Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee railed against President Barack Obama's refusal to identify attacks against the United States and its allies as coming from Islamic jihadism, saying that there is something "unbalanced" about the country's approach to security.
"The biggest mistake is he will not identify this enemy as Islamic jihadism," the former Arkansas governor, who announced his 2016 candidacy Tuesday, told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program Wednesday morning. "I hear the semantic games ... it doesn't matter. It's rooted in Islamic jihadism. Whether it's al-Qaida, ISIS, they're all leaves from the same tree."
On Tuesday, the Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility
for a weekend attack at a center near Dallas that was exhibiting cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, though it offered no evidence of a direct link to the attackers, who it called "two soldiers of the caliphate."
"Thank God for an off-duty traffic cop with a Glock who took down two people," Huckabee said Wednesday of the officer who killed the two gunmen and thwarted the attack.
But meanwhile, he said, "something is incredibly unbalanced about our approach to security" when elderly travelers can be "stripped electronically naked" by Transportation Security Administration agents in airports, "and this guy is tweeting he's about to attack somebody and we don't catch that."
Huckabee also told the program that his campaign's strength is that he speaks for people that "no one else is speaking up for."
"There are Americans who are feeling left out of the whole process," Huckabee said. "This is a world where so many people are thinking the elites run everything. Think about how many people work hard. Nobody is paying attention to them."
Huckabee, who left his own Fox News program while preparing for his announcement, also said that he does not believe the economy is recovering, and that the government actually traps people into poverty and keeps them there.
"You're a single mom, you can get benefits," he said. "If you get married, you lose the benefits. Shouldn't we encourage people to build stable families?"
But when a person gets a job that pays over the threshold of benefits, Huckabee said, they lose their children's healthcare and other benefits.
"In other words, you could go from having a relatively comfortable way of providing for your children to being in dire poverty by getting off poverty," said Huckabee. "The system traps people in. We wonder why so many people are in the system."
As far as his campaign goes, Huckabee says he's the same person who ran for office in 2008, because he's a Christian who doesn't "have the option of rewriting the Bible to fit the culture. I have to be who I am."
Evangelical Christian voters helped Huckabee win the Iowa caucuses
in 2008 and finish a strong second in South Carolina, the largest of the early voting states, and Huckabee needs to replicate that early success to create an opening to build a wider coalition and compete deep into the primary schedule.
He told Fox News, though, that his campaign isn't only about being the evangelical candidate, saying if anyone thinks that, they "must not have heard my speech yesterday."
"This is about securing America, making this country safe," said Huckabee. "It's about giving economic opportunity to the people who right now don't have it in this country.
"The economy is booming for people at the top. It is not booming for the bottom 90 percent of the workforce in America. The bottom 90 percent, most of America, have had stagnant wages for 40 years."
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