Just hours after formally announcing his support for Mitt Romney at a speaking engagement in New Hampshire, former Gov. Michael Huckabee sat down with Newsmax.TV to explain the timing of his much coveted endorsement, and why he insists it’s critical to end “four nightmarish years” of the Obama administration.
“I made it very clear: ‘I’ll do everything that I can to vigorously support Mitt Romney because I think our country is at stake, and I believe his leadership would provide the right direction as opposed to what we’ve had four years, which is the wrong direction,” the former Arkansas governor declared in an exclusive interview this morning.
In a far-reaching interview, Huckabee also:
• Criticized Planned Parenthood for a new ad campaign that targets Romney’s policies with respect to women’s rights.
• Accused President Obama of attacking wealthy Americans as part of a “political tactic” to sway voters.
• Predicted a close election, but said he feels sorry for Democrats who must try to defend the president’s record.
To see the full interview of Mike Huckabee with Newsmax, see below:
Huckabee, who was considered to be a major rival of Romney's when he sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, had refrained from endorsing any candidate until the nomination was clinched, something that Romney accomplished with Tuesday’s win in the Texas primary.
“I was very careful and deliberate in not wanting to get involved in the process prior to somebody securing the nomination, largely because of the fact that I play on both radio and television,” explained Huckabee. “I didn’t feel like it was appropriate for me to pick one of several Republican candidates.”
With Romney’s win in Texas, the Associated Press delegate count showed that his campaign had surpassed the magic 1,144 delegate number needed to win the GOP presidential nomination.
“I don’t think anyone doubted that I was going to support the Republican. But Mitt Romney has now earned it — and I use that term very specifically,” said Huckabee. “He has earned the nomination. He worked hard to get it and therefore I think all Republicans and all conservatives need to rally around Gov. Romney.”
Huckabee currently offers three daily commentaries on more than 500 Cumulus Media Network radio stations and is a host and contributor on Fox News Channel. His new radio program “The Mike Huckabee Show,” a daily three-hour talk show, began airing last month on Cumulus, which has more than 4,000 affiliate stations reaching 121 million listeners.
While Huckabee has said previously that he doesn’t "bear a grudge" against the former Massachusetts governor, he has also cited Romney’s attempt to “win almost by intimidation” in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.
Huckabee, who is also a best-selling author, had harsh words for a new ad campaign by Planned Parenthood that targets Romney’s policies with respect to women’s rights.
Calling the organization a “ruse” and a “shameful industry,” Huckabee said that Planned Parenthood is primarily a profit-centered organization rather than a health organization.
“There’s nothing healthy about killing an unborn child. It’s very unhealthy to the child and it’s not necessarily healthy to the mother,” Huckabee said, citing threats to both the mother’s physical and mental well-being.
“Planned Parenthood doesn’t tell the women that because they’re primarily not a health organization,” he explained. “They are a profit-centered organization that exploits women for their own profiteering.”
While Huckabee’s name has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Romney, he said that he hasn’t had any discussions with the former governor on such a role.
“Haven’t heard from him. So you know I’m not anticipating a call,” Huckabee said, pointing to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as an excellent choice in the event that he does not get such a call. “If one comes through, of course you know you always listen to those things, but nobody has contacted me. And I would not sit around thinking that’s going to happen.”
Huckabee predicted that President Obama’s now public support for gay marriage may help him in certain areas of the country, but will be damaging in others.
“I think it’s going to be very, very hurtful to him in many parts of the country, particularly in the Midwest and in the South,” he said. “This issue has galvanized a lot of voters, and not just Republicans or conservatives.”
Huckabee suspects that the president may have hurt his chances with many Catholic voters and working-class Democrats, who aren’t ready to redefine marriage.
Having drawn support from social conservatives in his 2008 presidential bid, Huckabee acknowledged that Romney must still take measures to reach out to such voters following a bitter primary fight.
“I think right now it’s still important that Mitt gives them every indication that they have nothing to fear from his presidency and I think a lot of people in the value voter arena understand that we’ve endured four painful years of a president who not only ignores, but actually attacks religious liberties,” said Huckabee.
See these other exclusive excerpts of Mike Huckabee with Newsmax:
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