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

McCain made 'huge mistake,' Huckabee says

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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. Jeremie

    You'll never see a democrat say anything against another.

    It's Party before Country for them.

    September 26, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Vincent, Great Lakes Illinois

    He made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin for his running mate. She has too much baggage in her personal life. I believe he should have gone with Heidi Klum she's better looking in a swimsuit...

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Democrat voting for McCain

    Mr. Reid says last week that the Democrats won't do anything about this crisis unless McCain comes to DC and is involved. McCain comes to DC. Reid says McCain's presence in DC is just "political". Obama hems and haws and finally says he'll come to DC "if he's needed". Bush asks him and McCain to attend a White House meeting on the crisis so Obama has to come to DC. Hmmm. Who's being "political" and who's being a leader of the country? McCain 2008. Hillary 2012.

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Kim C

    Finally some republicans are as smart as rats. They know when to jump a sinking ship.

    Obama 08

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Mat

    McCain tried to walk into Washington, made a mess of the whole thing and this morning I thought he was trying to persition himself to being the Republican House Reps saving grace, to try and be the savior of the 'crisis' that clearly failed and now he's trying to salvage some face by running to the debate – all of this won't mean a thing if Obama isn't able to beat him well tonight. This could push Obama to a two digit lead over McCain and the Biden/ Palin debate will just add to it – however if McCain is able to make Obama look flustered and not to the point then the polls will again level out and more doubt will be cast on Obama –

    McCain slipped up with this latest gaf, however Obama needs to hit the ball out the park that McCain has tossed up.

    Palins interview on CBS was a joke, and highlighted again that she's repeating crap she knows little about – the more she talks to reporters the more she looks so unqualified to do the job.

    Fingers crossed Obama is on point tonight!!!!!!

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. barbara

    When Bill Clinton praised McCain he was being honest. When Mike Huckabee criticizes a decision made by McCain, he is a sore loser.
    Double standards?? Thanks Mike.

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. RealityKing

    Screw the campaign. Where's my tax dollars going??

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. Peggy from Iowa

    The GOP has made mistakes for 8 long, grueling years, same mistake w/McSame, same mistake w/Palininthebutt. Still..most republicans I know cannot handle the truth and can spin anything to the point of rediculous. They'll vote party everytime. Even to the detriment of their fellow Americans. It is so sad!

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |


    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008-2012

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Moose

    If McGame wants to help out so badly in WARSHINGTON then I say leave him in the senate. He obviously can't do more than one thing at a time, so how can he RUN THE COUNTRY?

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

    This made me laugh out loud. Seriously. For the longest time, I respected McCain's candidacy, but preferred Obama. Unlike the last election, which I saw as choosing the lesser of two evils, I saw this as a win or win slightly less.

    Then as I saw how McCain chose to campaign–it was just dirty. I began to dislike his tactics more and more and my respect for his campaign dwindled. After this week, it is abundantly clear that McCain is desperate and absolutely unfit for the presidency. I fear for our country's future should he win the election, because he has proved absolutely erratic and incapable of managing himself with even day-to-day activities. God help us if we have a major crisis after the election with him as president.

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. You watch

    He's still going to do everything he can to get Palin out of debating Joe Biden. There's another tropical storm forming as we speak.

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. John, Austin, TX

    I kept hearing Republicans say, well that's great that he's putting politics aside and going to the White House. They said it's a good idea that the debate be suspended.

    Now that McCain has flip flopped on it... what are those same Republicans saying now?

    I bet they feel awkward.

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. jose

    I am sorry, but aren't McCain and Obama senators? shouldn't both of them have gone to work in congress to deal with this economy? or I am mistaken and they should keep collecting a paycheck for running for the presidency and not facing up to their obligations for which both get pay as senators. Have Obama or for that matter McCain work this year or since they started the running for president? What is the matter in this attitude? They have to go and work in congress in this mess since they, again, get pay to do this sort of stuff in congress or is it a free check? Enough nonsence please.

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Paying Attention

    Deregulation caused all of this mess. Bad lending and borrowing also contributed.

    Q: Who did the deregulation?

    A: Republicans

    If you don't like the bailout, you should think about who did it. You won't be able to borrow money if this is not fixed. No car loans, house, student loans. Your employer is already having problems borrowing money.

    Think about it.

    September 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Nicole In NE

    Mike Huckabee has always been like that – he SPEAKS his mind! Why does everyone believe they should all just agree withever their party does or says. That's why I like Biden as well.

    Palin is so scripted now, it's ridiculous!
    and what happened to John McCain 2000?

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Baze

    If Huckabee wasn't such a Bible thumper and a potential racist, he could have been a far better candidate than McCain. Truth be told, the Republicans do have some interesting counter offers toward the bailout plan, but none of them have anything to do with the proposals that McCain wanted to see implemented. As far as McCain's request goes, the bailout is satisfactory. And for everyone saying that his travel back to DC was McCain doing his job... I'm sorry, is McCain running for President, or staying in Congress? It's his current JOB to prove to the American people that he's ready to lead this country.


    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. bk

    Reid, Pelose, Barney Franks, and Chris Dodd need to be fired. They are a disgrace to our government.

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Nadine J. Coleman

    What kind of message are we sending our younger generation re: education? We're saying, you can have limited formal education and hold the highest position in our country. McCain – no degree; Palin – only undergrad degree. Whoa!!!

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. I Invented the McMuffin... and fire

    Can you say "POOR JUDGMENT"? McCain continually displays a severe lack of judgment in regard to his campaign and the politics of the day.
    Can ANYONE seriously contend that he his fit to be the leader of the most powerful country on the face of the planet? After Palin's limited exposure to the press, it is patently obvious that she is nowhere near qualified to be be VP. Has a less qualified ticket EVER been placed before the American public?

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. GOP For Obama

    Hey Belle1,

    That deal was set to go before McCain ever even made it into Washington. But then he showed up, injected presidential poliTRICKS and ruined the whole thing...Republicans fail again.

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Fed Up

    Even the smart rats are jumping off the ship. At least Huckabee makes sense but most republicans will see this as another triumph, just like the Keating 5 (oops sorry that error in poor judgement slipped just like Bush's approval rating) The republicans are in trouble and desperate.

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. rush12388

    Every Republican will think the same what Mike Huckabee thought if John Maccain gets elected......

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    McCain.......STOP!!!!......I have to go to Washington to save the country........Whew......that was close........let's see.......oh yeah.....the debate......

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Tim C

    It seems like everything McCain does is a gimmick. That withstanding, that is not the reason I won't vote for McCain. I'm not voting for McCain because:
    1. I don't think the market will fix healthcare
    2. I believe in a woman's right to choose
    3. I believe there ought to be some level of gun control
    4. I believe he will be worse for the economy
    5. I want the Iraq war to end, and I don't want us to be there, in any capacity (even peaceful), for 100 years
    6. He's spent his career pushing for deregulation, and he seems unable to reconcile the fact that the current financial crisis is due, entirely, to lack of regulation
    7. He picked a vice presidential candidate who is woefully underqualified. Given that there's about a 1/6 chance a president will die in office anyway, regardless of age, I'm just not willing to take that chance.

    Let's get past the petty bickering and "gotcha" politics, and look at values.

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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