Huckabee: Obama self-destructed at tax deal press conference
December 13th, 2010
08:30 AM ET
11 years ago

Huckabee: Obama self-destructed at tax deal press conference

Washington (CNN) - In the eyes of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, President Obama's press conference last week to address his deal with Republicans on taxes and unemployment benefits was "amateurish."

"The most bizarre part of the whole process was watching President Obama self-destruct at the podium yesterday," Huckabee told the National Journal in an interview published Monday, when asked about the tax deal.

"I was just stunned - I really couldn't believe that a man that was elected president was as amateurish as he was, and essentially launched from the podium at some of his own, taking aim and mowing down everybody in D.C. and walking away having not understood that he just lost a lot of people," he said.

Huckabee called the deal "the best anyone can hope for at this point" but said he had hoped that tax rates would be extended longer than just two years.

He also questioned why the president would kick the can down the road two years, assuring that the tax debate will be renewed in the middle of his re-election campaign.

"Politically, I was shocked it was going to be two not three, because it puts this whole thing in the very center, the bull's-eye of the 2012 presidential election," said Huckabee, who is considering a repeat presidential run.

Obama said during the press conference that he welcomes a campaign fight in 2012 over the GOP's economic vision, specifically their demand to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Jon

    This right here shows how clueless Huckabee is, and why Obama will be re-elected in 2012. Even Charles Krauthammer gets the brilliance behind this tax deal for the President.

    December 13, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. jules sand-perkins

    Huckabee is right about this Obama appearance.
    Sometimes the President presents himself extremely well, especially when reading prepared (by somebody) speeches: the word "slick" comes to mind.
    At times, however, Mr. Obama goes before the public and this tape runs itself through my brain's recorder: "he doesn't know what he's doing."
    We need a president who always knows what he's doing, or at least who always appears to know.

    December 13, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. John in Brooklyn

    Perhaps Obama was crazy like a Fox (pardon the pun re Huckabee's media affiliation). By making the tax break inequities of the Bush tax breaks the center of the 2012 campaign, Obama will force the Republican candidate to sqaurely defend why the breaks should be extended for the super rich....while trying to come across as a populist (which is the only way a Republican can win the White House). Additionally, the economy will no doubt be better in 2012 than in 2010 (if not, Obama won't have any hope for re-election anyway), so the issue of extended unemployment benefits won't be tied at the ankle with tax breaks as they are now.

    December 13, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Jaywing

    And why should we listen to you, rich white guy? You're as much in the pockets of the Republicans as anyone. You're just upset because someone might take all your tax breaks away. I'd say you're running scared and will say anything to deflect the steeely gaze of folks looking at your MILLION DOLLAR MANSION and wondering how you can possibly understand the plight of the middle and lower classes.

    December 13, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. davec.0121

    And we care about Mike Huckabee's opinion because ...? It's not like he's exactly distinguished himself as a deep thinker. But then again, he is a Republican and so given more to slogans and aphorisms than logic. Maybe Obama chose two years rather than three years down the road because that would do less harm to the country. But then, Huckabee is a Republican and so never lets the welfare of the country stand in the way of good political posturing. After all, we're all still waiting to hear how the Republicans/Tea Partiers plan to cut taxes and balance the budget while not touching Defense, Social Security, or Medicare.

    December 13, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. independent

    Pastor Huckabee is an ordained minister and should not be running for President. The IRS should review that tax exempt status of his church and denomination.

    Separation of Church and State means religious leaders, officials and ministers should not be allowed to run without losing preferential tax treatment. Before you go huffing and puffing about why you disagree, ask yourself if you would want Minister Farakhan, Rabbi Ben-Jacobs, Iman Ali-Saleh, and Bishop Odalingko sitting in the Senate or White House.

    December 13, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Charlie from the North

    Oh that's a relief I thought someone with an original thought was complaining about my President. It was just him.

    December 13, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. EG

    I'd be more concerned about the deal self-destructing the middle class, but that's just me...and, based on polling, most of the country. Gov. Huckabee has his own temperament issues, given his recent call for the execution of an unconvicted soldier. Next time, I'm voting NoLabels.

    December 13, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. KO

    what was most amateurish was walking away and leaving a REAL president, Bill Clinton, at the White House podium to make the points. What is Obama's problem? Ashamed of himself? Since when does the President turn over the podium to an ex-President? Its almost as though he just can't bear being president any longer. With luck, he won't be. Hillary 2012.

    December 13, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Shellz and Cheeze

    Imagine that - Obama speaking truthfully about what he experienced. It was honest Huckabee - you religious folks should know that term.

    December 13, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Lou from NH

    Hey Mike Huckabee – you are a washed up, second-rate Republican has-been candidate. How can you stand there and called President Obama "amateurish". At least he was willing to deal with your party UNLIKE prior to the elections when you party decided to hold Congress hostage.
    When your party FULLY understands that there is room for compromise without extortion (and they have made a first step), then come back and give your opinion. In the meantime:

    Don't go away mad – just go away.

    December 13, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. sanityforall

    Obama amateurish? Huckabee, that crap just won't fly. You don't have a prayer in 2012 if that's all you have to contribute to the tax debate.

    December 13, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. marvj84

    "Politically, I was shocked it was going to be two [years], not three, because it puts this whole thing in the very center, the bull's-eye of the 2012 presidential election." Spoken like a true politician, Huckabee, someone who makes decisions solely based on re-election and personal gain rather than for the good of the people.

    December 13, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Former Republican - Now Independent

    While it is true that President Obama has screwed up a lot, that doesn't mean that Mike Huckabee would be any sort of improvement.

    Actually I find Huckabee to be in the same category as Sarah (The Quitter) Palin or Newt (Family Values) Gingrich, someone who would assure a second term for Obama.

    What the GOP needs is someone like Romney or Jindal ... someone who is NOTt a caricature or the punch line to a joke.

    December 13, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Patrick Lewis

    I'm sorry, Huckabee, you're who now? A talking head at the least respected news organization in the world? Either declare that you are running for office or shut up, fool.

    December 13, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. American

    If Huckabee actually read the National Journal, he might have noticed that President Obama did not lose a lot of people, but rather the Journal and other sources reported the majority of Americans support the short-term compromise on the tax deal.

    December 13, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Eddie

    But Michelle wanted him for dinner.................. His departure just shows you how much he cares.

    December 13, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Darron R. Brown, M.D.

    I disagree. I thought the president did a good job of presenting his case, esp. given the total lack of support for our middle class from the self-serving Republicans, who, of course, got us into this economic mess in the first place.

    December 13, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Granny Griper

    Oh my gosh this guy is another nut job. Building a 2 million dollar mansion in Florida on tax payers money yeah and he thinks I care what he thinks, I have friends that live in Arkansas and they know this person, they have nothing GOOD to say about him,go back there and stay

    December 13, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. paul

    Have you even considered that the voting public is against tax breaks for the "rich". When the new Republican house starts cutting all the budgets, how do you think that will play out while at the same time (two years) the Republicans will be asking for the additional tax breaks for the rich. I see it as a brilliant political move. The country gets a stimulus (which would have been voted down by current senate) and Obama is re-elected because the Republicans want the rich to get even richer.

    December 13, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Jim

    Huckabee is politically wonder is he doing what he is doing right now! He is shocked that we can only afford 900 Bil instead of 4000 Bil...let's ask him to buy some debt back from China...sorry figure, Mr. Bee!

    It's refreshing to see this as a referendum issue in 2012...let the people decide, that's how democracy works! Bush played politics by temporarily extending these tax cuts beyond his 8 year period (almost as if Bush knew that he is going to mess up the country so bad that we'll have a Democratic President to deal with this tax cut/raise issue).

    December 13, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. rusty155

    I don't blame Obama I don't think the Rich need a Tax Break either.

    December 13, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Whatever

    Huckabee can't understand why he made it a 2 year extension instead of 3 years?? Really? Let's see, a 2 year extension means Obama still has leverage since he is guaranteed to still be in office when the vote comes up again. He'll also still have a majority in the Senate. In 3 years he may either be out of office or have lost both houses of Congress. This way he can make sure the tax cuts don't become "permanent", if that is what he wants to do. He can at least still use it as a bargaining chip against Republicans.

    December 13, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |

    Of course Huckabee wants the "Bush Tax Cuts" to be extended – he is in the process of building a "Million Dollar" Estate in Florida. The "Tax Cuts" for the Wealthy should not be extended at all! But of course, let's blame Obama for his immaturity not the fact that millions of middle class Americans would suffer – this whole situation created by the Republicans is absolutely incredible and morally wrong!

    December 13, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. stufit

    Obozo is a great campaigner, gives stirring,speeches full of promises that sound good until people actually look at the nonsense that comes out of his mouth. He sends tingles up the legs of Olberman and Matthews, although with Oblberman you never actually know what that tingle is. Unfortunately, he is an inept, incompetent president and this complicated with the fact that he lies, is corrupt, and is a union toady, leads him to call, people who see through it "enemies" and call those involved in a legitimate political compromise "hostage takere." That kind of dimwit rhetoric (its pert of that union training) sure puts me off making any deals with him. Just get him out of there and let him write his book and let him be dreamed about by Domincan Mama from his perpetual vacation.

    December 13, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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