[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/18/art.huckabee.japan.jpg caption="Mike Huckabee delivers a speech at Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo."]
(CNN) – Former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee called Barack Obama's candidacy "a landmark achievement" Tuesday, and warned fellow Republicans not to demonize Obama.
"Republicans will make a fundamental if not fatal mistake if they seek to win the election by demonizing Barack Obama," Huckabee told reporters in Tokyo, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.
Huckabee praised the country for getting "to a point where we did not see his color but we truly saw his charisma, his message and what he brought to the campaign trail."
"When people are really hurting - and they are right now - they're not looking at a person's race," he added.
Huckabee said he hopes John McCain beats Obama, but that Republicans should focus on policy differences, not race.
Huckabee suggested questions about whether he might join McCain on the ticket were premature. "You can't accept an invitation to the prom until the football captain asks you. So I'm not going to go out and buy the outfit just yet," said Huckabee, according to AFP.