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. Shawn

    Ha Ha!

    Something tells me McCain's pathetic little stunt didn't pan out the way he hoped. Now he even looks MORE like a coward because he can't even keep his stupid little threat. ]

    McCain is a loser.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Steve

    Of course it was a blunder. This was obviousely McBlame first and Country last. This guy has gotta go!

    Listening to Palin without a script is like listening to a babbling idiot!

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Corey Gabriel

    Calling All Americans: Do you see what a pandering job the old fighter pilot is doing? McCain is a retired, ex-fighter pilot, and that is how he thinks and acts....split second, seat of the pants, gut reactions. That's exactly what's needed in a fighter pilot (even though he crashed or lost 5 planes), BUT that is not what we Americans need in our President. McCain has neither the judgment, nor temperment to lead this Country as its President. Wise up people for all our sakes!

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Phil, Ashburn, VA

    He is right, McCain is running around and making erratic decisions. He keeps talking about being a leader. What a joke.

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. all american mom

    speaking of lipstick....if the republicans fail to win in November, Sarah can always get a job peddling Mary Kay Cosmetics....and John can toodle her around in the pink caddy 🙂

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. women4obama

    Thanks for standing up Huckabee! To change the subject a little, why hasn't Cindy McCain bailed out Wall Street??????

    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Former Republican for OBAMA





    September 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. republican voter

    Maybe Huckabee is the "maverick." He dares to be honest.

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. H&H

    Huckabee is right

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Michael, watching from Canada

    Can you imagine if the President of a large corporation decided to suspend all operations of the corporation in order to focus all his efforts with the financial department to make sure that a resolution to a major financial crisis is obtained?

    The real world requires smart leaders of large corporations to manage operations effectively AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE DEALING WITH CRISES!

    The world is watching and sees what McCain tried to do as political grandstanding......

    why can't Americans?

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. EDW

    McCain needs to debate himself first anyway. Is he for the Bush tax cuts or against them? For off-shore drilling or against it? For ethics reform or against it? For deregulation or against it?

    From Huffington Post:
    John McCain has skipped more votes during this session than any member of the Senate except for Tim Johnson, who had major brain surgery. He has cast a single vote in five months, since April 9. All of a sudden, McCain is demanding that the presidential race shut down so he can return to Washington?

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Craig

    The media should have ignored his original ploy of suspending the campaign and not attending the debate. It would have been completely stupid and politically suicidal NOT to attend the debate. If Obama showed up alone he would have had a couple hours of prime time NATIONAL television to talk about his policies, take questions, and dig on McCain's policies without any defense or counter. Anyone can see that. What a drama queen John McCain is.

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. kevin

    Huckabee or Romney would have been the smart choice for McCain.

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Nancy from Brooklyn NY...

    Wake up everybody!!!!!
    McCain is losing his mind!!!! Appears to be stalling for the inevitable.
    America needs to open theirs eyes and ears...before we get another 4 years of misery.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!!!!!!!

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Will, NJ

    Obama called McCain's bluff right there and he was left with a pair of deuces.

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Matt

    Seriously...Captain Senior Moment strikes again!

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Jamal

    So, guys.. does that make Huckabee a liberal, too?

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. MEP

    If McCain does not have the respect ( or control over what they say) of his party what does he have?More
    parlor tricks?

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Taylor, NYC

    Obama is not afraid of Town Hall meetings. Obama draws crowds considerably larger then McCain. Have you seen the outings that McCain draws? Unless he is with Palin they are tiny. Why should Obama fill a hall for McCain to lie to? Secondly, McCain fairs far better in Town Halls then debates while Obama fairs fine in both arenas...why give McCain the advantage. McCain will just have to break out the old Economics 101 book and get to work if he wants to be prepared. As a former Hillary Republican....I say Obama/Biden -08...two minds are better then none.

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Bruce

    To Trully American: It is clear that you ar on the McCain payrole. No one could be so DUMB on their own.

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. blaising

    I'm sick to death of this crap. He can call McCreep out all he wants...nobody gives a crap. McCreep's gonna' come out smellin' like a rose again 'cause the media won't call him on this junk.


    Olberman, Maddow (and sometimes Mathews)...lone voices in the wilderness of right-wing extremist crap!!

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Catherine


    For all those McCain/Palin and where is your "country first." McCain ditched his "country first" because he knew it would be political suicide to miss the debate.

    Bottom line... can you please now admit that McCain's threatening to miss the debate if a bailout wasn't complete was just a political stunt and McCain NEVER intended to miss the debate!!!! McCain is messing with your minds and you are falling for it!!!!

    McCain is to volatile to be charge of this country.

    September 26, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Doug

    While I don't always agree with Mike Huckabee's view of the world, I have always appreciated his willingness to tell it as he sees it.

    I think McCain's actions were well-intentioned. He saw the financial crisis as the top priority and he wanted the country's focus to be on that. But as Gov. Huckabee rightly points out, the world won't stop so that one single problem or issue can be addressed.

    McCain should have continued on as usual, demonstrating that he is calm and ready. Instead, he mixed theatrics with an appearance of scatter-brained lack of focus.

    i don;t think this did McCain a bit of good.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Mark

    How can any intelligent person support the republican ticket. It's been a joke, a circus and a train wreck from the get go.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Judy from NC

    To Willy Brown: Obama has done hundreds of town hall meetings. He doesn't need to give McCain an audience. Until McCain selected Palin, McCain couldn't get people to show up. That's the only reason McCain wanted to tag along with Obama in the first place. Obama's doing just fine running his own campaign and doesn't need input from McCain.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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