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. John Johanson

    You need to make a graceful exit, you look and sound like a fool at this point.

    Vote moderates in 08

    February 20, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  2. Jason E, SC

    Thanks Mike for making others pay for your vacation these past several months. Not sure what to do next? Just run for another office and get others to blindly follow you nowhere, regardless of your populist history as a Governor and your lame jokes. This time the jokes on you.

    February 20, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  3. Jonathan Forbes--Independent

    Mr. Huckabee:

    I respect you and most of your positions, but I feel it is time for you to pull out of the race. We know that you are a good campaginer. You've shown that you could be a potential vice-pesident. We hear your call for conservatism.

    But now, it is time for you to honorably leave. It's time for us Americans to unite and choose the man who will lead America.

    This man is John McCain.

    McCain '08!

    February 20, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  4. deb in az

    im not republic but you go huck

    February 20, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  5. A proud Texan

    I know Huckabee has no chance of winning, but watching him press ahead in spite of all odds is inspiring in a strange way, kind of like watching a sedan speed head-on into a semi-trailer. Go down in flames Huckabee!

    A lot of Republicans think Huckabee is hurting the party by staying in it, but they're wrong. Like a pesky mosquito, he keeps McCain on his toes and proves that Mac has a long way to go in convincing conservatives that he is ready to lead the party.

    February 20, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Cathy from Vermont

    Is it just me or do Hillary and Mike not realize what happened at the Alamo? I mean Davy and comapny were heroic, but that is where things ended for them.

    February 20, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  7. Keith, GA

    I hope he stays in. It keeps McCain semi-honest. I fear as soon as he drops out McCain will be talking about amnesty, the need to not waterboard, etc. As a registered Republican I am fearful for what I see in the Republican party.

    February 20, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  8. Rob K

    I agree with Huckabee's reason for staying in it...Voting is definitely about having choices.

    February 20, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. Sally Savage

    I like what he has to say. I like his convictions. I like the fact that he stands behind his convictions. He is the voice Americans need to hear so that they may also stand. Huckabee is a leader. People will follow his lead because he speaks to the heart. He is a man of vision. People without a vision fall: We need his leadership.

    February 20, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  10. Michael Coogen in Lorton, Virginia

    So Huckabee is giving to the voters their right to vote for another candidate that otherwise would not have voted for McCain. Dah! Dah!
    The fact is that if you were not going to vote for McCain anyway, then you probably would not vote in the first place. It all comes out the same in the "wash." In other words, you are given the opportunity to vote against McCain by voting for Huckabee; and if Huckabee withdraws, the results are the same. And he wants to be "president?"
    I conclude that his divine intervention power is running low and he is now on "bee-power." Beeeeee.......realistic...and do the honorable thing.......withdraw.....you have lost before you even got started.

    February 20, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  11. John

    I think he touches on an excellent point here that the GOP base often demands unequivocal unity to the detriment of debate and viewpoint from intelligent, dissenting voices even within the party, and if this is what is keeping him in an unwinnable race then more power to him.

    February 20, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. tina

    huck is a man with intergrity and he trully cares for people i which he was the gop nominee instead of an angry old man who wants war ,war war and fight,but this republican is for Obama all the way
    OBAMA all the way woooooooo hoooooooo!

    February 20, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  13. Independent

    Huck is the republican mirror image of Hillary: They both should drop out, but neither know how to do it gracefully.

    February 20, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. G.R.

    I'm wondering when CNN or any of the cable news outlets are going to schedule a debate between John McCain and Mike Huckabee. I think voters across American would appreciate the gesture and it would help CNN's reputation of being a fair news outlet rather than left leaning.

    February 20, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Sandra

    I admire your grit and values Mike. Keep up the fight. Praying you will turn the tables on McCain.

    February 20, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. Linda

    Not your ego?? Dude, you are the biggest egomaniac this nation has ever seen. What, you think God will personally annoint you the nominee at the Convention despite McCain's insurmountable lead??

    God's a winner, not a loser. So get real. GO HOME ALREADY. You've lost.

    February 20, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Carlin

    Please don't come to Texas. You are running a losing campaign – fitting that you would go to the Alamo. Remember the Alamo! That's where it ended for a whole bunch of folks. You have convictions, but they are shared by a small fanatical minority. Viva McCain! Viva Obama! Let's put our hope in our future – not a repressively oriented, religious fanatic.

    February 20, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Roger W

    This is a real issue with McCain that cannot be ignored. Conservatives are not turning to him. They will not vote for him in November.

    February 20, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Terik Ororke

    I happen to know Mike and he is for real. The other guy represents the same military stance or even worse than George Bush and thinks we can stay in Iraq and the Middle East forever...so why not save money and let George and what-his-name stay in office?

    February 20, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Carla Kazimir

    This candidate is staying in the race because of principles. He feel strongly about what many of us feel strongly about pro life issues. It is not about religion, it is about offering the country a candidate who if elected would be the a leader of the free world with strong moral character. I would think that would be more attractive to more people.
    You can't really tell me that all the other candidates believe that infanticide and partial birth abortion is right, but they are too weak in character to stand out and protect the unborn. Votes are more important than innocent human life.

    Obama can promise the world everything, but he can't promise the righ to life to an innocent unborn baby.

    Thank God there is still a few good men out there that will put their ego on the back burner and do something difficult because it is the morally right thing to do.

    I hope Huckabee gets our message out their for many in the months ahead.

    February 20, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  21. dr. gonzo

    Yeah, Keith, waterboarding is not a Republican ideal. What party are you a member of?

    February 20, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. Sam

    37% is not a "big loss".

    February 20, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. douglas


    February 20, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. Bubba

    Huck's ego has a separate tour bus and has to be walked on a leash every night and fed chopped steak by Chuck Norris.

    February 20, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. slacrosse

    so now he looks forward to texas because texas people dont like to be "told what to do", "how to think", and how to vote". And peope in ALL the other states he has campaigned in think opposite to teas people. He should opologize to people in ALL the other states he has campaigned in for this statement and leave the race

    February 20, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6