Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee insisted in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will be a “pro-life president” and he also predicted that Republicans will step up their campaign in the critical swing state of Ohio in the days leading up to the election.
“I do believe that people know that this is not the front and center issue for Mitt Romney, never has been. But they’re comfortable that he really is going to be a pro-life president,” said Huckabee on Wednesday.
He was referring to Romney’s comments earlier this week to The Des Moines Register’s editorial board in which he said he doesn’t intend to pursue anti-abortion legislation if elected.
See the full Newsmax interview with Mike Huckabee below.
Huckabee, who recently launched ourvotedecides.com to encourage Americans to vote in the upcoming election, dismissed concerns by some observers who fear that Romney’s remarks threaten to alienate core supporters as he’s surging in national polls.
“If the Congress were to pass pro-life legislation, he’s going to support it and sign it,” said Huckabee, who hosts a weekend show on the Fox News Channel and a daily radio show on Cumulus Media Networks. “His spokesperson later reiterated that he is a pro-life candidate, he’ll be a pro-life president and if legislation comes to him, he will certainly support and sign it.”
As a conservative, Huckabee said he wasn’t “spooked” by Romney’s comments on abortion as many observers had feared. “Frankly, considering how radical Barack Obama is, anything, anyone — even any Democrat — would be a better choice for unborn children than Barack Obama.”
He said that Romney will stop “federally funding abortions overseas and that’s a plus for many of us in the pro-life community. Even that step is something we welcome.”
Huckabee also pointed to Romney’s selection of his running-mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, who sponsored a bill during the last Congress that would deem a fetus a person and effectively criminalize abortion without exceptions, including for rape victims.
“He’s made it pretty clear to pro-life activists around the country that he understands the commitment he’s made to us and it would be disastrous to somehow go back on that,” said the former governor, who served from 1996 to 2007 before seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
Huckabee characterized Romney’s recent gains in national polls as a “steady growth” rather than a surge.
A Newsmax-Zogby Poll has Obama still leading Romney in Ohio, 46-to-42 percent, but Huckabee insisted that Romney can still take the state.
While it’s mathematically possible for Romney to win the election even if he loses the critical swing state of Ohio, Huckabee predicted that fellow Republicans will launch “an extraordinary ground game” in The Buckeye State in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
“Let’s face it, it’s very, very important to win Ohio and it’s one of those must-win states in most every presidential election,” he said. “It’s a state that is always teetering between Democrat and Republican in virtually every race.”
He added that the ground game will be marked by “knocking on every door, ringing every telephone,” in Ohio and he warned: “If you don’t want to have any exposure to politics, you ought to stay out of Ohio between now and November the sixth.”
Huckabee characterized the first presidential debate as “the biggest game changer I’ve ever seen coming out of a debate” and he attributed it to Romney’s “flawless” performance.
“It erased a lot of the anxieties that, particularly, women had about him,” said Huckabee. “It was a very powerful performance. But the other side of that was the dismal performance of Barack Obama. I mean he virtually made true Clint Eastwood’s empty chair routine.”
Unlike other previous campaign events, the debate allowed Americans to compare and contrast the styles of Romney and Obama.
“What happened was the American people, for the first time, saw these two men together on the same stage side-by-side,” he said. “One of them looked like a competent, capable, effective president and the other one looked like he was just in a real hurry to get to dinner with his wife.”
Huckabee added that he is hoping for a record turnout on election day. “It may be the most important election since the founding of the great republic of the United States of America,” he explained. “I don’t say that lightly. I say it because we have two very different world views represented with these two candidates and we have two very different visions, not only for America, but for America’s place in the world.”
In a wide-ranging interview Huckabee also said:
• Republicans who abandoned Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin should “repent.”
• The Obama campaign’s Big Bird ad seemed more like a comedy routine than a “serious political ad.”
• Vice President Joe Biden has to avoid making a “big gaffe” in Thursday’s vice presidential debate while Paul Ryan must avoid sounding like a policy wonk.
• If someone gave U .S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice bad information about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi they should be fired and Huckabee said the American people have a right to reprise the famous Watergate question: “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”
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