May 8th, 2008
08:19 AM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee: 'I got to give Hillary some credit'


Watch Huckabee's comments Thursday.

(CNN) - Former campaign underdog Mike Huckabee said Thursday that Democrat Hillary Clinton should ignore critics pressuring her to end her presidential run, telling CNN’s John Roberts that “she entered this thing to play to the finish line.”

“It’s easy to play horse race with this and say, ‘Gosh, she ought to drop out,’” he said on CNN’s American Morning. “She’s playing by the rules that the party set, just as I played by the rules that the Republican Party set.

“You know it’s frustrating to those of us who spend all of this time, effort and money - we get our supporters out there, we play by the rules that were handed and then somebody says, ‘It looks like the way this is gonna end is different than we want, so why don’t you go ahead and quit?’”

Huckabee faced pressure to end his own White House bid after it became mathematically impossible for him to become the Republican nominee. He stayed in the race several weeks longer, winning several contests, until John McCain captured the 1,191 delegates required to claim the GOP nomination.

On Thursday, Huckabee – who endorsed McCain, and recently launched his own political action committee – said public calls for an end to the Democratic contest were premature. “Now what if you did that in major league baseball, what if we did that in NFL football, once a team has got four or five touchdowns ahead we just said, ‘Look, it’s pretty inevitable here, the math doesn’t work, let’s end the game, so is that the way we ought to play it?’

“I got to give Hillary some credit that: yeah, it doesn’t look like she’s gonna get the nomination. But she entered this thing to play to the finish line - and I think that’s what she’s attempting to do.”

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. Sam in Indiana

    As an Obama supporter, I don't think Hillary should be asked to quit.

    She is in a race for the nomination. When her funds are not there and she also comes to the realization that the math is not there, then it will be Hillary's decision to make to concede. I am sure it will be a gracious one.

    May 8, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  2. hahaha

    Why doesn't Huckabee and Clinton join forces and become a third party called the Loser's Club.

    May 8, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  3. Lisa Salt Lake City, Utah

    At least Huckabee went on to discuss how he and McCain were different on policies – Huckabee talked about the Fair Tax Plan. All Hillary is doing is talking about how she is a fighter.

    May 8, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  4. tidho

    "She's playing be the rules the party set..."
    ...well unless you count FA and MI, lol.

    Did you see the NBA playoffs last night? One team had a big lead towards the end and they added an extra two minutes to the 4th quarter to see if it would get closer.
    ...oh wait a minute, that didn't happen. That would have been ridiculous.

    May 8, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  5. Marshall

    The Republicans want a weak and divided Democratic Party. It makes their chances in November better.

    Let's end this and unite under one candidate. Or we will spend another four years under bush-like leadership.

    May 8, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  6. Mike

    ...well said Huckabbe, you understand the dynamics...

    Who knows, maybe a serious scandal will erupt within a couple of days and tank Obamas momentum.

    He does have a lot of skeletons in his closet I'm sure, we are just waiting for someone to open the door.

    Go Hillary!!!!

    May 8, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  7. BCNU purple state, usa

    I don't think he said "I got to give her credit." He proabbly said "I've got to giver her credit."

    Sometimes while transcribing comments, one must look past phonetics and capture the intent.

    May 8, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  8. miles

    shut up loser

    May 8, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. Joyce in Florida

    Way to go Mike Huckabee. I am with you 100%. Hillary Clinton should not quit until all the primaries are done. Then we will see who the nominee truly is. I still believe that Senator Clinton could win the nomination. She is not a quitter. Keep fighting Senator Clinton. We still love and support you. HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!

    May 8, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  10. Independent

    You were in it for your party, and weree a better candidate. Hillary stays because she has a lust for power, not because she believes in the American people

    May 8, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. Ellie, OR

    Thank you, Mike. Finally, a voice of reason and decency!

    May 8, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. Debbie

    Huckabee and Hillary both forget that their opponent is on the same team so you can't compare or play this game like a game against an opponent from another team.

    May 8, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. poyoray

    I think the superdelegates should wait to endorse out of respect for Hillary and the millions of voters that voted for her.

    Let the historic race continue to the finish line and let everyone have their chance to vote for the first female or first biracial presidential candidate. It is proabably one of the best ways to unite the party. If cut short, it will cause greater bitter discord.
    No matter what happens. The fact that Hillary has stayed in meant that in every competition, they have been able to register more democrats and add more numbers than any time in history. If this was not done, it would have been tougher in the fall.

    May 8, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  14. Sean

    Oh, but only if she was playing by the rules. If this was a horse race, she'd want to lenghten the race, claim certain horses don't matter, and that some jockeys were too small to race.

    May 8, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  15. Brandon

    I am an Obama supporter, and I would like to see Hillary drop out, but Mike Huckabee is a good guy...

    May 8, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. Divanto

    You are very correct Mr Huckabee. She should stay and fight till the end. Unfortuantely, you are contradicting yrself. Hillary is not playing by the rules set by the party. She is playing by the rules she's setting for the party.
    The party rule is that Florida and Michigan don't count because of what we already know. Clinton accepted the punishment that the DNC meted on these two states. Now she wants to change the rules. Is that fair Mr Huckebee?

    May 8, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. Adam from Ohio

    The Huckster's right; Hillary has every right to play until Obama has the delegates locked up–which means she can go up until the convention if she wants. But she's trying to CHANGE the rules that she agreed to play with–that is, that Michigan and Florida get no delegates because they, themselves, broke the rules. Therein lies the difference.

    May 8, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  18. kissnahug

    Who cares what this REPUBLICAN has to say. Of course he would want her to say in the support his REPUBLICAN friend hillary and to further divide the party

    May 8, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  19. fred

    You are right on Huck!! Stay in all the way to the convention Hillary!!

    Your supporters are behind you 100%.

    Never did like fair weather friends like McGovern!!!

    GO Hillary!!

    May 8, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  20. copy editor

    All I can guess is that this quotation from the second paragraph, "‘Gosh, she out to drop out,’" should say "Gosh, she ought to drop out."

    May 8, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  21. Hillary supporter, but will not betray democrats

    Hillary has every right to stay in the race. She has to quit on her own
    time line. She just needs time to heal herself from the grueling race.
    In the mean time ALL democrats should unite behind the inevitable
    winner and help us help ourselves. The focus now is on stopping
    John McCain.

    May 8, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  22. Scott, Wichita

    Finally someone who actually knows what he's talking about, and not a political pundit!

    McCain/Huck 08'

    May 8, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  23. Jim Shimmer

    Huckabee is a real loser.
    I wish MCSame choses him as his VP so we'll have 2 losers running on the same ticket.

    May 8, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  24. manubi

    She will not drop out of this thing until somebody will pay her the 11.4 million dollars that she loaned it to her own campaign or she gets the nomination! Why doesn't she spend this money somewhere for a good cause. For example, getting a free clinic established and that's how you set yourself up for the presidential bid.

    Stop wasting your money for some meaningless activities. Do some common goods for the people as wealthy as Senator Clinton is!

    May 8, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  25. Belle

    This would have played out differently if ALL of the votes counted.

    Obama is winning the primary by default.

    Clinton has won 10 of the Battleground States to Obama's 7. (That is 30% more than Obama for you math fans....)

    Clinton has won ALL of the states needed to win in the General Election.

    If you just look at the Electoral math...Clinton has won.

    Of course Republicans will want Obama as the nominee. He is the WEAKER candidate. His liberal voting record, his stance on abortion, will lose the General Election.

    History shows this type of tight bid for the White House Results in Republicans retaining office with only ONE exception....JFK and LBJ.

    JFK surprised the delegates by choosing LBJ....why? Kennedy actually wanted to win the election! He knew he could NOT carry the South without LBJ. However, Obama and his supporters only seem to want to win the Primary...and NOT the General election.

    Still...if Clinton can sweep W. Virginia, Kentucky and eek out a victory in is quite possible that Puerto Rico might decide the next Presidential Nominee. So the call for Clinton to quit, is a premature call...but it is Obama's campaign strategy...see it for what it is.

    May 8, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
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