June 18th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee: Demonizing Obama is a ‘fatal mistake’

[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.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Popular Posts
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Will in Richmond, VA

    WOW... Huckabee showing serious wisdom on this front. People should know that when it comes down to it, none of this race stuff matters. It's all about who can get the job done.

    June 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Independent (Ex-Democrat) in IA

    bill in Oklahoma:

    "Huckabee is a breath of fresh air within the republican party. I like his positive populist message. Other republicans should try to be fro something and not against something."

    He's against many things (gays, women's right to choose, separation of church and state) and he has NOTHING in common with Obama. Are you kidding me?!

    June 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Gerald F.

    Well said Mr. Hunckabee. Enough with slander & put downs. We the viewing public are tired of hearing and reading the negatives. More positives would be nice for a change.

    June 18, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. JohnLee

    So is Huckabee saying that McCain is the football captain and he's the date meaning that he now accepts gay marriage?

    June 18, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Will in Richmond, VA

    Isn't it also interesting that he gave this answer in Japan, where Obama is HUGELY popular? It's much easier to be candid and honest when you dont have to answer to an American press corps or constituents.

    Still, I respect his comments here, because they're free of partisanship and bitterness.

    June 18, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. DJ, Los Angeles

    Too late...your people have already begun to run the Willie Horton ads and online blogs are full of Republicans spewing bigotry and hate.

    June 18, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Gerald F.

    Oops. Sorry. Spelled Mr. Huckabee's name wrong. (Typing with a cast on one wrist).

    June 18, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Chris, Denver CO

    Yeah, rhight. The Republicans don't have anything else. They are wrong on all counts vis-a-vis policy. Look for the slime machine to kick into high gear.

    June 18, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Debbi

    Picking on Obama's wife is not going to help their cause either as the truth of McCain's integrity, honor and family values might be used against him. Case in point:

    McCain, upon returning from Vietnam had numerous affairs during his marriage to his first wife (who was disfigured in a car accident on Christmas Eve while McCain was staying at the Hanoi Hilton), before setting his sights on the current Mrs. McCain who was younger, prettier, and richer than his current wife at the time. He then divorced his wife and the mother of his children for Cindy, whom he married one month after his divorce was finalized.

    Cindy thought nothing of messing around with a married father of three.

    June 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. SuperClearVision

    Democratic dream ticket: Obama/Huckabee.

    June 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. Mikey


    McCain invited these attacks by flip flopping in the primaries, pandering to the far right by promising to:

    – Appoint only conservative judges, rather than the most qualified
    – Make the Bush tax cuts permanent (remember, the one's he said "bothered his conscience" – guess his conscience is dependant on who he needs votes from)
    – Claims to support the troops, but then did not support the new GI Bill, that received 75 yes votes (bipartisan). And he didn't even have the guts to show up and vote against it – he just slinked out of town when the vote came up.
    – Says he's against mistreatment of prisoners, but wants to hold US Citizens indefinitely in Cuba without giving them their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

    Now the new found "environmentalist" wants to make drilling in environmentally sensitive areas a centerpiece of his energy plan. The environmentalist who, by the way, has not voted in favor of a single piece of environment legislation in 2 1/2 years. What do you call it when you flip flop and then flop back again?

    Neo-con in sheep's clothing, champion flip flopper, major league panderer, and crawl out of towner rather than stand up and be counted.

    So, why would I vote for this guy?

    June 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Dave C - NJ

    Jonathan: The Republicans and Dems historically "switched places"...you are talking about the old party. The Rebubs since the 60's til now have been the party for the rich and party for the religious right. Bascially Big Business and the Rich (who vote for their bank accounts) and Rural America (who vote for their social values.) A strange combination if you ask me. Most rich people I know think rural Americans are idiots, but are glad to have them in the party as they need the votes.

    June 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. Bill

    What a landmark idea. Lets not attack a candidate personally. While this is new to politics, it is not a new adea.

    June 18, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |

    OK, everyone wants to talk about issues. How's NoBama going to justify to the Unions and other protectionists who voted for him in the primaries that he now thinks NAFTA is not all bad? He even admitted in the CNN article that he said things in the primary because he's "a politician". I guess the halo is tarnishing.

    June 18, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Marilyn from Ohio

    Oh, pulleeeeeeze, Huck!

    June 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Beck

    I don't think any part of McCain's campaign has focused on race. Can't say that about Obama's.

    As for rabid and crazy followers, Obama wins that battle with ease. His "rock star" persona is concerning to many voters who won't vote with their emotions, but with their common sense.

    June 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. John

    True statement.

    McCain would Stomp Obama simply by sticking to the issues.

    The Obama team continues to smear and use fear and divisiveness, the standard democrat routine to divert from the issues because they know McCain would eat him alive.

    June 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Concerned Democrat

    I think Mr. Huckabee's point goes both ways. I think the Democrats need to be careful about demonizing Sen. McCain's military record. They may not agree with his stance and policies on the Iraq War, but here is a man who survived 5 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. There is something to be respected in his service during this countries first unpopular war.

    June 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Marilyn

    Isn't it interesting that Hillary was not offered the same consideration in reminding people that she too is breaking new ground in US politics. She was fair game. But Obama is not? Sexism continues!

    June 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. AC

    Obama can be defeated on substance

    June 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Ready for Change

    Well said Huckabee.

    June 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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