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. Barney

    Maverick = Unpredictable, uncontrollable, reckless.

    Describe anyone we know? (And half the people want TWO????)

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Griff

    No he did not! He was way out in Front for your leadership run... now he is in the Driving-seat, and not driving Shot-Gun....

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Patriot

    Wow... It's amazing people think this guy would be a good president. He has said he's not good on the economy.. He makes a big dramatic campaign suspension..to do what?? Looks like a big diversion and attempt to deceive the American public that he's Presidential and a leader. Riiiight....

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. G. Robinson

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08-12 ENOUGH SAID!!!!

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Kevin in Ancorage AK

    I agree with Mike Huckabee! Mike Huckabee should have been the Nominee with Romney behind him as VP, not McBush-Palin. I am an Obama supporter, but I feel the Republicans would be better served with Mike Huckabee.

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Muzammil

    So....Mike Huckabee is campaigning for Obama while Bill Clinton is campaigning for McCain...

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. The fundamentals if McCain's economy are strong

    "No wait! The the economy is going into the crader I must suspend my campaign and go and rescue the economy! I will not attend the debate unless a compromise is reached. Okay, maybe I overeacted a little . I will attend the debate."

    Is HE ready to lead?

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Arlene, Roselle Il.

    John McCain and Sarah Palin better not quit their day jobs.

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. enough is enough... proud 55 yr. old female hispanic Obama supporter from Dallas, TX

    All he ever does is stand in front of the camera and GRIN!!! Look at that photo. He is the repugs court jester...all he needs is his "gal" pointing and repeating her memorized stump speech praising her "guy"...they are both idiots!

    September 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Chris in NC

    A couple of days ago Bill Clinton (dem.) was taking jabs at Obama...now Mike Huckabee (rep.) is taking jabs at McCain. What's up with these loopy Arkansas governors???

    September 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. OCKerouac

    Mike Huckabee could have won this election for McCain if he would have been selected as the VP... Instead, he may end up winning it for Obama by puting the truth ahead of GOP propaganda...

    September 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Sunny

    Crisis happens – McCain Responses:

    – Fire Him, him her,him!
    – No, wait, I take that back
    – The economy is pretty strong fundamentally
    – No, I take that back. The workers of America are strong
    – Hey, I need to think clearly. Got to stop everything
    – No Debates till I know econom
    – Phones Letterman – ruching to Washington
    – Gives interview in NY and do not go to Washington till next day afternoon
    – Bailout fails because McCain intervenes and confuses everybody
    – Good progress, so coming back to debate!

    This is really presidential!

    Way to Go McCain!

    BTW, Half of the time he does not know whether he is fighting for his presidency or trying to protect Palin from being proved as stupid as a moose!

    September 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Matt

    I love that Republicans keep saying McCain suspended his campaign. HE DID NOT. You can't hide all the evidence CNN posted in the article about his sham suspension. Are you people really this tropically thunder? I mean really. When the facts have become known, you can't just keep repeating the lies. At least come up with new lies instead of repeating disproven ones. Geeez.

    September 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. ozzie

    belle1 im guessing you did not read the article, heres a little quote

    "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."

    so i would like to know where you are getting your ideas of mccain actually having any effects on the bill.

    Republicans are such tools.

    September 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Roland

    McCain is the Messiah! Who else could get me to agree with ANYTHING Huckabee says?!?!?!

    September 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Victor

    C'mon America!!! We're all gonna miss Bush if McPain-Palin make it to the white house on Nov 4th. Its time for change! We Americans always beat all odds to make bold moves....THIS IS OUR MOMENT!

    obama/biden '08...

    September 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Ralph

    Flip...flop...flip...flop.

    If McCain were a liberal, he would have been mocked into oblivion by now.

    If Palin were a liberal, her incompentence would have been laughed away and Obama's entire sense of judgment would be called into question.

    Democrats, for whatever reason, at least try to run nicer, more ethical campaigns and it tends to backfire.

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Minnesotan for Dems

    @ last honest man, if you read the story, it WAS NOT THE DEMS WHO SABATOGED THE PLAN, BUT THE REPUBS WHO SAID NO NO NO!!! AND THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ARE STALLING NOW. Put the blame where it belongs... Repubs are lost in another world.

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Brandon

    Hi, my name is John McCain, I am a clown and have made a complete mockery out of the Presidential selection process. I used to be normal, but then I got a nomination so now I have lost my mind, but hey, I have a hot woman running for VP, woooooohooooooo

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. vic powers

    i'm amazed that the oblamers are all citing mccain as the problem... don't you think that voting PRESENT the vast majority of the time is a REAL PROBLEM... that's what kids in grade school say when called upon... a man tried and tested in the heat of a conflict keeps his wits about him and tries to create gold from straw... mccain took a bill that was FULL of pork and kicked it to the curb... oblamer was willing to go along... and i guess we all know why... because the bill had myriad loopholes for dem pet projects... not a chance, mr."present"... i'll take a hero over a zero any day...

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Donna

    Gee it is so funny that there are a whole lot of experts out there who agreed with McCain's decision to not debate if something wasn't accomplished. Gee funny how CNN puts so much out there that is negative and not the positive. It doesn't say much for Huckabee's loyalty as a repug to be saying these things when he should obviously know that others out there do not agree with him. who is he anyway to make that statement.

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. McHoover Would Destroy What's Left of America

    Cirque de McCain

    This desperate old man is getting on my nerves

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Darlee

    This guy is a real guy. I've seen him on a couple of shows and he is not afraid to speak his mind and go against the party line rhetoric.

    He was on Sean Hannity and refused to agree with Sean that Obama was calling Palin a pig.

    In the years to come, look out for this guy. He could be a conservative with a brain and I can see him being prez.

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. Felly

    McCain has always made a bad judgement right from picking Sarah Palin to the economy and debate. He is incompetent and not fit to lead.

    Economic Hurricane has swept away his campaign. And I approve this message.

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. avg voter

    This whole episode reminds me of McCain's trip to South America earlier this summer, which was timed perfectly to coincide with the release of those hostages. He then took the photo op. This effort to get near successful events reminds me of a wooden cutout panorama a saw as a kid. Washington was crossing the Delaware and you could put your face in a hole and look like you were in the boat.

    September 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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