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. aaron d. garrett

    Hello Senator McCain,
    I too feel it is imperative that we as conservatives show the nation the differences in our most fundamental beliefs, and underscore the vast disparity in our proposed solutions for this great country. I am an architecture student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo (a very liberal place), and I hear people even there say how deeply they want the candidates to simply talk about issues. Show them that republicans are NOT about “business as usual” by discussing our goals in a debate with Gov. Huckabee. Recently, you have been unfairly attacked by the media. This debate would help remind the people about the content of your character and forget about the lies that CNN is espousing. Please participate in this debate with Gov. Mike Huckabee and give the people what they so desperately want to see.

    February 26, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  2. Daniel

    Yes I would love to see a debate.
    Huckabee rocks.

    February 26, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  3. charles

    I love this Gov. Huckabee. Keep fighting the good fight. Let the voters have a chance. Why should the democrats get all the air time, and all the debates and the republicans get disinfranchised.

    February 26, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  4. Jessica

    I very much want to hear more of a conservative voice from our politicians and am concerned about why the scheduled debate was mysteriously cancelled. It is my hope that McCain will agree and make it happen - if for no other reason so that we can have a balance of reporting between the parties.

    February 26, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. Cliff

    Your ignorance of what Mike Huckabee believes is just one more reason why this debate should go forward. Mike has never said he believes the world is only 6,000 years old. In fact he clearly stated when question by (I believe it was Bill Mahr), that he does not have an opinion of how old the world is.
    Before you call someone a fool for what they believe, be sure you know what you are talking about. If you don't it only makes you look like the fool!

    February 26, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  6. Phila

    Oddly enough I have to agree with Fmr. Gov. Huckabee, since he is still in the race, he and Sen. McCain should be debating and giving the voters (American public) an opportunity to listen to what they say each of them is for and against.

    February 26, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  7. Tony

    I have never been more turned off by a candidate then with Huck. He informally misrepresents Christianity as a whole. Get out of the race!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so sick of seeing your cunning face on CNN.

    February 26, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. Mike

    Another debate is a great idea. There are still many states which have not held their primaries yet. I think these voters should have an opportunity to hear the republican candidates views.

    February 26, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. Jay

    I think that an open and honest debate between McCain/Huckabee will be most revealing. For a candidate who has "claimed" the nomination, a few words with a fellow Republican on the issues couldn't hurt him. He would have to do so terrible as to loose most, if not all the remaining states. If he doesn't ante up to the table now, he will be viewed as reluctant to have an open and honest debate on the issues concerning the Republican party.

    grant, the "fool" believes that recorded history is only 6000 years old. Which, if I remember my 7th grade history, that's about right.

    February 26, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  10. Kevin

    I hope that John McCain accepts Mike's invitation to debate him.
    Mike handles himself very well in debates and it would be good to see both debate each other before the March 4th primaries.

    February 26, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  11. jack

    That is a very ignorant thing to say. Huckabee's belief about the origins of the earth has no bearing on his ability to be president. I think any reasonable person would agree that his political credentials are competitive with the other candidates. A debate would be great for his long-shot campaign. I think he deserves a chance to articulate his policies and make a case for his candidancy.
    And quite frankly, I think he would outspeak McCain hands down.

    February 26, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  12. Jerry

    Mike, get a life!

    February 26, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  13. Joe Sellers

    Grant, I would not call you a fool like you called Mike Huckabee. Everyone knows the earth is millions of years old. Get your facts straight. From Adam and Eve until the Flood, about 2,000 years. From the Flood to the birth of Christ, about 2,000 years. From the birth of Christ to the present, about 2,000 years. Hence, 6,000 years. Didn't you go to Sunday School? McCain should debate Huckabee, then you will see a very smart man.

    February 26, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. olivia

    Hey grant, you put me in the fools category for believing in creationism...But at the end i don't think a monkey is mentally fit to be a president either. Is this the reason you don't run for president?

    February 26, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Brittany, TN

    It's about time! The Democrats are getting all the headlines. All the talk of the heated race in Texas. Hello.... there is a statistical tie in the Republican race in many of the polls. There is no nominee. It is amazing how McCain has this "wrapped up" when he still has quite a ways to go! The media influence has been unreal in this election.

    February 26, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  16. G.R.

    Huckabee is for the Fair Tax and that is why he has my support.

    Will CNN host the debate if John McCain accepts?

    February 26, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. Mango

    Finally! It will be nice to have a debate on the issues rather than McCain vs Romney (that was awful).

    I know the media keeps saying McCain is going to win the nomination but he hasn't yet. Until someone does, the debates should continue so that the voters can make their choice between the candidates.

    I think its sad that so many places in the world don't have the right to vote in a free election and, here in America, people are basically being told not to bother voting.

    I appreciate the fact that CNN has provided coverage of all the candidates. Not only for making a choice in the primary but also for the general election.

    I hope this means CNN will be broadcasting the debate?

    February 26, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  18. JohnQPublic

    I wondered why the scheduled Republican debate had not taken place.

    I feel a debate is very much in order and may I point out that the most famous debate in history and one with far reaching consequences
    was the one between Lincoln and Douglas.

    It is interesting that Douglas was an overwhelming favorite at the time.
    If that debate hadn't taken place would our country be united today?

    Let them debate I say. Let the people decide. It seems to me Mr. Huckabee has some good ideas and is a great communicator but has largely been marginalized to this point. Let him be heard. Let's see how Mr. McCain stacks up against him.

    February 26, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  19. Marc

    I have a question for the all the intelligent evolution gurus out there. What is it that you believe in? What ever it is, it has to start with something. Example the big bang theory, you have two objects that collide. Where did the objects come from? Where do any of the objects that evolutionist believe in come from? Whether you talk monkeys, missing link, or what ever. What ever you believe it was that is YOUR FAITH. If your faith is in monkeys or gaseous substances so be it. I hope it works for you but don't condemn someones FAITH. We have to be tolerant of all faiths even the ones that believe that pigs will fly one day. I really don't see where evolution is a better theory than any other.

    I do like to invest so try this... If the evolutionist is right I will die and get buried and the worms can have me, same as the evolutionist. but if the Christians are right and the evolutionist are wrong the Christian goes to heaven for eternity and the evolutionist goes to hell for eternity. I am not a scientist and I am not a theologian. but I do know a great deal when I see one and I don’t let my pride get in the way.

    February 26, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  20. Crowe

    Readily agreeing to a debate requested by Governor Huckabee would be the honorable thing to do. As a republican voter, I'd love to be able to see the remaining republican nominees side by side for a debate.

    No accepting this invitation would be very telling in and of itself.

    February 26, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. Dan Campbell

    Huckabee has won every single debate so far. Every top political analyst has said this as well. Mccain will lose any debate.

    Huckabee is behind because Romney tried to buy the conservative vote and lost. "The vote for Romney was a vote for Mccain"

    So Huckabee just has less delegates, but he is the GOP choice as a representative of the people.

    February 27, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  22. Chris in Silicon Valley

    McCain-Huckabee '08!!!

    February 27, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  23. Brad

    Hey CNN hears your chance to show your more fair and balanced than FOX.

    February 27, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  24. LETS GET IT ON!!

    the Dems are debating it UP!! eating up air time. getting ALL the limelight. lets see Huck and McCain have a talk. why not? the GOP has viewpoints too yuh know!!!

    debate him McCain!!!

    February 27, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  25. Mobilized Army Reservist

    I like Huckabee! But only for comedic relief. Fold the tent and go back to Arkansas-and drag Hillary Clinton with you.

    February 27, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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