February 19th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee: I may be killing my political career

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/19/art.huckabee0219.ap.jpg caption="Huckabee acknowledges his continued campaign may carry some political risk."] LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (CNN) – Day after day, stop after stop along the campaign trail, Mike Huckabee is dogged by a single question. Why is he still in the race? Monday he admitted that it may not be the best idea for his political future but that doesn't bother him.

“Folks, the reason I’m staying in this race is because I’m working for the next generation, not the next election,” Huckabee told supporters Monday at a rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. “I may be killing my political career, but I know this – if we don’t start thinking in terms of solving some of America’s problems, we’re killing all of your careers.”

When pressed further on how his campaign will affect his future, Huckabee told CNN, “I think I’m helping the country’s future, I think I’m helping the party’s future. The party is not well served if it doesn’t have an honest discussion about who it is, where it’s headed. And if the party can’t handle having more than one point of few, it’s not a very strong party.”

Huckabee says his future status in the party is not his decision, nor is it a concern. “It shouldn’t be about me, it should be about the country first and the party second. Not the party first and the country second.”

He sees himself as the lone candidate talking about the issues he feels are central to the grassroots “foot soldiers” of the Republican Party – the need for human life amendment, preventing embryonic stem cell research, overhauling the tax system with the Fair Tax and stopping illegal immigration.

“I think it’s not hurting the party for me to stay in and continue the dialogue,” Huckabee told reporters Monday. “I think it hurts the party for us to act like we can’t handle any type of views other than let’s all circle the wagons around one [candidate] and call it a day.”

– CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. pedersen

    This man becomes more baffeling by the day. Two weeks ago he was a near lock for Veep. If influence is what Huckabee wants he could have had it. Now he looks more and more like he is chasing windmills in his mind. What's up with that?

    February 19, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Dave W

    Wow. The arrogance is astonishing. He;s actually trying to cast his indulgence as a personal sacrifice! I guess it's a natural thing to happen when you've been campaigning for awhile and listening to everyone chant "Go Huck!" over and over. Still, he's got enough ego for all candidates put together. To think, I actually respected him at one point.

    I think Bush Sr. must be right – he doesn't see the big picture. The real race is November and Republicans need to unite forcefully or all hope of winning the great contest this fall will be lost. The next president will be replacing most of the Supreme court – 7 of them will be over 70 by inauguration day. With house and senate owned by the dems and the sitting president's popularity at record lows, personal excesses like this from a candidate are just so appalling.

    February 19, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. BigTime26

    I am a lifelong Democrat as well but oh this issue you have to admire his sincerity and tenacity. I respect anyone who stays in the fray and fights for what they truly believe in.

    February 19, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. a,d,sutton claremont, ca

    Huckabee should admit he wants Canon 2350 made the law of our land in a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Google Canon 2350 to see it says abortion is a crime. Roe v Wade made civil courts stop enforcing that alien law that forces Catholic men & women to produce Catholic TITHERS & so they can one day be the MAJORITY in any nation they enter. In Boston 1813, 1100 Catholic delegates met at the Great Catholic Missionary Congress, They were told the purpose of the organization "is to make this nation (and this hemisphere) Catholic under the rulership of the pope of Rome." I have no research facility but inquiry into the history & activities of the Great Catholic Missionary Congress sessions is probably possible to skilled searchers.

    February 19, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. RPF

    Good for you, Mr. Huckabee. However, Dr. Ron Paul is also talking about very important issues for the Republican Party and America. He speaks about Constitutional principles, life, the size of government, taxes, the economy, foreign policy and illegal immigration any chance he gets. It's nice to know there are other voices besides Mr. McCain.

    February 19, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. JED

    Thank you Maryland, this is they very reason we have primaries. It seems too many people today vote for who they think has the best chance of beating the other party instead of voting for who would best represent them.

    February 19, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. Jake

    Yuck! Does anyone really believe this guy?

    February 19, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Darryl

    America needs people who are ready to discuss the issues. Politics is too much about power and not enough about solutions.

    Mike Huckabee is still willing to discuss the issues and allow the people to make the vote. He would welcome a debate with both John McCain and Ron Paul. He has ideas and is willing to have them challenged and discussed. He was the only one who took Fred's challenge for a Lincoln-Douglas debate and Fred turned him down. The "powers" want to ignore him, but for sure he is showing the average person that our system needs some serious help in the way we elect leaders who claim to serve the country.

    Vote for Mike Huckabee and send a message to the "powers" who want to tell you what to do.

    February 19, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Mrs. America

    Huckabee: “I think it hurts the party for us to act like we can’t handle any type of views other than let’s all circle the wagons around one [candidate] and call it a day.”

    If he wants to widen views, he might want to look inward and rethink his own views about wanting absolute control over portions of the population–like women, putting God in charge of the Constitution, etc. Not all people share those views.

    February 19, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Craig, Wa.

    Huckabee's logic is characteristic of the whole party....and indicative of why the party is ill-functioning and has lost its appeal.

    If he had a nickel's worth of farmers' logic......He would endorse MCcain, and devote his energies towards some sort of reconciling of his party.

    For it is a mess ,and if the Republicans factions stick with there divisions......they'll need 4 (+) years to pull it all back together and evolve so that the party CAN enter the 21st century with "something" to offer.

    Good luck and best wishes to the "Grand Old Party".

    this republican is voting for Obama

    February 19, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Not a big fan

    Personally, I don't think i can ever trust this guy. His comments seem to be a not-so-subtle hit at Romney's noble "i'll stand aside for the good of the country and the party" decision. Gov. Huckabee is trying to undermine criticism that his continued presence in the race is useless and that he's not being a team player by continuing to fight the party's presumptive nominee. Meanwhile, he continues to get name exposure as he campaigns across the country for VP '08 or president in '12.

    February 19, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Nunya

    "And if the party can’t handle having more than one point of few, it’s not a very strong party."

    That's a rather ironic statement coming from someone representing the wing of the Republican party that holds the stance of 'only real conservatives are real Republicans'.

    February 19, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Lonny

    "the Huckabilly killed his political career when he insinuated that the Bible should replace the US Constitution. I don't think any rational citizen wants a fundamentalist Christian version of Sharia Law in America. you want a model for religious law running a country, just look at Saudi Arabia. YIKES!!!"


    February 19, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Bush's MINI-ME

    Being a Democrate, I cant help but appreciate this man's point of view. Why would the GOP want a Bush mini-me anyway???

    February 19, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Wayne, Greenville TX

    This is the first thing Huckleberry Hound has said that makes any sense.....

    February 19, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Hamel

    You people must be kidding. I cannot fathom the comment about "don't let the GOP pick our nominee for us". McCain has won the most votes and states! How does this consitute the party choosing the nominee? PS – aren't the voters the GOP?

    Regardless if you like Huckabee or don't like Huckabee the only issue here is mathematics. Huckabee cannot win. By the logic above perhaps Biden and Dodd should still be out there asking for a miracle in their race as well. The question is not about political positions; Huckabee has lost his chance for the nomination. He should drop out now and let his party focus on winning a general election.

    February 19, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Dave, AR

    dude, you killed enough careers here in Arkansas! we can't let you do it on a national stage. and enough of the mularkey of not being in it for a future election. you know exactly whay you are doing.

    February 19, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. albert

    USA need a Huckabee? of course!!!!!!! go for Vice- President!

    February 19, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Erik, Austin TX

    I disagree with this man on virtually every issue, but I agree 100% with him on this. The Republican party greatly damaged itself by insisting on following lockstep behind Bush for at least the first 6 years of his Presidency. Any political party must have open dialogue and clear debate on the issues or it will wither and die.

    Ideally, Huckabee's continued insistence on meaningful dialog within the party will stop this nonsensical "with us or against us" attitude that has poisoned the Republican party over the past several years.

    February 19, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Abner Mejia

    Go Gov. Huckabee go. Hope you will execute the greatest comeback in political history!

    February 19, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. That's Reality

    W B in Las Vegas – That's not what he insinuated; that's how you interpreted. Huckabee is the best candidate this time around; more would be aware of that fact if he had a chance to a real debate with any/all of the other candidates on the issues.

    February 19, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. roland

    Huckabilly is not out to win, he's out for money. Rumor has it that after this is all over he is going to release a book. Can't get better publicity for your fundemental Christian audience than saying you beat the Mormon on every campaign stop. He could care less about his political future. He knew he never had a shot. He is just lucky that there are so many predudiced people that would rather quickly dismiss a Mormon candidate to a "Christian" one without learning about their past. Most Huckabee supporters don't even know that he never graduated from college even though he lied he did. The ironic thing is that while Huckabee through his lips talked about being Christian, Romney's past showed he lived a Christian life. Now the Rebublicans are stuck with McCain – serves them right!

    February 19, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Victor Rodriguez

    I have great respect for Gov. Huckabee. However, enough is enough and for the good of the party he should depart quietly to the sundown. The future will determine his future in our grand party. bye bye..

    February 19, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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