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. Emster

    Do we need any more evidence that McCain just doesn't have the temperment to be President? He continues over and over again to act impulsively and take undue risk. We need a President who can lead calmly and show good judgement. McCain is way too haphazard and unfocused. Obama continues to exhibit good, sound judgement and has the thoughtful temperment that we need.

    September 26, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Frank from Peterborough

    Who cares what Gomer Pyle has to say everyone with the IQ of a house plant knows Senator McCain got the nomination by default and had nothing to do with who is best qualified.

    Had the Republicans wanted a qualified candidate Ron Paul would be in the debate tonight and John McCain wouldn't have to stay up past his normal bedtime.

    September 26, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. timeforchange

    So its not just the dems who see through McCain's silly stunts

    September 26, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Random Dude

    yes...the huge mistake of running for POTUS

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Linda

    Amazing comments. I always wondered why Huckabee was not on the GOP ticket. Obviously he is too steady and focused for McCain.

    Southern religious Obama supporter.

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    Well I mean he has a point. Think about it, should a president stop everything thats going on to solve one problem. There are going to be dozens of major crisis' happening all the time. Thats why the people elect someone that is above average, and can handle EXTREMELY stressful situations. Bush did a good job by handling stress, by NOT THINKING ABOUT IT AT ALL. I've got a feeling McCain would do the same.

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. William Drayton

    In addition to selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate. That was an even HUGER mistake.

    He never should have let her talk to the media. I guess that was yet ANOTHER huge mistake.

    This whole campaign is crumbling.

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Susan

    He's going to the debates, so shut up about it.

    Our country has more to be concerned with than this kind of politics.

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Hoosier Obama Man

    And the jumping ship has begun. U.S.S Gramps is sinking quick

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. June W in Canada

    Finally, a Republican telling it like it is!! Perhaps at the debate tonight the people will get a clearer picture of why goverment intervention is necessary and why Senator McCain is straddling the fence. As if we didn't already know!

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Bruce

    Anyone with a BRAIN can see that McCain with his shot first think later aproch MADE A MAJOR MISTAKE. He thought he could pull a fast one and get Obama to agree to call off the debate. SHOCK Obama called his BLUFF. Now he has to FLIP FLOP like a fish out of water and humble himself by attending the debate.

    But one thing is sure he will lash out at Obama and make even more negitive ADDS that are full of more lies. When McCain is pushed he gets MAD. But anger is a bad trait and only shows how unfit to lead he is.

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Independent just Decided

    McCain IS a walking moron, incompetent fool, self serving hypocrite. He has become morally bankrupt in the last stages of his life.

    He has turned on any and all who has ever stood by him. Country with treason, Veterans with record of voting against benefits, women with voting against equal pay, wife and children abandoning them, lobbyists by having them now but claiming he's against them, allies with intent for more wars, religion with mockery of all that is wholly, colleagues with selling them out for self preservation, america with his selfish antics of messing up the bail out plan by imposing his incompetent self into the meetings.

    We can't afford to let this traitor run our country, we can't afford to have president that fails first, and changes his mind after.

    We need a leader, we need Obama!! BARACK THE VOTE!

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Danny from Phoenix

    Wow.. when your own base is a high critic of you, you know you have messed up somewhere. Huckabee, who would have been such a better pick over McCain, is completely right. McCain didn't show leadership. He is not part of any economic committee in the Senate, he is not a negotiator, he has no knowledge on the economy. He accomplishes nothing by being in D.C., aside from voting on this bailout bill once or if it goes up for vote.

    This was a very stupid move on McCain's part.

    To all you who say Obama is only caring about himself.. he's not. Obama knows he, as one person, cannot completely push forward the bill. He did the best he could, which was to set rules and measures that should be incorporate into the bill – measures McCain adopted and tried to call his own.

    Open your eyes people. McCain is wrong for this country and your future. I'm not asking you to vote for Obama, I'm asking you to not vote for McCain.

    Obama '08

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    If Huckabee weren't so religious, I'd like to hear more from him. He's one of very few Repubs who seem reasonably clear-headed and don't make me want to move to Sweden.

    September 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Cows will be cows

    way to go mr maverick oh by the way is a maverick a cow (steer) that pretty much out to pasture

    McPain/Falin = NEVER

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. LYNETTE IN CA

    I'm an Obama supporter, but honestly, I think if Huckabee were the nominee, it would not be the runaway that it will be now. That's a good thing..

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Amy

    For once I agree with Huckabee!
    McCain was grandstanding when he declared he was "rushing" back to Washington to save the day. Did he not realize the press is watching his every move? Thanks to the press, we know he stayed in New York. we know he kept quiet at the meeting with Bush and had nothing to contribute. He really thinks the American people are stupid, doesn't he?

    This is the same old politics as usual, and let's face it folks, that won't cut it in these trying times.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Concerned

    Huckabee is a joke and is making himself less relevant every day.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. Dave, Santa Barbara

    I've often said that Huck was my favorite Republican.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. bibek

    we don't want a moron in the WH. 8 is enough.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Daniel Bryant

    Huckabee should've been the nominee. While I don't agree with him on all the issues, at least he's a true man of character, unlike McCain has turned out to be.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Independent

    Just watched the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin. It was the most shocking, painful interview I have ever seen. How can Palin not bow out after that? It was hard not to feel bad for her. She is out of her league.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Sammy

    This is why Huckabee is not the candidate. He doesn't get it.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. lucy

    and why would mccain's behavior surprise anyone? he overreacts to any small event like a fussy old maid, getting all upset and jumping off in twelve directions. it took him 18 hours to "rush" back to washington, even though he has said he doesn't really grasp economic issues, and showed up with a campaign aid. obama seems to have gotten there well before that, prepared and with his senate staff lawyer, after extensive conversations with Dodd and Paulsen and several other players, and asked good questions without panic. in a world crisis, i am pretty sure i don't want the lone ranger in charge, with annie oakley at his side.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. vic powers

    any negative comment about mccain by harry reid should be looked on as a compliment... i have NEVER heard ANY other senator or congressman say publicly that they HATED another one!... that speaks to the scare tactics and desperate actions of the dem leadership that the other dems in congress find themselves saddled with... he's nothing more than a thug in a suit, who will promise anyone anything to stay in power... this MUST STOP... our country is swirling down the drain while these egomaniacs fiddle... only mccain has ever spoken out when pork is added to bills, and he has done so for his entire career... reid simply puts on his bib and waddles up to the trough for more slop...

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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