Tags: SuperTuesday | huckabee | santorum | romney | obama | convention

Huckabee: Santorum Could Go All The Way

By    |   Thursday, 05 January 2012 04:59 PM

Former presidential candidate and Fox News host Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax that Rick Santorum can make it all the way to the Republican presidential nomination — and says Rick Perry made an “incredibly bad blunder” in announcing that he was reassessing his campaign after the Iowa caucus.

Huckabee also warns Republicans that President Obama will launch a “vicious campaign” in his battle for re-election, but “the best weapon we have against Obama is Obama.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses when he sought the White House in 2008. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, he comments on Santorum’s strong showing in Iowa, virtually tying Mitt Romney for the lead.

“It didn’t surprise me,” Huckabee says. “In fact, weeks ago I was saying the surprise candidate in Iowa was going to be Rick Santorum, and that was when he was polling four percent. Nobody took me seriously but I stuck by it and proved to be right.

“I was talking to people in Iowa. I sensed what was happening was that there was still unrest. People in Iowa had sort of cycled through all the candidates. Rick Santorum was the last one to get taste-tested and his was coming at exactly the right time.”

Asked if Santorum can garner the Republican nomination, Huckabee responds: “He can. What he has to do is turn what has been a flash of excitement into a depth of organization. He’s raising money now that he wasn’t raising before. Then the challenge is can you mobilize volunteers and structure in all those states.

“I think he’ll do well in New Hampshire. He’ll be competitive in South Carolina. His real test is Florida, because Florida is a tough, tough state — 67 counties, 10 big, expensive media markets. You can do grassroots in Iowa. You can do it in New Hampshire and to a lesser degree in South Carolina. But you absolutely cannot do grassroots in Florida and be competitive. You’ve got to have money.”

Huckabee disagrees with businessman and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes’ prediction that Rick Perry, who finished fifth in Iowa, can make a comeback.

“I don’t see it happening. The problems Rick Perry had were substantive, not just stylistic. When he clearly was unable to name Supreme Court justices properly and didn’t know how many there were — those are the things that cause people to say he’s not ready for prime time.

“When he got up in Iowa and said I’m going to reassess my campaign, in other words I’m thinking about quitting, in essence he did quit. In a campaign you never say I might not make it. I just think that was an incredibly bad blunder from a tactical standpoint.”

Huckabee tells Newsmax that whoever the GOP presidential nominee is, he stands a great chance of beating Obama in November.

“The Republicans will eventually come together around our nominee, because when we look at the options, take any of the Republicans on the stage and say, would this person be more acceptable and a better president than Barack Obama? The answer is enthusiastically ‘oh boy, yes.’

“People act like the whole issue is electability. There are some issues there and we have to ask ourselves what would the Democrats use against this person. But just be aware that Democrats aren’t just going to use the stuff that’s there, they’re going to make up stuff we’d never thought of. It’s going to be a vicious campaign.

“The question is who can be organized, who can mobilize, who can raise the money to compete with Obama, and who can overcome the obstacles they’re going to face, no matter who they are.”

Obama is apparently intent on campaigning by attacking Republicans, specifically the GOP majority in the House, instead of touting his own record. Asked how Republicans should respond, Huckabee states: “What they ought to do is use Obama’s own words against him.

“The best weapon we have against Obama is Obama, because he made so many big promises, not only about fixing the economy and making us strong and bringing hope and bringing change, but think about the messages about transparency and bipartisanship. Let’s just play those words over and over and remind the American people that of a hundred things he promised, he broke about 99 of the promises he made.

“As a leader he’s been aloof. He’s been secretive. Even people in his own party — I talk to them regularly — privately they are absolutely disgusted with the way he has dealt with members of Congress, keeping them at arm’s length, simply operating in a way that makes them uneasy with him.”
Obama’s recent recess appointments made while the Senate is in fact not in recess are examples of the president’s flip-flopping, Huckabee says.

“That’s a power grab that I think is going to come back to bite him. He himself and his administration said that recess appointments shouldn’t be made — this was of course before they did it when the Senate is clearly not in recess for at least three days.

“This is another example of how he has said one thing and done another. That’s why when people say, Mitt Romney, they’re going to get him on flip-flopping. Look, Mitt Romney is an amateur flip-flopper compared to Barack Obama. He’s got the gold medal in flip-flopping.

“So the least worry I think Republicans have to have about Romney or any Republican is that he changed his position, because it’s one thing to change a political position even over a period of time. But what you have in Barack Obama is a president who has completely transformed into something that we don’t recognize from the campaign, from the campaign version of Barack Obama, who was going to be this wonderful bring us together, stop the fighting, let’s have a bipartisan solution-focused government. It’s been a disaster.”

Huckabee also says Michele Bachmann, who has left the race, made a mistake by not taking advantage of her win in the Iowa straw poll by remaining in that state and building on that victory. Instead she exited the state and “didn’t go back for a while. It’s almost as if she swept out the house but left the door open and the dust blew back in. Then it was too late to fix it.”

Huckabee adds that he does not intend to endorse a GOP candidate any time soon because “I’m not sure who I am for. Nobody has closed the sale with me yet. I want to see how road-tested they’re going to be through the primary process. I’m still trying to figure out which one of these guys I should vote for.”

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Thursday, 05 January 2012 04:59 PM
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