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. Meron

    Am I the only one who thinks Huckbee would have been a better running mate than Government Palin? MaCain didn't even suspend his campaign as he said he would. If was truly about the economic crisis as he claimed he is why did he attend Clinton’s?

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Open Your 3rd Eye


    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Heather

    The only reason McCain is now attending is because he found out that even if he didn't attend, it would still go on. God forbid that the world doesn't stop turning when he makes a move to not show. How unprofessional and insulting to the electoral process. All he did was show the world how unfit he is to be a leader of this country in distress.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. PT

    The Unimportance of Being John Mc Cane er..cain 😉
    Tonight's debate will be great!

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Oppose Zig Zag Express

    The whole McCain-Palin ticket is a huge mistake and an expensive joke on the American presidential elections.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Frank Lee

    McCain's mind has clearly turned to mush.

    The thought of him in the WH absolutely terrifies me.

    He isn't fit for anything, except a straitjacket.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Maureen / Newman, California

    McCain's camp thought this would be a game changer. Now even Huck sees that McCain is just a low functioning game player.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. RW

    Report this on the air CNN.. Also report today's National Review's Palin should QUIT story! We demand that you be fair!

    Obama '08

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. McCain for Pres.

    Mike Huckabee is not running for President so his opinion really doesn't mean much since he doesn't know what was going on behind the scene. Harry Reid is a liar. The house republicans said they would not sign on to the bill. Its the democrats playing politics. John McCain is a senator running for president. He had every right to go to talk to the heads of his party.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. the other jd

    Please call your congressperson and senator! Ask them why they are in such a rush to push something through for George Bush. I just called mine, and also spoke to a very nice person in Senator Frank's office about my concerns. First of all, I don't think this bailout is right for our country, and second of all, it is like I woke up in bizarro world. Democrats pushing for a bailout of Wall Street bankers, and Republicans saying they are out to protect the little guy. Let's not walk into this trap.

    September 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Lisa Hampton Newark, NJ

    Huckbee always tells it like it is. John McCain is an unstable drama king who needs to go sit down somewhere. This campaign has dragged on too long. However, maybe it took a long campaign for America to see McCain for the wacko he really is.

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Team America

    Hey Dems--how many McNames can we McThink up?

    Grow a brain cell. If you have something intelligent to share, be mature and do it without looking like you're all 12 yrs. old.

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Pitbull without lipstick

    HEY are u guys going to cover the fact that McCain is running ads every 30 min in PA? How is the campaign suspension, looks like america is once again duped easily by GOPS.

    thanks for nuthing.

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. KISS … Keep It [the message] Simple Stupid

    Three things the Democrats must do

    KISS … Keep It [the message] Simple Stupid

    a) Democrats are always smarter and more intellectual about the case / rationale for their positions but they also communicate in a way that come across as complex. This intimidates and goes over the head of the general population. Few people (even then) thought Bush was smarter than Gore or Kerry.

    b) Remember Ross Perot’s simple charts? Some people made fun of him but those Simple Charts gave visual Americans a way to get the message.

    c) Tell Simple Stories … always limit yourselves to making 3 points … it’s all most Americans can remember / recall.

    GO ON OFFENSE … Don’t Play Defense

    a) Keep McCain’s team off balance. He will revert to what he knows and what he knows will come across as dated.

    b) Promote your bi-partisan work, your pro-soldier work, your belief in Christianity. Neutralize his calling cards and take him where he doesn’t want to go … Faith…

    c) Be more of a MAN than McCain by contrast, not confrontation. You are slim, tall, with a slight build and those big ears… GOP will try to paint you as a physical wimp. Don’t take any $h!# from them


    a) Be seen playing a pickup basketball game every Friday no matter where you are … it will help you relax and unwind. McCain takes weekends off.

    b) Lose the blazer and button-down open collar shirt more … hold “causal” rap sessions with folks of all ages ….

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Bill

    Obama 1, McCain 0.........

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Hillary 2012

    Every one knows that Mc Cain made mistake

    The point is Mc Cain again control the air for 48 Hrs

    If Obama become president it will dull and disaster 4 years

    If Mc Cain become president it will be fun and disaster 4years

    The verdict is next 4 years will be disaster

    Hillary please do something

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Candy West Virginia

    Obama has a detailed plan for retirement security, over and above Social Security, enunciated on his website. McCain does not even mention Social Security on his website.John McCain consistently proposes to divert some percentage of the SSA income stream to private accounts, or "privatization" of Social Security. So essentially McCain's plan must be characterized as simply doing nothing, effectively cutting benefits to the people who paid for them already

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Ann

    At one point, I admined John McCain. In 2000, I would have voted for him. Now the guy is just nuts. I really believe he has a neurological disability.

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Cam

    Anybody else betting that Palin never sees the bright lights of a debate with Biden?

    I can see the next McCain sympathy play coming. Oh Sarah had to step down because of all the sexist, attacking Obama people and media. If you want to take a stand against this flagrant abuse of "the most qualified VP pick in history" vote for McCain. My friends, I will officially clean out Washington AND the media. Oh, and in my spare time I will run back to Washington and run it all by myself because none of those other political bums will be left after my mavericky, maverick, maverick house cleaning......

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. kim p in atlanta

    Firtst mistake-nominate him as the candidate
    Second mistake-Sarah Palin
    Third mistake-"country first", will not debate until the bail out is a done deal
    In baseball; 3 strikes and you are out.

    Good bye McCain and your lipstick wearing poodle, oops I mean pit-bull.

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA





    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Jim

    More and more I'm starting to the the Republicans are using McCain as their sacrificial lamb. Regardsless of who is elected, things will likely not have completely turn around by the next election. My bet is Rove is masterminding McCain's actions to get him to tank. Obama will be elected and when things are not hunky-dorry come 2012 the Republicans will point the finger and say "told you so, now elect Palin as president".

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. cHRis, Charleston, SC

    Democrats for McCain-does this group even exit anymore!?!?!??

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    I wouldn't listen to the advice of someone on how to be Presidential–who was defeated by a majority of his politcal party.

    I also do not believe Reid is being honest with the people of Nevada.

    The faxes, phones, emails have been jammed the past 2days by people across the nation bombarding their representatives with one overwhelming message: NO $700 billion bail out!!!

    Reid, Pelosi, Obama are perfectly contented ignoring these pleas from their constituents. After all–they know better than the comman man how Washington works.

    McCain and most of the GOP representatives hold to the fundamentals of a representative democracy–and they are at least attmepting to demonstrate they are representing the will of the people of their state.

    People by a vast majority–believe this is a horrible mistake!

    September 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Craig

    Belle1: McCain is a Senator, and HAD HE NOT suspended his campaign, a bill would have be forced through without ever protecting the taxpayers.

    You could not be more wrong

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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