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. Theogracias

    Now everyone loves the spoiled selfish girl who would not play by the rules and put herself first.

    My daughters deserve a much better role model at this level.

    May 8, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Voter

    Why are Obama supporters so worried about Clinton when they believe they have the nomination wrapped up? Most people have already decided whether they will vote for Clinton or Obama if their candidate does not reach the general election. If Clinton dropped out today, a month ago, or in a month, I still would not vote for Obama in the GE.

    May 8, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. VRM

    It's a shame that this has become more about Hillary and her ambitions than it has become about finding a representative for the Democratic party. It's telling when so many of her supporters threaten to vote for McCain in the general if she's not there. McCain and Hillary have very little in common politically, but her fans would turn on the Democratic party just because she lost. She lost! She had every advantage going into this race, but she lost. Why in the world does that mean we should settle for another Bush term?

    Way to represent the party Hillary. You're a great spokesperson for the Republicans.

    May 8, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. SLIM

    Hillary should take notes from Humpabee. He knows what he’s talking about. He has the experience of a looser.

    Obama 08

    May 8, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. tom

    Huckabee's right – she's put up a tireless campaign...runs circles around Obama. Go Hillary – win WV!!!

    May 8, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Linda in Va

    Hillary 2008 !

    Let the nominations go on

    May 8, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Ann Ramroth

    It's Hillary's campaign and it is her call. The Democratic party initially had many attractive candidates. Unfortunately, when Bill Clinton played the race card, it polarized some of the voters. When Hillary Clinton demurred when asked if Barack Obama was a Muslim and said not as far as she knew and when her ads took a page from Karl Rove's playbook, it reflected poorly on her character. The Clintons ruined this for themselves. But let them decide when to end it.

    May 8, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. proud army and navy mom

    people, he didn't add that he had seen it was a losing battle, so he grew a brain and dropped out. it's over, we need to move on

    May 8, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Marcia

    Sports analogies are sometimes useful, but not in this case. This is not a football game or a horse race. Contrary to how the Clintons and others describe it, politics is NOT a game. Building and leading a nation is a serious and gargantuan task that requires thoughtful and intelligent leadership focused on the people, not on the leaders.

    May 8, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. Marshall

    I find it funny how all the Hillary supports now think Mike Huckabee is such a great and smart man. Now two months ago, according to the same people he was the spawn of the devil.

    It just makes me laugh at the same old politics. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, or the enemy that speaks nicely of me is now my friend.

    SAD! All he wants to do is to widen the divide that is in the party. Can't you see that?

    May 8, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Diane

    If only she were 'playing by the rules'. I don't think Hillary even understands that there are rules - unless of course, they are for anyone but her & her family.

    May 8, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Maria

    I am a hardcore Obama supporter

    And it is unfair to ask Hillary to leave now..

    She will win Kentucky and West Virginia and PR..She will get some superdelegates also..

    I am sure that the nomination will go to Obama, but we have no right whatsoever to ask Hillary to leave...

    She has been one of the best competitors- and believe me or not- she has actually made Obama a better and stronger candidate for General Election...

    May 8, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Brian

    Make sense a republican would back Clinton in this way.

    He knows all too well that every day clinton stays in the race it hurts the dem's potential in november and helps his party.

    This is all about PRIDE for clinton at this point and she needs to have the country and the dem's best interest in mind.

    May 8, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Graham

    No Tidho, telling Clinton to quit right now is the same as ending a playoff game two minutes early, or ending a best of 7 series when a team gets 3 wins and is leading in the forth game.

    So, actually, telling Clinton to quit is the exact opposite of your example. Who is being ridiculous now?

    May 8, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Willis Cheaney

    I share the feelings of a lot of people in this country but for a different reason. I, too, don't think Sen. Clinton should get out of the race. I think she she stay in and spend her time and energy trying to repair some of the damage she has and still is creating. The longer she remains on this path, the harder it will be for non grounded democrats who support her to see the BIG picture.

    Sen. Clinton – the game is now bigger than you. If you truly believe a democrat needs to be in office, listen to the millions of voters who have said Obama is that democrat!

    May 8, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. Southern view

    If Huckabee ran with Hillary, they would win. I'm serious, they would win.

    May 8, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Debby

    I agree with Huckabee she sure is a fighter more than I as her supporter give her credit for.

    May 8, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. Jason Barton

    Hillary needs to stay in the race!! If she drops out we are handing the presidency to McCain, if Obama is the nominee, I and everyone I know will either vote for McCain or simply stay home. NO VOTES FOR OBAMA.

    May 8, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. Mary May King

    "we play by the rules that were handed " Duh? Michigan? Florida? Her Party said No Campaigning in Florida....Hillary had her surrogates deluge the state with campaigning; Her Party said No to Michigan...her name was the only name on the ballot! The Huckster still has his usual cockeyed notion of what it means to "play by the rules."

    May 8, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. YBLN7

    Right. Sometimes Dems should listen what Republicans are saying about them.

    I start to like Limbough. It seems that he has more common senses than some out-touching Dem elites.

    May 8, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. alfredo lim

    Clinton has the right to stay beacuse most american (democrats white
    Hispanic and asian american etc.) will vote for her if she is the nominee and not vote at all if she will not be the nominee.

    May 8, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Status QuO.

    Nobody needs your credit Huck.

    May 8, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Bobby tray

    It is sad that some want a scandal to sink Obama. With all the scandals the Clintons have had over the years and are still standing do you think it will sink Obama? It is sad that people wish opponents ill will in order for them to be defeated. Such elementary school playground mentality. Huckabee please stop and focus on your own political party

    May 8, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Jason - KY

    Joyce in Florida,

    Maybe just maybe if Florida takes some notes from lets say Cuba, Iraq, or maybe even Russia you guys might be able to conduct an election down there.

    What is this, the third presidential election in a row that you guys have found a way to screw-up.

    May 8, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. Enlightened voter

    Obama supporters – notice how Hillary supporters are and have acted just like her? They lie, are bitter, selfish (don't care about party just want her) and would rather have four more years of bush than give a good man a try. By the way Sharon in MN – are you really Hillary disguising yourself because you sound just as delusional as her. And to the others that think Obama has only the black vote what about Iowa, Vermont, Hawaii, Wisconsin.......................................................

    May 8, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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