February 26th, 2009
02:40 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee blasts McCain, warns of socialism

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/26/art.getty.huckabee.jpg caption="Speaking at CPAC, Mike Huckabee governor took McCain to task for voting for the financial bailout last October, a move the former Arkansas governor said betrayed the party’s core beliefs."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mike Huckabee and John McCain got along famously during the Republican presidential campaign, but now Huckabee - possibly mulling another bid in 2012 - is putting some space between himself and the former GOP nominee.

Speaking at CPAC, the annual gathering of conservative activists, the former Arkansas governor took McCain to task for voting for the financial bailout last October, a move Huckabee said betrayed the party’s core beliefs.

“With all due respect, Sen. McCain dramatically suspended his campaign and flew back to Washington not to champion those conservative Republicans [in the House], but to join meekly with Barack Obama in voting for the bailout, a bailout most American opposed,” he said.

Huckabee said he went along with the Republican ticket because he was “a good soldier,” but that the bailout vote may have sunk McCain’s campaign.

“I tell you, that moment was not our best moment,” he said. “It would have been our best shot at winning the White House a chance to offer a true authentic, conservative choice rather than a big government echo, rather than a meek, ‘me too’ way of doing things.”

Huckabee frustrated some Republican primary voters during the campaign because he was perceived as being too supportive of government spending on social programs, but in his remarks Thursday, he stressed his opposition to the financial bailout and President Obama’s stimulus package. Those spending bills, he said, have given conservatives a chance to define themselves against liberal overreach.

“The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead, but the Union of American Socialist Republics is being born,” he said.

Still, Huckabee struck back at his critics, saying he was "prophetic" in warning during his campaign about the dangers of a "Wall Street to Washington Axis of Power that was out of control."

Filed under: John McCain • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. rodlang

    The GOP is in disarray and are cutting each other in the back. It's only going to get uglier before they sort it all out.

    February 26, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. DaveS

    It's interesting to read these comments and realize how many Democrats don't understand the enormous threat to their party's future... Huckabee is describing a concern that is shared by a very very large number of Americans, probably a true majority.

    Belittle him and brush off these sorts of criticisms at your own peril... 2010 could make 1994 look like a Democrat revival.

    February 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Chad

    I find it interesting how Republicans continue to talk of "party principles" and the vision of Reagan. They will never regain power until they realize that decisions based purely on ideology are reckless. What we need is pragmatism. There are some things the government does better than the private sector and some things the private sector does better than the government. We need to find out how to integrate both effectively and in concert with one another. We cannot have it all one way or the other. What the Republicans are advocating is basically sinking along with the ship or fiddling while the city burns. It's irresponsible and foolish.

    February 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. sherry

    Huckabee said he voted against the stimulus because he's a good soldier........
    What the heck is that supposed to mean?........
    You voted against the stimulus because you have no b-lls.
    Your a clone like the rest of your party....You cant think for yourself.
    You and your party are has been's

    February 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Nic

    Not a mention of religion in this article, and Huckabee hasn't said a thing about it. Yet all the left keep throwing this "right wing religious zealot" crap out because they have nothing to say against his actual policies. He couldn't be further from a right wing religious zealot. Unlike Bush who used to religious right to win the campaign... Huckabee never uses religion as a vote buying scheme.

    Huckabee has fresh ideas and would be the most impartial leader we have seen in decades. He is middle of the aisle on social issues and is a fiscal conservative that fixed his state run by over reaching spend happy democrats and left the place better than when he found it.

    But The Great One had a better marketing campaign that all the sheeple bought into, so thats who we are stuck with. Where the hell is all this change we were promised?

    February 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Peter E

    Now there is a republican I would vote for. At least he's honest and says what he means. Unlike those in Washington who call themselves conservatives, yet still take most of the funding from the stimulus bill for their state.

    February 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. fearful for my country

    I was a democrat who voted against Obama but I'll be darned if I'll vote for Hucabee. He's too far right christian wingnut for me. I would like to see someone in the middle run for President. Someone both parties can work with. Unfortunately "independent" doesn't carry much weight and i think we need to change that.

    February 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. ursula

    The day McCain signed the first bailout I told my daughter he just lost the election. I'd love to vote for Huckabee AND the FAIRTAX.

    February 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. RICK


    I like and respect Huckabee. He was my second favorite candidate when it came to character and temperance. I JUST DON'T AGREE WITH 80% OF WHAT HE SAYS...LOL

    February 26, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. aaa

    all you clueless repubs are stupid and ignorent. obama is the future

    February 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Mike in Ca

    Same old broken record!

    February 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Mik

    I know what socialism is as I lived it, and this is exactly where we're heading picking up steam.

    February 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. TT

    Keep pointing the finger, remember when one point the finger
    three are pointing back at you.

    February 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Peter

    I don't know what the Republicans are worried about. Obama has done just as much for the economy in two months vs. the 8 years it took George Bush.

    February 26, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. wisconsin

    I was so worried than ever about the future of this country. I am convinced than ever that obama a socialist. I supported him and I am mad to my self right now. When he talk stock market goes down. He believes in Goverment doing everything, welfare and socialism. I cant wait until next election.I know CNN you are not going to Post this.

    February 26, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Richard Moore

    OMG!!!! Socialism!!!!! OMG!!!!!!! This is all the GOP can talk about these days. Universal Health Care, expansion of social programs. I'm all for that.

    February 26, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. WCCanadian

    Why should the people be expected to trust government more than business? Some of the biggest crooks going are politicians, and they produce nothing but hot air.

    February 26, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Moose

    Who cares?

    February 26, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO

    Hey Huck!!!! Take your Bible and go home.

    February 26, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Tempered

    "the bailout vote may have sunk McCain’s campaign" . . .

    Really?? Has Huckabee never heard of Sarah Palin?

    February 26, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. b

    Kevin in Ohio,

    It’s funny what you call incompetence, since your man in power over the last eight years brought this on us to begin with. I guess I wouldn’t expect you to have a long term memory with your tiny brain. Bush had all the chance in the world starting with a surplus and wasting it… It’s not surprising you have a selective memory for the reason I mentioned above. Don’t worry I don’t expect you to reason or say anything remotely smart.

    February 26, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Patricia T.

    Lots of criticism from the Republicans - just no ideas. I'm not sure how willing people are to listen to the same ole same ole from the very people who helped get us into this mess. Using trigger words like "socialism" might incite your base but will do very little to actually make any changes.

    Criticize if you want, but how about offering some constructive ideas? Can't wait to see what else comes out of this CPAC gathering. Probably just more red meat and namecalling. The voters sent the country in a different direction in November. Perhaps the Republicans weren't listening.

    February 26, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    You people do realize that the gov't has been taxing Americans from the beginning and that we have had a graduated income tax for a very long time? You do realize that tax and spend is the very definition of what a government does, don't you? You do realize that the primary source of this nonsense you're blabbering about Obama "raising taxes" is because he's allowing Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy to expire? that those same tax cuts for the wealthy are precisely the reason we're in this mess and why the richest 1% in the country has continued to increas the wealth gap over teh past decade? You realize these things don't you? That trickle down economics and "trust corporate america" are complete idiocy?

    There's two kinds of GOPer in this world: those who lie on purpose and those who ignorantly repeat it because they don't know any better.

    February 26, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    yeah, that's NOT what sunk McPampers' campaign. The reason for McPampers' failure had slightly more vagina.

    February 26, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Ray Fisher

    Continuing to play the Fear card in an old Republican trick. The President is doing his best to save our nation and keep from falling too far behind the world with outdated ideas and technology. When conservatives, Republicans, naysayers and the rest of the world understand FACTS instead of rhetorical bull it will be only then that America will have any chance to regain our place in global economics, technology, prestige, respect, honor and prosperity. So please continue to report the thoughts of losers on the right while the winners are toiling to repair where the right was wrong!!!

    February 26, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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