February 26th, 2008
09:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee sends debate invitation to McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/26/art.huckabee0226.ap.jpg caption=" Huckabee wants to debate McCain one-on-one."]
MASON, Ohio (CNN) - As promised, Mike Huckabee sent John McCain an official request Tuesday for a debate.

"Now that the race for the Republican nomination is down to just the two of us, I believe this is the time for a real discussion about our vision for the future of this great country," the letter reads. "I encourage you to join me in a Lincoln Douglas-style debate so that voters can better understand our views on critical issues."

McCain had said earlier in the day that his campaign had never heard directly from the Huckabee camp about a debate, a suggestion the former Arkansas governor has been making for weeks.

"Our Democratic counterparts, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have had recent opportunities to underscore the differences in their positions. It seems only fitting to me that Republican primary voters are differed the same," the letter continues.

Huckabee's future in the race hinges on the primaries in Texas and Ohio next Tuesday and Huckabee asked that the debate take place before then.

He concludes, "Senator, let's lead by example and get the ball rolling. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this idea and debating you in front of the American people."

- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt

Filed under: John McCain • Mike Huckabee • Ohio
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Yes, this guy is mostly nuts, and a little crazy.

    He is also entertaining as he displays his mastery over the media and thoughtless religious idealoges.

    February 26, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. Dem in PA

    Wow imagine the ratings on that debate....

    February 26, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. Joe Somebody

    And I look forward to watching it!

    February 26, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. Paula

    I do not understand why the democrats have had a scheduled debate, yet the Republican debate was canceled. Something sure smells fishy. Maybe Stephen Colbert had it right; I guess we are supposed to let the media tell us what we want instead of thinking for ourselves. NOT! We need a debate! If McCain does not debate, and he wins the nomination, he will be winning it not because he was the best candidate, but because he avoided a challange. That is not the brave war hero that has been promoted to us. No one running for president should ever refuse to debate the issues.

    February 26, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. Pedro

    The Democrats are still debating so why not the Republicans? Huckabee, Paul and McCain have been campaigning for over a year now. Quieting their voices before the race is over would be a great disservice to the millions who haven't voted yet. I really hope this debate will take place.

    February 26, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. Walter

    Good luck, Huck.

    February 26, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  7. Mildred

    Let the games began.

    February 26, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  8. grant

    This fool believes the world is only six thousand years old, hence he is not mentally fit to be the President of the United States.

    February 26, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. Paula

    Just noticed the number of articles on each of the candidates. Obama 797? Hillary 918? MCCain 505? Romney 464? Huckabee only 312? That doesn't seem like fair reporting to me. I wonder how the numbers would be based on positive and negative spins? I'll bet the numbers would be even further off. Seems like a debate is the only fair way to somewhat balance the scale.

    Is CNN going to be fair and balanced reporting or not?

    February 26, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. KATHY

    This is a dangerous woman to be dealing with world leaders on our behalf. Is she going to get mad, come back here and press the button just to flex her muscles or because they made her cry? Who is going to be reeling her in during those times? Bill? God help us.

    February 26, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. Tina

    Yes, let's have at it, folks. Most of America has never heard Huckabee speak about the issues. They hear that McCain is the nominee and that's who they vote for. What a way to run an "election." What a fraud the GOP has turned out to be.

    February 26, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. Hmmm...

    I wonder how McCain will respond. He really has nothing to gain in the Republican camp by debating Huckabee because Huckabee is such a better speaker than he is. However, he has much to gain in the general election by testing himself against Huckabee because Obama has a similar style (just with no substance to back up anything he says).

    If he truly does not see Huckabee as a threat then he'll debate him. If he declines he loses opportunity for national air time and shows that he's still a little scared about what Huckabee could do.

    February 26, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  13. Storm

    McKing is TERRIFIED of debating Huckabee...plain and simple!

    Huckabee does out debate him. McKing has one thing going for him...military experience.

    Huckabee is the ONLY one that wan win against Obama and Clinton.

    McKing sleep with the enemy.

    The media should be PUSHING McKing for a debate. WE have a right to hear it and a right to vote.

    February 26, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  14. John Callaghan

    Clinton and Obama are grabbing all the headlines with their debates. There's a real danger that McCain will fade into the background for the next few months while Obama hogs the news cycle after cycle. Republicans need some excitement too. A gentlemanly debate could only help McCain at this point.

    February 26, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  15. Jessica

    I would love to see a debate between the two candidates. There are differences and the people are entitled to hear what those are.

    February 26, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    Wait – Isn't it 3 republicans still running>?

    February 26, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. Tiff

    Ummm....I'm sure Huck is a nicfe guy and all but... What's the point of another debate?

    February 26, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. David

    Give it up Huck.......you lost.

    February 26, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  19. anne

    It is only fair for the states that haven't voted to see Huckabee and McCain's stance on issues. Plus, whoever hosted this debate would get HUGE ratings. It is also good for McCain and Huckabee because they will have a civilized debate and it will be a sharp contrast between Hillary and Obama. TEXAS and OHIO demand that their voices get to be heard!

    February 26, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. Jodi

    It's only fair to continue the Republican debates until someone has actually won the nomination. I'm tired of it being "all Dems, all the time" in election news. The country has a right to see what issues are important to Republican voters as well.

    February 26, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  21. joyce lacy

    Give Huckabee and McCain a debate. Why should voters not have an opportunity to make a fair comparison of these two men? Who is afraid here? Who is trying to control voter opinions? What is wrong with good honest exchange of ideas?

    February 26, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  22. Lynn

    About time . . . republicans love to debate real issues!!

    All the democrat stuff was getting pretty boring. How many times can they say the same thing times two!

    February 26, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  23. Tom in Ohio

    You go Huck! The media needs to start respecting the fact that there are two Republican candidates in this race. Give 'ol John a run for his money and good luck to ya. I kinda like that guy!

    February 26, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  24. Kenny

    grant, were you there? How do you know?

    February 26, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  25. JC

    Its past time for a republican debate. The voters have had a huge diservice. Having a candidate that the base doesnt want or agree with shoved down our throat by the RNC and the media. If this is to be a fair election and not a "coranation" as Huckabee puts it, Their should of already been a debate.
    We want a chance to vote, and we want to have a chance to hear the issues debated. How can we make an informed decision if our candidates cant even debate. I commend Huckabee for continuing on despite all odds fight the establishment. He is fighting for our freedom and right to have an election. I am undecided but I have to say I am impressed with Huckabees resolve. I will lose all respect for John McCain if he denies the American Voters a chance to make their own informed opinion. Lets finally get back to having an election.

    February 26, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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