what to do with the flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole."

The Confederate flag has long been the third rail of South Carolina presidential politics - offensive to some, a symbol of Southern heritage to others. The flag is currently displayed on state capitol grounds.

Huckabee is currently barnstorming South Carolina with former Gov. David Beasley, who has called for the flag’s removal.

–CNN Senior Producer Eric Fiegel

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (374 Responses)
  1. Becky

    WOW!!!! Such language from a Pastor? GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. CO

    I'm amazed that a minister would say something like "we'd tell them what to do with the pole".

    January 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Casey, Minneapolis, MN

    CA – couldn't have said it better myself.

    January 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Amanda Orlando, FL

    Wow. Huckabee giving the "up yours" to the nation. This is news.

    January 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Maxx

    Huckabee's views are dangerous and divisive for America.

    January 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Ken

    Sounds like George Wallace to me I know what side he was on during Little Rock 9. His theme goes great during King's B-Day!

    January 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Kit

    Honestly if any of the front runners on either side ends up making it to the final run. I will NOT vote or will write in a vote for the better candidates. Also, things that the government and people like to make issues such as gay rights, abortion, religion, etc should never be brought into politics. Those are things that should be the people's choice and not be run by someone else. I despise that people seem to see those as the main issues and that presidential candidates actually make sure those are on their current issues. It's rediculous. We have people from every religion. We are from everywhere else unless you count the indians. Why do we have to fight over these stupid issues when there are REAL issues to worry about? And this mess that Huckabee is fussing over now is stupid.

    January 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Jim

    You said it CA...conservative hypocrisy at its finest.

    January 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Chris, Jacksonville

    What a charming bunch of Christians.

    I am sure Jesus is so proud.

    January 17, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. West Palm Beach

    The government it not dictating WHO you can marry – just keeping the "definition" of marriage (which yes, is not up to the government, but the absolute definition of the word doesn't change in all of history regardless of personal opinion, which the governent acknowledges for legal purposes). Not about you personally, just the definition of the word being used. As someone once said, "You can sit where ever you want to on the bus, but you can't change the bus from being a bus."

    January 17, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Ivelisse

    got to love a politician 'pandering' to the locals, KNOWING that the NATIONAL press is covering and anything you say CAN and WILL be used againts you....

    so, Mike: wanna tell me what to do with the pole??? because my answer to you is: do exactly the same on your own time next time you want to come here and tell me who I can marry and how to deal with unwanted pregnancies!!!!!!!!


    January 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. david

    Is it just with regard to the flag, or was the Federal Government also wrong for coming in to Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi and the rest and saying, "Fellas, those 'whites/coloreds signs have to come down.'"

    Mike, as a taxpayer, I'll make a deal with you: You can keep the federal government away from your flag, if we can keep your flag away from the federal government. We'll keep the money for your highways, your hog farm cleanups, your national guard, your impoverished citizens, and you can keep your flag.

    January 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. julian, Nashville, TN

    i Love christianists that pay no attention to the red print.

    January 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. West Palm Beach

    States, by their own Constitutions by in large, have made that decision in keeping with the spirit of the thought. Just have to actually "keep to the code" as it were, not as guidelines, but as an absolute – because it is an absolute not to be swayed by popular vote. Couldn't resist a little fun 🙂

    January 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Tom

    Actual Headline: Huckabee panders to rednecks, will deny all statements after SC primary is over.

    January 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. JC in IL

    Oh my heck! These new episodes of Gomer Pyle are so amusing. I thought with the TV writers strike there'd be no new material, no new plots. Maybe "God" is whispering the jokes to Yuk-Yuk Huckabee.

    January 17, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    I say let the Confederate flag be. Nobody can debate its spiritual value, and I myself admire the spirit of rebellion. In fact, if I could, I'd like to run at the white house dressed in gray, carrying the stars and bars and scream at the top of my lungs, just to show I'm rebelling against Bush's tyranical rule.

    January 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Nathan, Melbourne, Victoria

    In my opinion the Confederate flag is every bit as disgusting as the NAZI swaztika. Get over it Republicans, the North won the war, you lost. At every stage of American history progressives have won the day. There should be massive tax on the confederate flag and we can use the proceeds to retire Republican debt.

    January 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. AS

    Are these the kind of comments we want coming from the President of the United States, the leader who represents us to other nations?

    January 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. william walsh columbus ohio

    sounds like an upstanding good godley anser to me!! i think most preachers would say the same thing if not elaborate a little more, yu tellem buddie just what do you do with the flag pole anyway? up yours amen!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. Jon Peirce

    It is unbelievable that the Confederate flag is still flying on state property anywhere in the U.S. What people do in their own homes is their concern, but the flying of such a flag on public property is in fact a major public concern. It's an affront to black people and to basic decency. At the risk of sounding trite, "The war is over." It has been over for about 140-odd years now, in case nobody's checked. Enough already!

    Jon Peirce
    Ottawa, Canada

    January 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Wallace, Chicago IL

    CA January 17, 2008 3:35 pm ET

    But it's OK to tell us who we can marry?

    Great comment!
    It speaks to the hypocrisy of the republican party. Huckabee is pandering big time for votes. It's funny, because that flag isn't even the "South Carolina flag". It's the flag of the Confederacy, which is dead and gone. Sadly, South Carolinians will probably fall for this "rally cry", as will the rest of the south.

    The Republicans are able to control their base in the south with "nonsensical" issues that never move the people forward. Basically, as long as the base "stays in the dark" about relevant issues, they can be controlled. That is why Romney isn't doing a ton of campaigning there. The real issues are secondary to "wedge issues"(e.g. Gay marriage and the confederate flag).

    We'll see what happens though, it should be interesting.

    January 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. david hippo

    More pandering, this time to the redneck constituency. I cannot comprehend why anyone would want to fly the Confederate flag anywhere. I've been in Germany and I never met anyone who wanted to fly the flag of the Third Reich.

    January 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Milton, Harrisburg, PA

    And it's okay to tell us whether or not to reproduce, that you should be subservient to your male spouse (unless you're gay of course) and that what someone else's invisible sky god told them should replace much of the constitution.

    If people want to live their life that way, there are plenty of places to do it. Iran would be an especially good choice...plus they don't have homosexuals there so you don't need to pass any special constitutional amendments.

    January 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Probably not the brightest move Huckabee has made if you take the election in the broader sense. Sure he might do well in the South but beyond that confined location this view could prove to be a big blunder. I can just see the bumper stickers in California telling Huckabee what to do with his pole.

    Voters over all might just tell Huckabee what he can do with his pole and his candidacy.

    January 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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