Huckabee: 2012 GOP Race to be 'Demolition Derby'

Friday, 25 Feb 2011 12:50 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax that the 2012 Republican presidential primary contest is likely to be a contentious “demolition derby” as a dozen or more candidates maneuver for the nomination.

In the second part of his wide-ranging exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate insists he could defeat Barack Obama in 2012 because he offers a “clear contrast” to the incumbent president.

And he says he was “skinned alive” during his 2008 run for espousing the same views that the tea party movement has since embraced.

Story Continues below video.

Huckabee hosts a talk show on the Fox News Channel, “Huckabee,” and his latest book is the just-released “A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don't!).”

Editor’s note: Get Mike Huckabee’s new book for just $8.95 – Save $18! Click Here Now.

Huckabee, who is about to kick off his book tour in Iowa, continues to poll well among potential GOP presidential candidates. Asked whether he is about to announce his candidacy or is ambivalent about running, as some have reported, Huckabee tells Newsmax: “I’m not quite ambivalent. I think it’s a matter of being methodical and thoughtful.

“It’s not that I don’t have a real interest in making the decision, but I want to make this decision thoughtfully, not impulsively. And it’s a big decision to make.

“One of the things I’m looking for with the release of the book is what kind of reaction do I get from it. People want to know what does Mike Huckabee think about national security or terror or the debt. This book gives them a good indication, so if people read the book and my poll numbers go tanking, I’ll probably get a pretty good indication that my point of view is not in synch.
“On the other hand people [could] read this book and say here’s a guy who takes some of the complex issues of the day, and he applies simple common sense principles to them.”

In light of his strong poll numbers, Huckabee was asked why he might decide not to run for the White House in 2012.

“Two things. I do believe it’s going to be a very very fractious Republican primary. We may have a dozen to 15 guys who all get in, elbowing each other. It’s going to be demolition derby.

“But the second reason is, I’ve got to be able to see the way to the finish line. If it were all about how can we get that guy in Michigan a job, what can we do to really secure our borders, how can we deal with the spreading unrest in the Middle East — if those were the issues that I knew I would be focused on to run for president, I’d probably be out there making the announcement today.

“But I’ve done this before, and unfortunately a lot of time is spent defending oneself against these ridiculous charges that come from one of ten thousand decisions that maybe were made when I was governor, distorted and contorted, and the next thing you know you’re not talking about the things that really matter, you’re not talking about the things that compel you to run. You’re out there putting out itty-bitty brushfires.

“So I’ve got to believe in my heart of hearts that I could stay focused on what it would mean to be president of the United States, not that there’s a blogger over here who’s just created a firestorm because he’s now speculated that when you were in grade school you pulled a girl’s hair in the fifth grade and what does that say about your attitude toward women.

“It’s that kind of nonsense that sometimes just makes you say, wow, are we actually going to have a campaign or are we going to have a spitting match.”

Huckabee stands by his contention in a September interview that he can beat Obama in 2012.

“I know it sounds a bit audacious to say I think I could beat President Obama,” he says.

“If I were the nominee and could get through the process of the primaries, the reason I think I could is I believe I could offer a significantly clear contrast between the two of us, and I believe what Americans are looking for is clarity.

“It’s one reason why the message of the book ‘A Simple Government’ is what I think is resonating right now with people.

“I think if President Obama and Mike Huckabee were on the debate stage together there would be real clarity in our world views as it relates to the threat of Islamic jihadism. I think it would be very clear how we differ on border security, on the tax situation in America, on manufacturing, energy — I could go on and on. I do believe I would be able to debate with him in an effective way.”

Huckabee says he doesn’t buy into the suggestion that he personally inspired what has become known as the tea party movement with his 2008 campaign.

But he adds: “The messages and themes that I was talking about in 2008, for which I was pilloried and vilified, especially by many people in the Republican Party, are now the themes that are the foundation of the tea party.

“For example, when I talked about the reckless runaway spending, when I criticized the debt and when I talked about the fact that we were going into an economic recession a year before anyone else talked about it, I remember being virtually skinned alive by The Wall Street Journal.

“I was actually talking in Detroit in the fall of 2007 that the economy was not doing as well as the Republican Party trumpeted it to be, and I was considered a heretic, a populist.

“A few months later, it looked like I was prophetic.”

In Part Three of Mike Huckabee’s interview, he discusses the Obama administration’s strained relationship with Israel, and the dangers of radical Islam. It will appear on Saturday.

To read Part One — Click Here Now.

Editor’s note: Get Mike Huckabee’s new book for just $8.95 – Save $18! Click Here Now.

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