February 20th, 2008
08:32 AM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee says race not about ego, remembers the Alamo


Watch Huckabee explain why he's staying in the race in an interview on American Morning Wednesday.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (CNN) – Following a big loss in Wisconsin Tuesday night, reporters didn’t even get to ask Mike Huckabee the one question on everyone’s mind before he answered it himself.

“One of the things that I get asked every day and I’m sure you’re probably asking in the chorus, is why you keep going?” Huckabee told reporters. “Let me assure you that if it were ego, my ego doesn’t enjoy getting these kind of evenings where we don’t win the primary elections. So, it’s got be something other than that, and it is. It’s about convictions, it’s about principles that I dearly, dearly believe in.”

Those principles include giving as many voters as possible the chance to vote for a candidate with positions he feels are at odds with John McCain. “[McCain] does not support for example the human life amendment. He does support human embryonic stem cell research and I know our positions on immigration are significantly different,” listed Huckabee, adding, “doesn’t mean that his positions are bad, it means they’re different, and elections are about choices.”

On Wednesday, Huckabee heads to Texas, a state where he feels he can pick up conservative votes because “Texas is a state where independence matters a lot, people there don’t like to be told what to do, how to think, how to vote. I think we’ll find a very welcome atmosphere.”

He will also visit the Alamo on Thursday, invoking symbolism he feels is appropriate, “There’s a lot of history there, a lot of history of courage, of valor and also of people who stood by their convictions no matter what.”

UPDATE: In an interview on CNN's American Morning Wednesday, Huckabee suggested his continued presence in the presidential race is beneficial to the Republican Party.

"Not staying in the race hurts the GOP," he said. "It makes it like we're so weak that we can't have a debate and discussion. If this party is so completely incapable of discussing the issues that matter deeply to Republicans, then I'm not its problem. Its problem is that it doesn't have a message that it can run on and it wants to circle the wagons and act like it's all well. It's not all well."

- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. CC

    People need to check out the REAL integrity of Huckabee......he has a string of ethical issues in AR, plus what was done with all of the computer hard drives before he left office, the interference with the legal investigation of his son killing an animal and getting fired from a boy scout camp. Yes, we've heard of this stuff, but because he's a smooth talking preacher, people IGNORE this critical issues of integrity?? I hope people aren't so gullible to think a preacher is immune to corruption!!

    February 20, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Huck supporter

    Gov. Huckabee,

    You have been my candidate. I think you have a lot of good ideas. However, it appears that the Democrats are beginning to unite behind Obama (especially if he wins Texas and/or Ohio). I know you have differences with McCain, but I also know you agree with him on some important issues that are different from the Democrats. I think all Republicans agree that there are flaws with some (if not all) of the Democratic stances. The Republican party needs to unite fast to beat Obama, and I think the best way is for you to get out of the race and compete for the Vice-President roll.

    February 20, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Bob

    Sam Houston would be so happy.

    February 20, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Christine

    This is a noble man who stands by his convictions. It give me hope for our government which is otherwise full of liars and thieves willing to say anything for a vote.

    February 20, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Christopher

    080220 Open Letter to Huckabee

    I am for Huckabee. Truly. I admire and respect him as a man as I do few others. However, at this point I am unsure if he is really running against John McCain or merely running along side him. There has been no televised debate between Huckabee and McCain since Romney dropped out of the election. To my knowledge, Huckabee has not even challenged McCain to a debate. Maybe I am missing something, but it seems to me that if Mr. Huckabee is sincere in his desire to be President, then he should be actively challenging McCain, his chief challenger, to open debate. Ron Paul should be invited as well. The reason many of us know anything about the candidates is though the series of regular debates that have occurred on both the Democrat and Republican sides.

    If McCain is unwilling to engage Huckabee in debates before the Texas primary, then I would recommend that Mr. Huckabee make the point to whoever will listen that McCain is afraid or unwilling to debate Mr. Huckabee. Few are those who wish to elect someone unwilling to defend their ideas in open discussion. Texans are likely to find it extremely unattractive.

    I am not suggesting that Mr. Huckabee engage in a negative campaign. I am suggesting though that Mr. Huckabee engage McCain.

    February 20, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Aleric, Washington, DC

    I'm thrilled Huckabee is still running. The longer he remains in the race, the better the chances to have a splintered GOP going into the national elections.

    With the Democrats still in-fighting to determine a nominee, this is working as somewhat of a counter-weight.

    Go Huckabee!

    February 20, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Jennifer, GA

    Seattle Mark:

    Huckabee did not go to the Cayman Islands on vacation–he went to give a speech that had been planned 6 months ago. He gives these speeches and writes books in order to pay the bills.

    Unlike McCain, Clinton, and Obama, who are getting paid by the tax-payers while campaigning (i.e., they have Senate salaries), Huckabee is not getting paid–which is why he had to go give a speech at the Cayman Islands. Give the man a break!

    I think you need to get your facts straight before making such statements.

    February 20, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. SteveM

    Hang in there Mike, thanks for giving us a chance to vote in this travesty. Stay in so I can vote against McCain twice in Ohio. Just how stupid does our government think we are, they are the very people who cause the trouble in this economy and we are expected to vote a Washington insider into the White House. We are being led like sheep to the slaughter and the GOP thinks McCain is going to stop it? LOL. What will happen when his moderate support goes to Obama and the rest of us write in Huckabee? So long Republic, hello socialism.

    February 20, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Daniel Burbank

    Please, people, he has every right to continue running. The hatred of him coming from the media just because he's staying in the race is ridiculous. First, it was people complaining that he was in collaboration with McCain to get Romney out of the race and then become McCain's VP, and now that he kept his word and remained in the race unlike everyone was predicting him to do, people are complaining that he's bringing down the Republican party by staying in. You people are really lame.

    Also, the Cayman Island trip had been scheduled for a long time, because, as he's pointed out, he isn't rich like all the other candidates and actually needs to make a living. Who doesn't need to make a living? The money he gets for his campaign goes to his campaign, not to him to do whatever he wants with it.

    February 20, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. aware

    It is time to go Mr. Huckabee. You are just a distraction 🙁

    Hillary the HOPE of 08 🙂

    February 20, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. grayfox

    Run as an independent..lots of Democratics don't like McCain but even more hate Billery and don't care that much for Obamas' lack of experience. Huck you might be shocked to see how many of us ANGRY WHITE MEN would vote for you regardless of party ..THINK ABOUT IT..!!!!!

    February 20, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. John

    Decades from now, when the White House has been occupied by Republicans, Democrats, men and women (black and white); when our economy has fallen and risen many times over from prosperity to near-recession due to the natural cycle of a competitive global market; when our military has entered and exited numerous military conflicts; when global warming has shown itself for what it really is (a natural cycle); we will look back at the 2008 presidential election and see that we had an opportunity to make a real and lasting difference for one really important issue, but we sold it for a bowl of porridge.

    America is the modern Rome. We gladly exchange morality for anything that reeks of monetary profit and the well-being of me-and-mine, while every single day 3300 human babies are murdered in the warmth of their mothers womb. Why? It's profitable! If it weren't profitable, it wouldn't be an issue. If the abortions doctors were forced to provide their service free of charge they'd find another specialty. How sad. How very, very sad that Republicans in 2008 had a chance to elect a presidential candidate willing to end this holocaust and we sold him off for cyclical issues that come-and-go. One of our conservative leaders (R.L.) made the comment that he is not a "one issue" voter. Given what is at stake, he should be. My vote will go to the candidate willing to commit publicly to ending four decades of heartless, thoughtless shame.

    February 20, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. BM

    A lot of the negative posts against Huckabee here seem to have no substance or truth to them. I wonder why?

    February 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Penny

    I like Huckabee. Since mathematically it is improbable that he will get enough delegates to win the primary, he should and would concede on his own (after Texas when McCain gets his delegates quota?) No body has to tell him to quit.
    I understand that there is conviction and principle that caused him to stay on, and the result of the delegates gained after each primary does send a message to McCain that he needs to respect the sizable segment of conservatives who support Huckabee when he gets the nomination.
    I respect Huckabee, I wish he will make a decision after Texas.
    For those who say if McCaine wins, you will vote democrat.; unless you have no convictions on issues such as pro-life, pro-national defense, pro-traditional values, high possibility of appointments of liberal judges and supreme court justices with a dem in the White House, you should consider what a few commentators have already expressed: would you rather fight with McCaine 20% of the time or with the democratic nominee 80% of the time on issues and principles.

    February 20, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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