November 19th, 2008
06:24 PM ET
13 years ago

Huckabee: Not settling old scores

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Huckabee appeared on The Situation Room Monday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Wednesday he's not trying to settle old scores with his onetime GOP rival Mitt Romney, despite sharply criticizing the former Massachusetts governor in a new book out earlier this week.

"I didn't dislike him," Huckabee told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview on The Situation Room. "It was a matter of [Romney] taking positions on issues that he had never taken before and at the same time, he was bashing people like me who had been consistent in our own views."

Huckabee's book, released Tuesday, is exceedingly critical of several Republicans he says are partly to blame for the party's across-the-board losses on Election Day, including Romney and Fred Thompson - another former GOP presidential candidate.

In the book, Huckabee specifically takes aim at Romney for shifting positions on key conservative issues shortly before he decided to run for the White House, saying his record was "anything but conservative until he changed the light bulbs in his chandelier in time to run for president."

He also lashes out at Romney for what he said was the former governor's refusal to offer congratulations when Huckabee was the surprise winner of the crucial Iowa caucuses in January. Many political observers say it was that loss that ultimately derailed Romney's bid for the Oval office.

A spokesman for Romney called the comments "petty."

Huckabee also takes aim at Thompson in the new book, the former senator and television actor who jumped into the Republican presidential race significantly later than the other candidates.

"Fred Thompson never did grasp the dynamics of the race or the country, and his amazingly lackluster campaign reflected just how disconnected he was with the people, despite the anticipation and expectation that greeted his candidacy," Huckabee writes.

But in the interview with CNN, Huckabee said his comments in the book were part of a larger narrative calling for change in the leadership ranks of the Republican Party.

"This book is not about what's wrong with Mitt Romney or anybody else," he said. "I try to tell it in the narrative of the campaign. This book says if we're going to try to hit the reset party on the Republican Party, move forward, bring us back together and really become a majority party again...we'd better change things."

Huckabee, who is now the host of a weekly television program and set to begin a stint on the radio next year, appears to already be positioning himself for another presidential bid in 2012 and already has a trip to Iowa planned as part of his 56-city book tour.

But the former Arkansas governor dodged questions about whether he is interested in making another run for the White House.

"There's a part of me that wants to see some fundamental change. I may not be the one to lead it," he said.

In the wide-ranging interview, Huckabee also suggested he would have run a different general election campaign than John McCain, specifically when it came to the Arizona senator's support of the massive economic bailout bill in late September.

McCain now infamously suspended his campaign to return to Washington in hopes of shepherding through the $700 billion measure that the vast majority of conservatives opposed. The move appeared to upset many among the base of the Republican Party - a constituency that was already wary of the Arizona senator.

"The last things Republicans wanted our Republicans to do is to vote to give taxpayer money to private industry," Huckabee said. "That's the most un-Republican thing I've heard of in my life."

"It hurt McCain badly," Huckabee said of the then-Republican presidential candidate's support of the bill. "It was a matter of conscience for him but it was definitely a hurtful thing, particularly among Republicans."

Huckabee also said the Republican Party must ultimately return to its basic fundamental beliefs it hopes to be relevant again.

"We don't have any credibility if we say that we want to balance budgets and curtail spending and create these huge humongous deficits passed on to their grandchildren," he said.

"That's not only to me wrong, but it's irresponsible. Recklessly so."

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Paul

    When the religious nuts and the rich guys take pot shots at each other it's no wonder the GOP is in such disarray.

    November 19, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Perusing-through


    Huckabee remind me of that character 'Lonesome Rhoads' played by Andy Griffith in the movie 'A Face in the Crowd'. He was a kindly sounding guy, but with wicked charm that focused on disarming you for the take down. Under Huckabee’s smooth demure lie hate, disdain, and venom for those who do not hold his “identical” religious views.

    November 19, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  3. Annjell

    Why are these people getting any attention at all? They want to sell their books. They want you, the ones they don't care about to continue making them rich.

    I noticed, every republican have written a book, like Glen Beck, O'Reilly, Ben Stein....just to name a few. They sold us out to the lowest bidder when it comes to jobs, but they want US, let me repeat, they want us to buy their book!!!!

    Here's some advice, try selling your book to the religious right. You don't need to write a book to tell us what each of you have done, we have seen it on television. Therefore, no need to buy your book.

    November 19, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. Joseph

    It's funny how people say how bad Huckabee was in Arkansas and then they turn around and give him the highest vote percentage of any primary candidate in their home state. That should really tell you something.

    November 19, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Stuart

    Republicans: fiscal conservatives whenever they don't hold the purse strings.

    November 19, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  6. Sterling Still Waters

    Michael Moore is right on, get those greedy execs our of there profits come when people are seen as important.

    November 19, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Larry

    Huckabee is a charlatan! I'm far more disgusted by his casting of aspersions on Romney in Iowa (What? Mormons aren't really Christians are they?) than any last-minute policy position shifts by Romney. That and other episodes of mean-spiritedness and pettiness have convinced me that Huckabee is a small man, and still fat on the inside!

    November 19, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. former gop

    Huckabee should get on a raft with Palin and drift away. Enough with these hillbillies.

    November 19, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. Tim

    I guess using petty name calling is proof of the Democrats being more educated and sophisticated.

    November 19, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. Daniel Maarsman

    I understand that GM is very successful in china where does the profit from the china and all world operation of GM go and what is the world profit or loss of GM

    November 19, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. Sue

    While I don't agree with "giving " money to these corporations either, unemployment in Michigan is now at a staggering 9.3%! We need to make them loans with strings, so that the executives are part of the solution by making concessions of their own (how about a salary freeze for 6 months, and no bonuses until the loans are repaid, and if you leave the company before it's solvent, NO severance package, for starters.)
    Then the government can help with restructuring the business model, retooling plants for fuel efficient vehicles, and making sure that the unions are on board and willing to concede some of the things that got Detroit into this mess (cradle to grave health care with NO employee premiums, for one.) I do not think we can let this industry just go under. How many of you have GM or Chrysler stock somewhere in your portfolio? What happens to its value if they declare Chapter 11?
    The premise seems wrong, but on the other hand, this is our tax money saving our companies, which saves our jobs and homes....that is not unAmerican or un-Republican.

    November 19, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. OHRLY

    Not settling scores? Liar liar, pants on fire!

    November 19, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. lieNoMore

    Well Huckleberry is right about one thing he was/is a consistent idiot. Unlike Flip Romney who was so shallow that he converted to Huckleberry-like idiocy just to try and get elected. They are both pathetic and only mildly less unlikable than brickhead Palin.

    November 19, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. Simmy

    Pastor Huckabee, you went away, now you're back; why? Who is minding your church? Who is feeding your flock? You said some things on your show that makes me wonder where your faith stands on the God chain – can you clarify?

    Anyway, after you make a few dollars on your book, please go back to church and do some praying for yourself and your party! They need some love, and lessons in loving! Thank you.

    November 19, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. J.L.

    Didn't they learn better manners than this on the playground? Gheesh. Tired of all these guys and girls stabbing each other in the back. When will the media stop giving these petty squabbles attention??????

    November 19, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Larry

    Go back to church and pray for forgiveness,cause you're a very bitter little man.Since you did bash these guys in your book bash , own up to it or at least don't go into denial.pathetic whinner.

    November 19, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    The Republicans talk to and are heard only by the religious right wing fanatics and NOT the mainstream! It seems they pick people like Palinstein (Waay too religious, Too far to the right) as someone who can fool the people. The GOP has not listened to what people want, just listened to the rightwingers and preachers. Now they wonder why they lost so big.

    GOP=God's Own Party


    November 19, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. thomas

    Huckabee "specifically takes aim at Romney for shifting positions on key conservative issues". Isn't that what politicians do to get elected. The voters merely try to elect someone who is not going to go "Rambo" like Bush. They also want leadership which is able to focus on substantive issues without getting bogged down with moral judgements or controlling personal behavior. .

    November 19, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. MI Jay

    The country is going downward not only in economic sense but also in fundamental values people used to treasure greatly. The whole socity is in disarray. Yeah, it's changing, but in a WRONG direction, Greedy like the wall streets and unfaithful like the scandals make news everyday. You'd ask if the country is going to be better off after this change? Nope. It only gets worse. Huckabee type of people is really the hope of this country.

    November 19, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Tre in Texas

    If the Republican party wants to stay relevant it needs to turn to people like Mike Hukabee and Ron Paul. I'm a card carrying Democrat but would have gave consideration to voting for forward thinking canidates like them. The Grand Old Party has lost touch with the rest of America "thank George" and if they want to survive they need to really step back, get in touch with America, and stop worrying about theirs and select fews portfolios.

    OBAMA 08!

    November 19, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. Andres V., Nashville, TN

    How could anybody vote for this guy? He doesn't think that it's possible for there to be a separation of church of state! Of course not, he's a minister! He can get all the religious right votes that he wants, but I don't think the rest of America wants anything to do with him. I may be religious, but I don't believe in "fire and brimstone" style religion, in which one attempts to destroy all that don't agree with them and don't take every word of the Bible literally. Our country would regress to about 1900 if Huck was elected. There would be no future possibility of gay marriage, legal abortion, or anything that Huck sees as remotely controversial b/c of his religion. I'm so glad that this guy wasn't the candidate this year. I hope he and Palin, the other evangelical hillbilly, disappear into the dust pretty soon. Mitt Romney would be so much better than either of them as a candidate in 2012, and so much more knowledgeable, it isn't even funny.

    November 19, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  22. Guillermo Ruiterrez

    All of you posters are idiots. Stop polluting the Internet with you shallow, anti-intellectual, whining meanderings you fools. You're morons all of you.

    November 19, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  23. Independent voter

    the Republican party has gone to hell! They will not be in the white house for decades, if ever!

    November 19, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. Dana

    Huckabee is a Chump! I'd write in Richard Nixon before voting for him.

    November 19, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  25. Texas Trail Kitty

    Mr. Huckabee: For the record, although I am an Obama supporter, I preferred you to Mr. Romney. who resembles a used car salesman. Stay honest and keep your head up. After President Obama's 8 years, you should run again.

    November 19, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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