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. CNN = Jerry Springer of news

    This proves the debate post-ponement idea was completely political. Nothing has really changed since yesterday, so why is it all of a sudden acceptable to debate?

    The McCain campaign is just fleeting from idea to idea hoping something resonates with the public to improve his poll ratings. However, this tactic is flawed, his erratic behavior is not going to make peoople think he is ready to lead the nation during a crisis.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Tired of W, OH

    psssst.... Repubs..... Right now you're probably wishing that you'd nominated Huck, aren't you? LOL!

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. John in Ohio

    McCain made an even bigger mistake by NOT PICKING HUCKABEE AS RUNNING MATE.

    Instead he was told to pick Caribou Barbie, and he did. Huckabee would have sealed the election for him, Huckabee is a known quantity, he's not afraid of the media, and he's not an absolute moron. he's well spoken and he's popular.

    McCain/Huckabee would not be losing. I'm an Obama/Biden supporter, but I wouldn't have been nearly as concerned about a McCain/Huckabee presidency as I am about a McCain/Palin presidency. If the election had been Obama/Biden vs McCain/Huckabee, I would have tolerated either result.

    But McCain just palin has terrible judgment.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Michael, watching from Canada

    Let's see.....

    The fundamentals of the economy are strong!

    Then less than two weeks later......

    I am suspending my campaign because the economy is in crisis!!

    Then less than two days later......

    Even though there is no solution to the financial crisis, I better go to the debate.

    And, given that McCain feels that the fundamentals of the economy are strong, yet there is a financial crisis......

    it isn't surprising that Harry Reid still doesn't know what John McCain wants as a solution to the financial crisis (whereas Obama has made his position abundantly clear).

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Glenn

    I believe Senator McCain suggested postponing the debate rather than canceling it. I don't have a problem with his actions and believe he gave the matter the attention it deserved.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Sean

    Although as an Obama supporter, I don't aggree with Gov. on a lot of issures but I must confess that he is a likable republican! and I might vote for him in 2016! He is absolutely right on this issue.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Tired of the Nonsense

    "THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ECONOMY ARE VERY STRONG!"........enough said.

    OBAMA'08

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Hillary supporter for McCain

    I swear that Huckabee and thos on the far right want McCain to lose so they can go back and rebuild the Republican party in their "Evangenlical" image. They are afraid McCain will take the party in a new direction away from Evangelicals, and they would rather see the party crash and burn and have to start from scratch rather than see that happen.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. bobby

    I am glad to see McCain following the leader in attending the debate.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. jason, tx

    no freak'n kidding.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    thank you . huckabee, where have these BOZO's been, we have been in a Panic, a CRISIS, DOING TWO AND THREE JOBS FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS. Losing our homes, not buying the food, clothing, heating and cooling that we need, let alone what we want! we can't even help ourselves and our loved ones, WHY SHOULD WE BAIL OUT THESE GREEDY COPERATIONS, WHY NOT HELP THE VOTERS, THE REAL BACKBONE OF AMERICA?????????? OBAMA-BIDEN

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Maureen / Newman, California

    @Judy from NC – I completely agree with you.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Griff

    When you invest in a Country, why would you want to re-invest, if the Government of the Country dont want to help when it goes wrong. Bail out just anybody, they spend it just anywhere... He (John McCain) put the Country first...

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    I think it was just a long term ploy to cancel the VP debate!! I guess he realized everyone would have seen right through that. I'm glad he will debate tonight. I'll be interested to hear where he stands on all the issues today. Since he has been changing his mind so much it is hard to tell.

    September 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. elm

    John McCain rolled the dice and crapped out again!

    Do you want this self professed risky gambler running our country?

    Just say no to:

    More War McCain &
    Taliban Palin

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Rob

    The comments of McCain supporters are becoming increasingly irrelevant (that is, nothing to do with the article at hand, just talking points stolen from Bay Buchanan).

    Everyone is turning against McCain; soon supporting him will be taboo.

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. spiderweb

    McCain the Ma-vo=WRECK strikes again with sleezy tactics to gain the limelight for his fledging campaign. Intelligent voters know the strategy of McCain is to do whatever he thinks is necessary to win the election. His judgement shows that he is not ready to be the leader of this nation. He's not stable at all. I have little hope with a McCain/Palin ticket. It's all so crazy and ridiculous to see McCain, the Ma-vo-WRECK continue to amaze and surprise his own party. The grit he has is all in his mind! He, the wrecking machine, alone can make a difference with this economic crisis. P-L-E-A-S-E! Enough is enough!

    By the way, CNN is not even covering the most important news and has jumped on the bandwagon to carry out McCain's distractions for
    the debate. P-L-E-A-S-E!

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Dems want to add give aways to the plan

    People who borrowed money and had no income, no credit and no means to repay those loans- SHOULD NOT be bailed out.

    Neither should predatory lenders.

    Neither should those who flipped homes for profit.

    Greed and stupidity should be punished, not rewarded.

    My 401k ans 403 b are now at risk because of the actions of fools.

    Enough already. Bail out my 401K- invested in on good faith.

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. Paula

    I believe that McCain is having some severe mental and physical problems. He is not in condition to be our next President. The thought of Palin trying to lead us is terrifying!!

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. a southern bell for OBAMA

    MCBUSH IS OUT OF HIS EVER LOVING MIND.

    IF GIVEN THE CHANCE HE WOULD WAKE UP

    THINKING HE IS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE,

    AND DECLARE WAR ON ENGLAND.

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Greg in Colorado

    The republicans on this blog are showing their true colors for and from their party. This is why will we no longer accept the disrespect from the right any longer. The majority of you need to get you lips of the exhaust pipe of the Republican party and come on down a little bit from your high horses. So, he is coming to the debate... big whoop!!! Enjoy tonight everyone.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Moose on the loose

    Katie Couric helped me to see the light. Honestly I am prejudice and now I really realize it. I would never have even considered voting for any black person as president. I was taught not to like black people. I was encouraged to support “my own” people. I listened very hard to that Palin/ Couric interview and I really started to feel bad….I mean really bad. I could see that Palin was not the right person for VP. I prejudged Obama as unworthy solely because he was black. I never really listen to his views at all. I also prejudged McCain and Palin as being the best for America. I just started listening to Palin and it brought tears to my eyes. She is not ready for VP. I was willing to vote for someone just because they were white and not on the issues. I was wrong. My future is at stake here. I don’t think I can support the McCain/ Palin ticket anymore.

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. McFly

    I {HEART} Huckabee!

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. danno

    McCain was right to suggest postponing the debate. If he hadn't he would have left the door wide open for Obama do do the same thing. Then we would have heard nothng but praise for Obama for such a wise decision for weeks to come.
    The media continues to direct the path of this election.

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Mike in Sacramento,Ca

    What did you expect from this LIER and his Moronic Campaign leaders? When a Person from his own party says that McCain made a huge mistake you that he is done for.I am so sick of all McLames games and his Insane ramblings.

    September 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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