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. Carol of New York

    Why should the Governor quit? The democratic process is one of choice and that's what the voters need. Otherwise it will just be a walkover for McCain which it is already but at least Huckabee is giving him something to ponder. After all Huckabee is raking in about 30-35% of the votes and if Ron Paul was not in the race, it might be a different story. It's a shame more of the Republican primaries are not proportional and are set up as winner takes all. That is totally unfair. If a candidate wins by 1 percentage point in a primary state that is winner takes all, then all those delegates go to him.


    February 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Melissa

    I can not believe that Americans have let themselves become so disillusioned as to think that any and all canididates running for President truly love their country and want what they believe to be in the best interst of the country. We have become a nation that trusts no one and believes in nothing. I hope that changes. I think Huckabee has the right to continue cmpaigning if he still has a following and the republican nomination has not been won according to the rules that the party established. Do we even still believe in the policy of Democracy?????

    February 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Arin

    Hey, if you haven't figured it out by now, Huckabee is still running to boost his current source of income: giving speeches. The longer Huckabee has this "free" press, by "running" as a presidential candidate, the more advertising he gets for his paid speeches gig. The man is a salesman after all.

    February 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Patty Atlanta GA

    We will not stand by while this adulterer, liar and his drug addicted wife are handed the flag for the Christian Conservative movement. Is it really that hard to find a man who didn't cheat on his wife and then use his political connections to get her off criminal charges?!? Is that the best we can do? Christ saves!

    February 20, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. BM

    The DNC and a lot of others are afraid of someone like Mike Huckabee… He cuts right through the fakeness and political correctness that plagues American politics and exposes it. Yes, Mike Huckabee is not perfect, but I believe he’s better than the alternative of "Bomb, Bomb" McCain.

    February 20, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Michael

    Huckabee seems like a nice man. I feel sorry for him, however. He is now mere entertainment.

    February 20, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Dave, VA

    If Huckabee evaporated, so would press coverage of the McCain campaign. Although it's mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination, he's serving to keep McCain on the radar screen.

    February 20, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. California Independent

    I respect that Huckabee is giving voters a choice. McCain has time to go after Obama. I'm looking forward to it.

    (I thought there was a good chance there would be a woman in the White House. I just didn't think it was going to be Obama.)

    If it isn't Clinton..... McCain '08

    February 20, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Joe nyc

    I suspect and wholeheartedly believe that Huckabee is staying in the race at the request of the GOP.. by staying in the race, he keeps causing independents to split their vote between McCain and Obama. If he pulls out, the independent vote will go fully to Obama. The GOP prefers to face Clinton rather than Obama because they stand a much better chance of winning against Clinton.. The polls have supported this theory for a while now... Today the polls are even sharper in this regard, they show that Obama will beat McCain by 7 points whereas McCain will beat Hillary by 10 points..

    February 20, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Tim, Boston MA

    Keep asking "what would Jesus do?" Huck!

    Go all the way with that question at every turn, and you've got my vote!

    February 20, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Fay Wendrow

    Mr. Huckabee....give up aleady...you do look a bit foolish....you claim
    to want to give people a choice, well they have made their choice,
    and unfortunately it is not you. You don't need a miracle, you need

    February 20, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. BUKKY

    All ego

    February 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. chicagotrauma

    Sad. Huckleberry is just sad.

    February 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Kathryn Irby

    Poor Preacher Mike Huckabee! Just doesn't know when to "throw the towel in"! I actually pity him!

    Kathryn Irby
    Metairie, LA

    February 20, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Eric

    Its not Obama that the Republican,s need to worry about. It's Hillary Clinton. She WILL win the nomination when the superdelegates seat their votes. It does not matter that Obama is ahead with delegates, because neither one will have enough the win the nomination without the superdelates.
    Hillary 08!!

    February 20, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Huckabee is no a good image of what a president should be. If he quits the race, he doesn't have anything else to do because he doesn't have a job. How can anyone take him serious.

    February 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Seattle Mark

    Huckabee needs more Christian widows to pony-up more of their mites. Vacations in the Cayman Islands don't come cheap, you know !!

    (Remember him bragging about running his campaign on the Widow's Mites?)

    (I think the Christians will learn a good lesson after being conned by this selfish man.)

    February 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Thimbletack

    Huck you have more honesty in your pinky than that Neocon MamaCain has in his peanut brain.

    February 20, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Scott M.-Kalamazoo, MI

    the guys a media hound. this so-called blessing is only in it for himself and has been from the beginning, don't be so fooled sheep-people.

    February 20, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. MIwatch

    I agree with Mike, this is the beauty of Democracy, if there is no more choice left for those who haven't vote, what is the purpose of primary? and those states that vote later than the other? By keeping in the race tells everyone you don't have to listen to those states voted before you. You make your choice for your own president. That is america spirit. Not, pulling out before afraid of being called fool! Without Democracy this country is not beautiful america anymore.

    February 20, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. Gavin in WA

    All of the comments above about Huckabee needing to leave the race make no sense to me. If you like a candidate, vote for him/her. If not, don't. It's called freedom of choice.

    February 20, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Yellow Dog Democrat

    Wow – a conservative, evangelical Republican who says that his opponent's positions are not wrong, just different? Mike Huckabee would be the worst possible President of any of candidates, but I can't help respecting and liking the man.

    And it probably is better for the Republican party to not just fall in line behind the front-runner but to continue to hammer out their ideas.

    Still, the country's had eight years of right-wing rule, and we've seen that Republicans are good for Big Business but for nobody else – we'll have a Democrat next January, and thank God for that!

    February 20, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Rog in AZ

    Mike Huckabee isn't keeping the GOP from rallying around McCain, McCain's record and personality are. He is just unacceptable as a presidential nominee.

    Mike Huckabee is staying in because he is the best choice as president, of either party. He has the most experience, the best record making successful change for his government (improved education, more jobs, improved infrastructure, very high approval and reelection rate, even among Democrats, ability to unite parties to get things accomplished), and he is the best statesman/communicator with the best character.

    September is a long way away. Poor, tired old McCain could keel over by the convention, for all we know. The truth is, once the media blackout of Huckabee and all distortions of his pristine record in Arkansas stop, and the delegates are free to make an informed decision for the good of the party and the country at a brokered convention, they very well may choose Mike Huckabee as our Republican nominee. Believe me, it will be far easier to "rally the party" around him than the old guy.

    Mike is inspiring, proven to be a Go-Getter who achieves the worthy things he puts his mind to (complete health change, finishing a 4-yr degree in 2 1/2 years, magna cum laude!, reviving and strengthening a near-dead GOP in Arkansas, more than 10 years of balancing a budget and reducing taxes, among others). I guarantee you if President Mike Huckabee decides to end our dependence on foreign oil, it will happen! We WILL have a strong border. We WILL have a thriving economy, even if he is given a **** one by his predecessors. He is a solution-finder, and does everything for the good of the people, not the policy-makers and big-money politicians in D.C.

    People are so uninspired about what it really means to be an American these days. Mike Huckabee knows, and he is the man to bring enthusiasm and patriotism back to our nation!

    February 20, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Larry Motsinger

    It must be noted that Ronald Reagan ran once before he finally got the nomination. I think the problem is that Huckabee's ideas do not resonate with the American public at this time. His ideas like the Fair Tax are probably going to take some time to gain traction. However he has shown that he has strong support among evangelical which have been an important part of past Republican victories. His other problem is that he has never had the funding to run a viable campaign. It seems like the majority of Republicans feel that McCain is the best candidate to handle the war on terrorism and get the job finished in Iraq.

    February 20, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. redneck in nyc

    people! stop saying that obama, hillary, or even mccain would "ruin this country"...if you havent noticed, this country is already ruined! any of these people would be an improvement. Ruined doesnt mean all of our houses will be on fire. Ruined means that people who call themselves conservative christians are actually fighting for our right to torture and spend trillions of $ we dont have. Ruined means War is just another channel on TV. The reason we have a race between McCain and Obama (sorry Hillary but going negative is just making things worse for you) is because America wants desperately to save itself, but disagrees on methods. Have a little faith. If we survive W, the only way is up!

    February 20, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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