Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee cautioned Republican activists not to demonize Democratic nominee-to-be Sen. Barack Obama during the presidential general election season underway.
Huckabee, in New Hampshire Monday campaigning for state Sen. Bob Clegg, said, "I think we will make a huge mistake if we try to demonize Barack Obama.”
Huckabee, the five-term governor from Arkansas, praised Obama, D-Ill., as the first African-American to win a major political party’s nomination for president.
"I m grateful for Barack Obama and his magnificent climb and the journey he has made,” he said.
“As an American, I can obviously salute the extraordinary barriers that have been broken already in this election cycle. But…he [Obama] has gone far enough this year because, ultimately, this election is not going to be about something symbolic, it [will] be about something substantive,'' he added.
Huckabee compares Obama's early voter-appeal to the experience of spotting a new car in the showroom, then meeting with the sales manager about buying it.
"When you got to the showroom, the car is really appealing; it's got that new car smell and all the bells and whistles. But then you've got to decide, can I afford the payments?” he pointed out by way of example.
“I think when people start looking at what Obama is saying, the very last thing they need in this tough economy is more tax burden on their families and their future.''
Huckabee all along has admitted interest in the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket in November and remains on a list of potential running mates for Sen. John McCain.
He doubts, however, the party’s presumptive nominee from Arizona will offer the spot to him, despite having not attacked McCain personally during the primary battle.
"Quite frankly, I am one person who doesn't have to take back anything I said publicly and privately,'' Huckabee said.
"John McCain is an honorable man who has principled convictions and knows how to stand behind them,' he said, adding, “Those are his decisions to make, and he knows what his criteria is."
Huckabee, campaigning for Clegg – who spent months volunteering on Huckabee's presidential campaign – said, "I think he [Clegg] has got the kind of integrity we need in Washington. I know he's going to stand up for what he believes in.''
Huckabee brought his bass guitar to the rally for Clegg, who has adopted Huckabee's call to replace the federal income tax code with a national sales tax of about 23 percent. His rock band was a fixture on the campaign trail in early voting states.
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