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. larry wi

    Huckabee and Reid are both morons, one is a sorry looser and the other is just plain sorry.The Dems are pissed at McCain because he stalled their settlement deal, funny, how one individual could steal the show isn't it? Humm, I wonder what kind of a Monkey wrench he threw at them? Just one guy brought the whole show down, hummm!!

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Caleb

    Let's look at the time line. When the news from Congress and the White House was that a deal was close, McCain claimed he needed to go to Washington to bring everyone together. Now that the deal is in shambles, McCain claims the sides are close enough for him to leave. McCain's actions show two things: 1) this was purely a publicity stunt and 2) he clearly lacks a grip on reality.

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Bradley

    On Wednesday, McCain announced he was suspending his campaign and heading to Washington immediately. It then took him over 24 hours to get there. By the time he arrived, things were looking up. Now that they've completely collapsed, he's going to the debate because he says there is progress.

    No wonder he thought the fundamentals of the economy were strong.

    PS – I think the American people should be commended for not engaging in a bank run today. We're worried, but were not panicking, unlike McCain.

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Eric

    Thanks for speaking the truth. Americans appreciate that.

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Kiah G

    McCain McCain McCain what a disaster. Reminds me of the other train wreck that Obama derailed....Hillary Clinton.

    What is is about this man that makes otherwise seasoned politicians act and look like complete and utter idiots. Could it be, he's a winner and they're just NOT!

    I think so...

    Obama/Biden

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. clarence jonesville

    Some people has no idea what a town house meeting is all about like that willy guy, he has no clue about anything just like his candidate so get a life willy grow up or go hide or just keep quiet

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Bic from CT

    First ,I expect Reid to say what he said about McCain. First Reid want McCain there and then he did not. Democrats never know what they want. McCain put the country first and when Reid heard McCain do it before Obama it was a flip-flop on Reid's part. I am glad McCain is going tonight to debate with Obama. It will give us a break from hearing trash over and over from the Democrats. My kids do not cry as much as the Democrats do.

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Democrat 4 Life

    wow i feel bad for McCain. The man just can't get one thing straight.

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Becky

    Let's hope McCain and Palin stay in the election through the end.

    VICTORY FOR OBAMA

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Venus

    Now we know why John McCain was a POW!

    He makes Bush look smart!

    Take him down Obama!

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. John in FL

    Tom,

    "Actions speak louder than words"

    Ummm...didn't McCain actually show up for work and try to do something. That is the definition of action. Obama said if they need me, I'll be over here waiting for a phone call. To me that is inaction.

    I'd would rather my leader try something and fail, then do nothing and talk about others' failures.

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Micheal shoemac/black republican

    I have always liked MIKE.... i do think he is a man of God with truly a good heart.l;..... he has made some really dumb mistakes in this campaghn like the comment he made about obama getting shoot....

    But i believe he is a really good person...

    We is right,

    im a republican that will be voting democrate this election.....

    Obama/Biden

    September 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Andrea

    Haha, never thought I would see the day when I actually agreed with Mike Huckabee!

    GOBAMA

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. SONGBIRD MCCAIN

    Today this progressive liberal is supporting the fiscal conservatives in congress.

    The Bush bailout is a farce. It is not necessary and will in fact weaken the dollar and create even more debt. How can anyone believe anything this President says? He has no moral authority! He seems incapable of telling the truth. While he said the economy was solid just a month ago, he was working behind the scenes on this power grab bailout!! Liar! He talks doomsday and great depression and economic crisis, but its all rhetoric just like Iraq, just like the constitution shredding patriot act. And the whimpy congressional Dems just swallow it up, falling over themselves to do his bidding.

    We are a nation of industrious, creative, smart, motivated people who can easily overcome this current fiscal mess. Rewarding bad behavior is exactly the wrong thing to do! Those greedy Wall Street perpetrators should be in jail, not receiving a bailout! Do not continue to artificially inflate housing values – that was part of the problem!!

    So whether it is because you don't trust this president to tell you what time it is, or whether you feel that the free market needs to stabilize itself at its true value without government interference, today we are united against this power grab. NO BAILOUT!!!

    Call or email your congressperson today!!

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Dunces

    McCain is there to try to convince the reluctant House Republicans to get on board- but he can not appear to be trying to encourage them to support the plan.

    McCain is doing the right thing.

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Dan

    Hillary 2012

    Have you been taking reading and writing lessons from Palin?

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Tired of the Liberal Spin!!!

    Hmm, wonder why Bill had no shot at the nomination????

    Keep your trap shut and crawl back into your hole!!

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Bond_dallas

    Is McCain sane? Why is he so jumpy. He is shaky, and I like him better than most republicans, but he is so jumpy! He is trigger happy! Fire him, I will not be there, the economy fundamentals are sound, oh no, we are in an Economic crisis,,, By the way, cancel the debate, I can't be the economic crisis needs me.

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Bryan

    This is why I love Mike Huckabee: he speaks his mind and is willing to publically disagree with his own party.

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. jm for sc

    Craig, give it up or joint the pool of ignorance with McCain and Palin.

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. the dude

    obama's brinkmanship was excellent. He called mccain's bluff. Regardless of mccain's motives, and his showboating, in no way can he afford to let America look at an empty podium while obama gives his views alone.

    Obama has made a good show of his negotiating skills–mccain had no choice but to give in...

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Partho

    A President needs to handle multiple serious issues at the same time and that's why he has been elected for the job. McCain needs some more time (?) to learn multi-tasking.

    September 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. MD in GA

    Claire McCaskill, Christopher Dodd and a multitude of others have all call this a "Stunt" on the part of John McCain. Now Mike Huckabee agrees.

    I hope middle America can see what a disaster electing John McCain and Sarah Palin would be.

    We need to Stop the Madness....

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Jim

    One former governor of Arkansas says McCain acted in good faith, and another former governor of Arkansas said he did the wrong thing.

    Now which was is the Democrat and which on is the Republican again?

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. yappy

    these 2 get scarier by the moment. The nation is becoming the laughing stock of the world... WHY would anyone vote for them ? Please, try and think sanely Nov 4th....

    September 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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