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. George James

    I am not at all amazed at McCaine's silly gimmics.I am amazed at the McCaine Palin pair aiming at presidency and vice presidency.This is democracy???

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. mb

    And what exactly did McCain accomplish? NOTHING, as usual. What a ridiculous stunt.

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. conny

    Not only did Huckabee call it. Mississippi, called his bluff also

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Mike

    While everyone is involved with the bail out, the democrats are pushing a 1 trillion budget through congress in private meetings. No one has 24 hours to review this bill. It seems the democrats are also pushing billions in ear marks while no one is watching them. Just a sample of what is coming if oshama is in the White House.

    September 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Michael, watching from Canada


    I don't live in the US either.

    But it has become so obvious that if you are a Republican, no matter how much the current administration has screwed up, no matter what the Republican nominees do or say, no matter how much sense it makes that Obama will be best for the US, it is truly the American attitude of winning at all costs, or more specifically.......

    being Republican comes first.

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. carepi,nj

    the McCain campaing just made this great american hero to lose the election... Palin with aswers that... well, listen to the kuric interview, campaing suspension? A Lie, helping with the economic crisis, NOT even part of the committe. Sorry, but from tonight, it will be just downhill for our war hero. McCain, is time for you to go to one of your mansions and reflect about all this. Please retire and live a healty life, enjoy your grandkids, help your neighbors, volunteer, this is the end, GAME OVER man!.

    Senator McCain: R.I.P.

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. joe

    One the cnn PAGE "If you could ask one question tonight ..." The first question is ..

    Terry Penberthy, 44, a waitress in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, wants to know: "How are you going to continue to ensure America's safety from terrorism as effectively as President Bush has for the last seven years? I'd like a detailed answer."

    This needs to be corrected. President Bush DID NOT effectively keep America safe from terrorism on the morning of 9/11/2001. Remember, he was reading to children.

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Ibukun, NC

    McCain's maverick nature, I think, is reason not to put him in the white house. Just look at his pick of Palin, and then the debategate fiasco. As leader o fthe free world, you have to make reasoned-out, informed, decisions, not this shoot-from-the-hip approach. THE MCCAIN/PALIN TICKET IS A NIGHTMARE!!!

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Ken, LA California

    Im fed up of the republican led administration.

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Julie

    I think what John McCain wanted to do was show us he is a leader and he can jump up put on his cape and save America.
    What he did was make himself look foolish and show the American people he is really just interested in "looking good" so he can become President, He was struting around Washington trying to look very Presidential. It really was not about the horrible shape our economy is in and how the average Americans are the losers in this. It is about him wanting to be President. It was just all about him..

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Mary from Georgia

    Mike Huckabee, I don't agree with you on many things politically, but you have always shown yourself to be a true gentleman and stand up for what is right and true.

    I wish you had won the Republican Nomination. It would have been a much more honorable race.

    Obama 08

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Tell him to shut the Huckabee up....

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

    McCain has screwed this up so bad..all he has done is proved how erratic his judgements are..first selection of Palin after meeting her only once..and his abysmal comments on the economy then saying he wont attend the debate now changing his mind because he saw the public outcry...please.this is leadership? then it's not the leadership I aspire to believe in..take a breath McCain and for god's sake think things out thoroughly before you jump in and make yourself look stupid! (all the time)
    We are not stupid you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Wondering...

    I wonder what the McSame supporters think now? After lavishing their praises on this moronic flip-flopper for being in Washington instead of debating, what will they say now that he will debate?!? Especially considering the bailout is farther from approval today than it was yesterday?

    McCain and his supporters are idiots!

    Obama '08

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. John

    It will be interesting to see the debates tonight.

    If McCain makes a good debate about the slated issues and Obama just stumbles, his sheep will still love him....quite sad really..

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Paul, NY

    And that is the end of McCain!!

    "over and out"

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. mcBush

    --the economy is good,,,,,oh wait, its not,,, i must go to d.c to fix it.......

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Jack

    The "huge mistake" was the GOP picking John and Sarah as their standard bearers.

    These two are running around like confused amateurs in a high school popularity election.

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. bartkr

    John McChicken for the president!

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Yay! Food-Stamp Mortgages for Everyone!

    I dunno... anytime Congressional Dems are giddy and happy and overly-impatient to side with Bush on ANY TOPIC, or ANY piece of Bush Admin. legislation you should know Dems MUST have something to hide.

    Dems are up to their pupils on this one and that's why they're pushing so hard to get this done and wrapped up before the election... and before anyone sheds light on the fact that their 1977/1995 CRA "put-deadbeats-in-homes-they-could-never-afford-in-five-lifetimes" Robin Hood plan is DIRECTLY responsible for this problem.

    Believe you me, if there were ONE SINGLE REPUBLICAN they could pin this on, the theatrical Congressional hearings would have begun a month ago. This is what in murder myseries is referred to as "the dog didn't bark."

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Becky

    The other night I heard a Republican on tv say that young voters typically do not vote, but older people do, so they're not putting much effort in the youth of America...

    REPUBLICANS WILL HAVE A RUDE AWAKENING! Do not underestimate our generation.

    26-year-old white female proud-liberal from PA


    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Mary Steins

    This whole this is simply amazing to me. One has to wonder if this guy is even fit for the Presidency. He has and will always have a fighter pilot mentality and that it not who I want having access to the button. I'm sorry! I know he is a hero and all, but I just don't trust him.

    Sara Palin is proving to be a disaster before our very eyes as well. McCain has really not exhibited the best judgement on picking her! The thought of him potentially dying in office is a real nightmare scenario for me. I cannot even fathom that.

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Claudia

    I dislike Huckabeeeeee sooooooooooo MUCH!!!! I disliked him when he was running for the republican party. I disliked him when he took Obamas side on the whole lipstick on a pig. And now he's talking more smack on McCain. Seriously! He should just keep quite! I don't understand why on earth they are still letting him speak. It seems to me like he doesn't like his own party (i said party not McCain). Even when there was the Republican debate all the caidates were speaking as if they were friends (yet still have a debate) and he was sitting there just hating on every one. I don't know what it is about this man, but he acts really shady for me.

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. hd

    Most erratic behavior that telegraphs a severe risk for the Prez post.

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. LB

    Obama is ready for the debate now (because he has had to cram for it and doesn't want to have to remember all those facts and figures for another week or so) let the little celebrity have his spotlight. Sorry, no Roman columns this time bammy. By the way, Middle Eastern countries think he is a joke and religious leaders worldwide believe he is evil. It is just the nontaxpaying, give me, give me I'm entitled pathetic idiots who believe this joke is ready for office.

    September 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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