Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told Newsmax TV
on Tuesday that his concern was not over the comments on a Muslim in the White House made by Ben Carson, but that "there is no religious test to hold public office in America."
"I'm less concerned about what faith a person has," the former Arkansas governor told "The Hard Line" host Ed Berliner. "I'm more concerned about the authenticity of their faith and how that plays out in their policies.
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"I'm also concerned about a guy that believes he's a Christian and pretends to be and then says he is but does things that makes it very difficult for people to practice their Christian faith," Huckabee said, inferencing President Barack Obama. "I'm disappointed if a person who says, 'I'm a Christian,' but you invite the pope into your home and then you invite a whole bunch of people who are at odds with the Catholic Church policy.
"There's something very unseemly about that."
Huckabee added that he is "absolutely not" quitting the race and that "we're in this for the long haul, we're in this to win it.
"We know that this is a process that you have to be very careful how you use your money, use it wisely, be frugal, spend it like you are spending the taxpayers' money — and like they wish that Congress would spend it."
But that also means not attacking front-runner Donald Trump, he said.
"I don't agree that it's my job to go after one of the other Republicans," Huckabee told Berliner. "My job is to play the best game that I can because I want to be the quarterback of the team. So does everybody else.
"But the best way for me to be the quarterback is to play a better game, not break the legs of one of the other guys at tryouts."
And that's precisely why the former governor thought he was not asked many questions during last week's second top-tier debate on CNN.
"Because I'm not willing to play the schoolyard third-grade game of getting in a spitting war with the other candidates, I pretty-much got marginalized at the CNN debate," he said. "It was very evident that they had an agenda — and their agenda was to create conflict among the Republicans.
"What should have happened on that stage is every single Republican should have said: 'We didn't come here to beat up Republicans. We came here to get this country back on track. We came here to talk about how to improve national security, the economy, the infrastructure of our country, how to bring some stability to Medicare and Social Security, how to fight the Iranian deal.'
"We could have gone through a litany of issues and just said: 'You asked us about each other and we're just going to say, 'nothing doing, here's what I'll talk about.'"
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