September 26th, 2008
02:12 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain made 'huge mistake,' Huckabee says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/26/art.huck.gi.jpg caption="Huckabee thinks McCain made a big mistake."]

(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Friday the John McCain made a "huge mistake" by even floating the possibility he would not appear at the first presidential debate as planned.

“You can’t just say, ‘World stop for a moment. I’m going to cancel everything,” Huckabee told the Associated Press Thursday.

Huckabee, who vied with McCain for the GOP presidential nomination long after it appeared McCain was the party's presumptive nominee, has been an on-and-off critic of the Arizona senator. Earlier this summer he took part in a Washington, DC rally calling on McCain and Obama to highlight more evangelical issues on the campaign trail. He also criticized McCain's campaign when it alleged Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comments was an intended slight at Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

McCain abruptly announced Wednesday he would travel to Washington in hopes of striking a deal on the economic bailout deal, and said he would not attend a debate unless an agreement had been reached. Late Friday morning campaign aides said McCain felt sufficient progress had been made on the and he would attend the debate.

But the bill itself appears very much up in the air. After what was described by members of both parties as a "contentious" meeting at the White House Thursday afternoon, congressional leaders are still trying to hammer out a compromise on the Bush administration proposal. Speaking to reporters Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said McCain's presence on the Hill helped stall negotiations.

"All he has done is stand in front of the cameras," said Reid, who has long had a chilly relationship with McCain. "We still don't know where he stands on the issue."

soundoff (363 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Even Huckabee cis beginning to see the light.

    September 26, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Jorge

    If McCain were still in the military he would be declared

    UNFIT FOR COMMAND

    on psychiatric grounds.

    September 26, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Pam

    Huckabee's right. Wow, I never thought I'd say that!

    September 26, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Tony

    MCCAIN IS SUCH AN OLD DRAMA QUEEN!

    JUST GOES TO SHOW THAT HE IS A DANGEROUS LOOSE CANNON WHEN A CRISIS ARISES.

    WE HAVE HAD THAT FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS. WE DO NOT NEED IT FOR FOUR MORE.

    September 26, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. CR

    Can you imagine if Huckabee (who is a good debater) or Romney (who knows the economy) was debating Biden next week instead of that nimwit Palin? The GOP would be a much stronger position... Alas, McCain's ego got in the way and he failed.

    September 26, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Truly American

    Huckabee--- sore loser...
    Reid--- Democrat that is part of the problem... SHUT UP AND GET TO WORK>>>>>>

    September 26, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader

    John McGimmick's entire handling is issue has been a catastrophe. I'll head off to Worshington to fix this deal. Yeah, he fixed it real good. The man's screwing up the economy and he hasn't even been elected again. Thanks, but no thanks.

    September 26, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. tom

    ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

    John McCain IS NOT READY!!

    OBAMA 08

    September 26, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Spencer from VA

    Even McShame's surrogates knows he screwed this one up. He should just concede.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 26, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Scott in Atlanta

    If you blow this picture of Mccain up and put it on a poster with a caption underneath that read "Would you vote for this guy?" He would lose hands down. He looks crazy!

    September 26, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. sophia nyc

    An even bigger mistake would be for America to vote him POTUS

    September 26, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Willy Brown

    TV Debates are nothing more than caned 45 seconds soud bites. Town Hall meeting speak to the people something Obama is afraid of, real people.

    September 26, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. AVERAGE JOE

    Thank you Huck

    September 26, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Female Voter

    THANK YOU! At least someone in the GOP party realizes it...Good greif!

    September 26, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Chris

    McCain is such a dope. I can't wait for these 38 days to be over with. I can't stand to listen to this idiot anymore. I just pray to God that Obama wins this thing. The thought of 4 years with Team Incompetent in charge is beyond depressing.

    September 26, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Belle1

    Oh Huckabee...are you planning to run again? Pissed off you weren't named VP?

    Get a life. McCain is a Senator, and HAD HE NOT suspended his campaign, a bill would have be forced through without ever protecting the taxpayers. I actually like the idea of an insurance fund and a guarantee that if companies profit so do tax payers.

    September 26, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. no way No how No McLies

    McLies/Pitbull... Ready to stir up propaganda... Not ready to lead!

    September 26, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. American

    Huckabee still has his honor and integrity intact.

    Run, run, hide, hide, distract here... Look Haley's Comet over there....

    McCain and Palin are running from the American Public and they both are a farce.

    Do you really want the disoriented McCain as President? Years in a POW camp is bound to leave a few screws loose. Remember the movie Manchurian Candidate. Has he published any medical or psychological records?

    Know-nothing Palin isn't much better. Her last interview was a joke! Did you see where she was exorcised by her minister (witchdoctor)!

    America wake up.

    September 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. tsolow @ bowdoin

    You know, for a Jesus freak, Huckabee is a pretty insightful guy.

    Now if only he didn't believe that the earth is 6000 years old.

    September 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. legacy

    ON POINT!

    September 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. MM

    Except for his extremely right religious views, I always liked Huckabee.
    If McCain had actually said," no, I'm not going to the debate, I understand that Ol Miss has invested money in the debate, and all the small businesses in the area will be hurt if the debate doesn't go on, so my campaign is going to reimburse them." – I would have had some respect for him. But he goes on and on about Main Street and yet his actions would have hurt the Main Street in the Ol Miss area.

    September 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. McCain is right

    McCain did his job as a senator- we are NOT paying Barack to campaign- we are paying him to be a senator.

    September 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Rick, Tampa FL

    Obama won the day, but he shouldn't get too cocky. Rove politics have one again deeply divided this country. He needs to win the marathon, fix the Bush mess, & attempt to bring the country back together.

    September 26, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader

    John McCain needed to call the campaign, the debates, and accountability to the American people to a screeching halt so he could rush off to Worshington–well, not rush...he certainly took his time–and derail a crucial deal to rescue the American economy. He hadn't even READ the freaking THREE-PAGE legislation.

    The man is screwing up the economy, and he hasn't even been elected president.

    Country First? More like Campaign First.

    Thanks, but no thanks, John.

    September 26, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Kate

    This just keeps getting better and better. *curls up with popcorn to watch the theatrics*

    September 26, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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