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. Jennifer, GA

    I believe that Huckabee should stay in the race. I admire his "non-quitter" attitude–when things have gotten tough for him, he has stuck with it. That is the kind of leader we need for America. I also admire him for his stances on the issues and his honesty–that he doesn't just go with what he thinks will make people vote for him. That is a strong indication of his character and that he is in this thing because he truly has convictions and believes in them.

    February 20, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Dana, Arizona

    The news media are the only people who benefit from Huckabee's exit. They're costs would be diminished with him on the sidelines. On the other hand they would also drop coverage of McCane for the next four months if Huckabee weren’t in the race. Republicans need to keep him in the media.

    Anyone who thinks these past 14 months have been a vacation for any candidate needs to look at his or her definition of a vacation. Come on . . .

    Hang in there Mike. You’re voice is the best thing about this election quest. I disagree with much of your social platform, but I agree completely with your support of the “Fair Tax”.

    February 20, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Bayou Joe

    You said your piece. You accomplished the goal of keeping the Mormon out of the race, now go away and let the party save the money for the general election. People will still vote whether you are in the campaign or not. What else, are you and your fanatics going to show up at the convention and if you don't get your way, start another party. I am a moderate Republican and for years your brand of one issue republicanism has prevented the party from expanding it's base. The Alamo is a good place to say goodbye. Very sybolic.

    February 20, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Kathy

    Not about Huckabee's ego? Yeah, right.

    February 20, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Kevin

    Talk about inpiration! Its great to see a guy who will stick with it until the end!

    February 20, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Andrea

    Mr Huckabee, you appear to be a very fine man and electable. I would feel much more safe if you won the nomination. Miracles do happen.

    February 20, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. WP

    He's right. Is it a coronation? Or a contest? Until McCain has the delegates to win, let him compete. Its amazing that McCain with only about 30% of overall republican vote and with not all states given their right to vote – that everyone is pressing Huck to drop out.

    February 20, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. SlapStick, Florida

    As a democrat, I must say that I have a great deal of respect for Huckabee because he is not allowing for the Republican party to push him around and he makes a very valid argument. The American people deserves options and to be honest, many of the republicans who are starting the wrap their support around McCain is only doing so out their own egos. They are trying to make the statement that Republicans are united and what a JOKE!!! This is the type of Ego that caused Bush to be in the shape he is in now. EGO-mania.

    February 20, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Gino

    It is evident that McCain is the nominee. However, it is critical that we understand McCain's weaknesses because the primary is expected to be heavily democratic biased. Huckabee should indeed stand on firm ground until the end. That is the graceful exit, and walking away is not going to benefit the whole of conservatives. Issues must continually be raised against McCain to prepare him for the battles ahead. I think McCain needs all the help he can get and the more Huckabee stands firm the more McCain must polish himself. McCain is not articulate and he will be running against a highly and exceptionally charismatic democratic opponent, which I do not think McCain is currently prepared to overcome. Stay in the game, Huck!

    February 20, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. SlapStick, Florida

    McCain and party are angry at the fact that McCain can't start throwing serious blows at the Democrats like he would like to because to do that would be to show that he has completed counted out Huckabee and Paul, which would not be good for his campaign. We have seen where and EGO will get you. Just look at HRC.

    February 20, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Goodheart

    This is exactly why the Republican's will eat Obama up in a general election. Even his supporters have no idea what he's done or if he's even done anything.
    Is being a really good charasmatic speaker enough to get the Democratic nomination? Wake up Democrats. He's going to get crushed like McGovern did in the 72 general election.

    February 20, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. MA GOP

    I don't really agree all that much with Huckabee, but I have a ton of respect for him in keeping his word and not bowing out.

    February 20, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. Deborah

    Mr. Huckabee
    Whose money are you wasting??? I, as many Americans, could see money better spent...perhaps to help our soldiers or hungry children right here in America.I just don't see throwing money away to a campaign that can not win and/or help America. I do have a bit of admiration that you have stayed in the race this long. But, honestly, it is time to bow out.

    February 20, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. Lloyd Hansen

    I didn't vote for Huck in my state's primaries and don't think I ever would but I admire him for sticking to it. Without him, the Republican primaries would be a no-contest win which would be boring. If he gets conservatives fired up and then supports McCain (which I think he will) then the Republican party will be stronger than before.

    February 20, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Joe R. Monroe

    Sally Savage: or is it silly savage? Shrub has "conviction" which he stands by. He probably talks like you too, and says "nook-you-ler" just like you and these folks with "conviction". He says God got him elected, then told him to invade "Eye-rack" (find that country on a map), all 27 evolving reasons, and then told him to "stay the course".
    The point? Of course he has "convictions" – we all see that. We all have "convictions". Mine is that "convictions"=strongly held opinions, which may, or may not be rooted in fact.

    February 20, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Joel Benjamin

    Profound statement Huckabee! You said it, it needed to be said, and I think that a lot of people are glad to see that you're still here. I don't appreciate how some of the other GOP candidates conceded defeat and backed out so quickly. Thanks for giving people a choice because there are issues, positions, and differences of opinions that need to be talked about so that the eventual GOP nominee can stand strong with the backing of all the republican people.

    February 20, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Houston

    The Alamo is a shrine and not a political icon. The phony politicians belong in the convention center down the street.

    Hey Huckabee...get your Arkansas behind out of Texas and take your lies and religious bigotry with you. That goes for you too Clinton and anyone else who wants to use the Alamo to manipulate people to get votes.

    February 20, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Scott W.

    The only person running on true American principles and convictions is RON PAUL. Yes, he is still in the race, too, and will be until the very end, promoting the only agenda that matters in America: THE CONSTITUTION. Read it sometime and you'll see that the clear choice in RON PAUL.

    February 20, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Ron

    Mike Huckabee is only candidate that truly listens to God. The bible says that the truth will set you free. Jesus is the truth, the life, and the way. Not a way, but the way. I want to elect a person to sit in the "big chair" that listens to God through the Holy Spirit. We either follow the spirit or the flesh. Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. I urge all true Texans to support Governor Huckabee, God's choice servant.

    Be not deceived, God will not be mocked!

    February 20, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. BMAN

    As a democrate, that agrees with nothing that the republican party stands for, I do not understand why people tell a candidate to drop out?
    Huckabee is right, Mccain has not hit the magic number, so why drop out?
    If Mccain wants Huckabee out, then knock him out by reaching the number needed to get the nomination.
    This after all is a democratic country, Huckabee has a strong base that wants him to stay in and speak for them, LET HIM BE, IT IS HIS RIGHT TO DO SO.

    February 20, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Polly A

    Keep on buzzing Huckabee. The voters in the remaining state deserve a choice and a voice.
    BTW, no one is calling for Ron Paul to drop out and no one mentions that it nearly mathmatically impossible for McCain to get 1191 since he barely gets over 50% in the contests.

    February 20, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. April 22nd

    this is Hillary's future at a glance...

    February 20, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Dan

    Keep going, Huckleberry. We Democrats are cheering you on!

    February 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. kathleen, illinois

    Can you believe that he charges for his speeches?? He
    should start a church. He is using this campaign to get
    free press. Now that is not about ego. Why, he is one of
    the most egotistical people in the whole race. He thinks
    a lot of himself. I can't believe people would pay to have
    him in the name of a campaign.

    February 20, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. Thomas

    Not surprisingly, Huckabee completely misses the point. The question about ego is not whether it feeds his ego to stay in the race. It is that his ego is so big that he is all about himself and doesn't care the impact on others. He is going to do his own thing no matter the consequences. But then, I never would have expected him to understand the difference.

    February 20, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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