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. Richard, FL

    Just another Republican with no exit strategy.

    February 20, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Braz from New York

    Mr. Huckabee is beginning to define a new term for "Whats a person who doesn't know when to quit" A Huckabee!

    February 20, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. jim

    Don't let the smoke screen fool you, Huck is in the race for the sake of Hillary. Hillary needs Huck to keep the republican nomination un-settled and forstall the preparation for a National compaign, till she can find away to defeat Obama in her own party.

    Remember Huckabee and the Clintons are both from Arkansas.

    February 20, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. ne,pa

    Huckabee's in it for recognition...he can up his speaking fees.
    I do like the fact he's a thorn in McCrypt's side though.
    Obama 08!

    February 20, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Leo

    Why are the republicans so concerned about Huckabee quiting the campaign? It is obvious McCain will win. While Huckabee is in the campaign, McCain still gets airtime and can keep criticizing Obama and Hillary. If Huckabee quits, then the press will be even more all over Obama and Hillary.

    February 20, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Gary, Detroit, Mich.

    Time to pack up the bibles and head home, Mike. Maybe a little road kill for dinner tonight, eh? Catch up on some reading, too. Maybe something by that other bigot Ann Coulter...

    February 20, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Bradley

    I use to think when Romney was still running that McCain-Huckabee sounded good. That once McCain beat past Romney that we would take Huckabee to the white house, but not like this. Even though he is doing what his mother always told him to do – never quit – there is just a time where you look at mother's word a go "Quiting will help everyone". But, we are all bashing on Huckabee for still being in the race, but we still go silly Ron Paul over there, but who really cares about him. McCain will get the rest of the delegates needed, but the real fun will be us seeing who he will pick as a running mate.

    February 20, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. d

    I also agree that Hucabee should be "staying in " the race. To me, McCain is anything but a conservative. I really do not like what he has been saying or his past and present voting record to put it mildly. If he ends up to be the candidate, we as Americans DO NOT have a choice as all the Democratic nominees, along with McCain are just the same, just different packaging. I also like the ideas of Ron Paul and his fiscal responsibility, which is a major major issue in that this country is heading in the wrong direction. Soon we will NOT be our free America. So I for one, am happy both Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in this race. It just "might" wake McCain up, "maybe" he might start listening to the American People?? I surely hope so.

    February 20, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Dennis O

    Did Keith really say to not waterboard??? We already have war criminals in the White House and McCain of all people know the pain of torture. It may be why he screamed the loudest until the Reub machine quieted him some on the talking point of torture. Next you will say it is ok to eavesdrop on American's without a warrant or hold them forever without charges.

    February 20, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Earl, Chicago

    It's not about ego, it's about $. The more name recognition he gets, the more books he can sell and the more motivational speaking gigs he can land.

    February 20, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. DrFill

    Sounds like he has a personal issue wiith McCain
    This isn't helping the party, contrary to that opinion.
    He seems more eager to divide it

    February 20, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Dennis O

    sorry meant Republican machine

    February 20, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Gary

    At the start of the race doesn't every candidate say they are "in it until the end" when they speak to their supporters? Then they drop out a short time later, when it is not over yet and make liars out of themselves.

    Huckabee is a guy who is simply doing what he has said he would do all along, staying in until someone has 1191.

    Finally a politician who does what he says he's going to do. Instead of beating him up he should be praised for sticking to his convictions. Many states have not voted. I believe he is pointing out how this process of selecting a nominee is broken and leaves out many of us based on the state we live in.

    February 20, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Emily

    Regardless of if you agree with his positions or not (I do), Mike Huckabee is one of the few people in American politics willing to honestly stand up for what he believes in and remind us that we do, in fact, live in a democracy. Plus, he is the only candidate left in the race with executive leadership experience, and did great things for the state of Arkansas while governor - greatly improved the education system (and all of his children went to public school), took the budget from a deficit to 800 million surplus (even though there was a recession while he was in office), improved roads, etc.

    As he has stated over and over and over again, our presidential primary election rules state that a candidate MUST win 1,191 delegates before being declared the nominee. I don't know why every political analyst on TV is so confused about why he is still in the race when he has explained it numerous times. Until McCain has done that, there is still a slight chance that Huckabee could win enough delegates to force a brokered convention. No one thought the NY Giants had a prayer of a chance in the Super Bowl, and look what happened. You just NEVER know what will happen, though as Huckabee has said, if he drops out of the race THEN he's sure he will lose. I'm encouraged that we have a candidate who actually wants to play by the rules. I'm appalled that it seems everyone in the media and the Republican establishment thinks that quitting before a contest is over is the honorable thing to do, "for the good of the party." That sounds borderline fascist to me. I would rather have a Democratic president and vote for the man I think would make the best president than cast a half-hearted vote for an uninspiring Republican candidate that I've been told to vote for. This election is enough to make me Independent and write in Huckabee's name in November.

    February 20, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. AJ, IL

    I say stay in Huckabee. Huckabee serves as a "Huckathorn" in McCain's side and keeps some in the Republican party from holding their noses and voting for McCain. I'm loving it.

    Obama in 08!

    February 20, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Ken, Suitland MD

    Kieth says: "As a registered Republican I am fearful for what I see in the Republican party."

    As a sentient human being, proud of our American heritage, and with eyes wide open to what has been happening in the country for the past 7-14 years, I am also fearful for what I see in the Republican party.

    February 20, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Ken, Suitland MD

    In fact, I am downright –afraid– of the the Republican party.

    February 20, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. denzer

    I know Huckabee was relative;y unknown going into this election, but he just seems to be so much more substantive and genuine than McCain. I wish other conservatives would have seen the same thing. Somebody convince me, what do you see in McCain?

    February 20, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Pat

    Huckabee is accomplishing nothing but helping the other side by staying in. Your next chance to make a real choice will be when you have to pick between John McCain and either Obama or Clinton. Right now to keep saying you are making a choice is foolish. The other foolish Huckabee idea is that this is a replay of Reagan's path to the presidency in 1976 and 1980. Michael Reagan wrote a piece in the last couple of weeks about what happened with his Dad. According to Michael, President Reagan, who did the right thing when he lost the nomination to Ford in 1976, was not happy that other so-called conservatives didn't get behind Ford. Reagan didn't like it because it gave us the disasterous presidency of Jimmy Carter. So, Reagan put country ahead of self-interest. If there is any substance to Huckabee – whom I like even thought I am John McCain supporter – Huckabee will do what is right for the country. If not, I will hold Huckabee accountable for the pull-out in Iraq that either Barack or Hillary will make happen – putting us in peril.

    February 20, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. RightyTighty

    At least Huckabee is not dragging down the national party in the process.
    You know..., like whats her name, mmmm..., Bill's wife.

    February 20, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. Susan C

    Wow! I wish all our politicians were as willing to discuss the issues like Huckabee. Unfortunately, the American public has become so dumb we listen to the same rhetoric every election year and expect DIFFERENT results.
    WE NEED DISCUSSION FROM BOTH PARTIES. Mike Huckabee is giving the American public a chance it hasn't had in ages; to think through issues logically instead of judging someone by their haircut.
    Thanks for staying in the race Mike! I know it has been a personal hardship to take the abuse of the media who want to continue to bury America and its glory.

    February 20, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. txtransplant

    I think Mike Huckabee should definitely stay in the race-and Hillary, too. It's always good to let the frontrunners know they haven't pleased 100% of the people. That way they are aware of the fact that they need to accept the views of others and not just their "yes" people. Competition does make for a better product and don't kid yourself-politics is all about product.

    February 20, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Stay in the race, it is the AMERICAN way! When did We fall deaf and dumb to allow others to attempt to instill in us their beliefs as our own....What did all those who died from the civil war to the current WAR die for!!!! so that someone else can tell us what to think, how to act, and what to fight for??? One thougth comes to mind "SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER"

    I applaud you and what you stand for

    February 20, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. Paul Pousson

    You hang in there Mike! You are the only one running that isn't wishy washy on what you believe in. Hope you win Texas!( from a Texan! )

    February 20, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Anonymous

    After I read a few of the posted comments I nod my head in confirmation of my last post "Sheep to the Slaughter" you all sound just like CNN

    February 20, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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