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. OCKerouac

    @Doug.

    Anyone who buys that McCain was really trying to help rather than just pulling a stunt should see it exactly the same way you do. You've pointed out the BEST case scenario for the American people. If Senator McCain WAS putting the good of the nation in front of the good of his campaign, he proved that he doesn't understand that multiple problems can happen at the same time.

    Even if you believe he was well-intentioned, you HAVE to accept that he doesn't understand how quickly the world moves around him, and that is an unsafe attribute for the President.

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. mitch

    huckabee would have had the best chance of beating barack. instead the GOP chose the 'nosedive'. i'm voting for barack, now. mccain is damaging our country, daily.

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Emeka, Florida

    My observation:
    This is a glimpse into how these candidates would handle diplomacy. Whereas Obama remained calm and steadfast in his views, Mcain has shown he lacks spine to stick the consequences of his actions. Mcain could not imagine a town-hall style meeting all for Obama in Missisipi. This is not how heroes behave...they do not run away from neither fight – economy of debate. I think Missisipi could become a battleground for this erratic behaviour from Mcain.

    To me. Mcain's hotneadedness, rashness, drama and temperament shows he is unfit to be President and leader of the brave and strong.

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. aaa

    clueless mccain. this guy has problems =((((

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Don

    I actually agree with Mike Huckabee on something. If you live long enough, anything is possible.

    Memo to Senator McCain: Your own people are turning against you and in great numbers.

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Hitler Youth for Obama

    Where is Hillary?

    She was and is the only candidate able to deal with this.

    She showed us that during the debates- but at that time it was all anti-Hillary hate and puppy love for Obama.

    Either one of the current choices will be a disaster for the US. Obama is the worst of the two.

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. onelove

    Well, well, I just did some research and learned that McCain is not the first Presidential candidate to suspend his campaign nor was this his first time doing it. By the way folks it really wasn't suspended.

    The town hall meeting was just a political ploy and Sen. Obama is smart enough to know that.

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Is he kidding?

    When McCain first said he would not be there Huckabee praised McCain for his leadership – now all of a sudden he made a "huge" mistake.

    Listen, I do not know what the love affair is with Obama but I do not see him offering any solutions to the crises or any other issue for that matter. McCain felt his place was in that meeting to protect the American people – Obama viewed it that McCain was afraid to debate him and that he could not multi-task. Well, I for one felt better when I knew at least one of the candidates was there to oversee what was going on and looking out for the all of us.

    I do not see one thing Obama has done for any of us – ever. His cocky attitude is more than a person can hardly take. The name calling of Sen. McCain is totally shamefull. He did not cause this financial crises no matter how you try to pin it on him.

    One more thing, how dare anyoen even sugget that McCain is afraid to debate Obama. In your dreams people. You are trying to smash him down with the economy issue but you will fail becuase no one is a "genius" in this campaign on the economy.

    IF EVERYONE ELSE WAS SO MUCH SMARTER THAN MCCAIN ON THE ECONOMY THEN WE WOULD NOT BE IN THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE – OR AT THE VERY LEAST ONE OF YOU SO BRILLANT DEMS WOULD HAVE NOT LET THIS HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    I CHALLGENGE ANYONE IN THE DEM. PARTY TO FIX THIS PROBLEM RIGHT NOW OR JUST SHUT UP. WHERE YOU ALL OF YOU TO STOP THIS BEFORE IT HAPPENED. YOU ARE THE LOSERS NOT MCCAIN.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Still independent

    When the media are consistently biased against a candidate and in favor of the other candidate, their reports must not be trusted. This news section is one example.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Bruce

    By the way NO ONE CALLED McCain to come back to Washington. He wanted to GRANDSTAND make a big show out of stopping his c ampain (without really stopping it) and rushing back to cause a disruption in the process and when he made it impossible for a plan to be approved he had to FLIP FLOP and jump back on the BAMD WAGON and head off to the Debate.

    THIS IS NOT LEADERSHIP. This is SILLY mad man rushing to and fro with out a clue.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. David in Illinois

    Of course it was a HUGE mistake. Why would a key player in the Keating Five, those responsible for the huge S&L debacle that led our nation's LAST bailout bill, think he could ride into Washington and "lead" everyone to a happy ending. What an absolute buffoon!!
    America, wake up!! Did you see Sarah Palin's pitiful performance with Katie Couric?? This is how McCain puts "Country First," by thinking she is the best one out there to succeed him should he be elected president???
    Give me a break!!!!!
    It's time for McCain to retire and it's time for Palin to take her lipstick back to Alaska.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. A NATION OF WINERS for OBAMA

    UNFIT FOR ANY POSITION THAT

    REQUIRES A SOUND MIND.

    MAN IS A LOONIE TOONE.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. Dick in Sioux Falls

    When I hear commentators comment that it was on Bill Clinton's watch that much of the deregulation took place. What they fail to also mention is that it was Newt Gingrich's Contract With America which orchestrated the removal of oversight on the market and financial institutions, as Ronald Reagan had initiated 10+ years before.
    I also don't hear mentioned enough that Barack Obama tried to rein in the financial world by advocating stronger oversight 2 years ago, which John McCain opposed.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. leapfrog

    Is there anyone planning on voting Republican that doesn't have a problem with their candidate saying one thing (not debating until accord reached) and then flip-flopping and doing another (debating when accord is not reached)? Is this the kind of Republican president you want in the White House? REALLY? Do you really want a president who can't handle two things at once, or has a vice president so unqualified she has to be kept from the media for fear her ignorance will show? Is McCain/Palin REALLY up to the fine tradition of Republican presidents in the past? Tell me some of you aren't experiencing buyers remorse, and I won't believe you...

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Vijay

    i disagre with huckabee . mcain focussed on what his current job is and that is to contribute to fix the economy instead of working for what his job might be in 4 months. Obama looked so imamture and inexperienced when it came to take a stand on economy and do something about it instead of talking. only academics and analyst talk . leaders work...

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Darren - Boca Raton, Florida

    You know one more stunt like this and I think that McCain will take away Ross Perot's title of being greatest "drama queen" to ever seek office of President.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. joe

    huckabee -i thought he got a comedy show on some channel.what a joke he is .go mccain.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Numb

    Yet another reason why Huck should be in McCain's position!
    HE'S GOT A HEAD ON HIS SHOULDERS!!!

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Livia

    But... but... Mike... he's a maverick, remember? A maverick! He HAD to go to Washington to oversee the commission discussing a topic he knows nothing about. That's what mavericks do. Duh!

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. creighton

    What McCain did was more than a mistake, it was putting his avarice for the oval office above the best interests of the American people. All hands on deck. What a sham. This from a guy who a few days earlier told us the economy was strong, who as of last Tuesday hadn't even read the Paulson proposal. To interject himself and with that presidential politics was rash, and endangered the agreement the appropriate committes had been working on for days and nights.
    His recent behavior has elicited voices of concern from his own party on just how fit is he to hold the office of president, i.e. George Will and his column of a few days ago.
    Fortunately from polls most people see this for what it is Poltical gimmicktry. Sad to see a once honorable man stooping so low, he wants this office so badly he is willing to put the country at risk.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. ChiNYC

    McCain has reached an agreement and has fixed the economy, the world is now a better place. So lets continue the campaign and debate real issue. The ECONOY and real issue affecting the ordinary Americans. Wow! what a drama and a political misscalculation!? And you want to be our President!? Boy, give me a break!

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Jim Muirhead

    I'm not surprised that Harry Reid says he still doesn't know where McCain stands on the bailout. He could have read the statement of principles his candidate co-signed with McCain. Of course that would involve effort and fairmindedness: something that his performance is critically lacking!

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Floridaguy

    McCain & crew once again show that they have no direction, they flail around trying everything to get the focus off the fact that McCain has no clue on the economy....

    115 days 10 hours and 57 minutes left in this 8 year nightmare

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Sure!!

    WHAT HAS THE STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS GONE?
    LOOKS LIKE MCSANE HAS JUMPED OF HIS OWN BUS.

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. timothy, Maine

    McCain: What a mess

    September 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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