Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is giving up his Fox News television program to explore another run for president, has a history of hiking taxes that makes him a bad choice for Republicans, David McIntosh, president of the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, told Newsmax TV
McIntosh told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that the Club's pre-emptive opposition
to Huckabee, a popular figure among social conservatives, is "nothing personal" — just a conclusion borne out by studying his 1996-2007 run in office.
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"He was known, as governor of Arkansas, as 'Tax Hike Mike,' because whether it was the gas tax, the income tax or the sales tax, he seemed to be favoring all of the different options," said McIntosh.
"The Club did a thorough search of his record when he ran for president in 2008, and looked at that and decided we need to tell our members and the voters what his record was," said McIntosh. "So as he's running as a conservative, he may be conservative on many issues, but on taxes — which is our key to economic growth — he's for increasing them, not cutting them."
Government spending in Arkansas also rose by "a huge percentage" under Huckabee, he said.
"And as you know here in Washington, if you don't keep the brakes on spending, Congress [members] of all stripes will add more and add more as they decide to spend on all sorts of things to take the money back home to their districts," said McIntosh.
"You need a president who's going to say 'no,'" he said.
Huckabee and the Club for Growth also clashed during the 2008 presidential campaign season, with Huckabee's campaign firing back that the governor had cut state taxes almost 100 times.
McIntosh, who wasn't the organization's president back then, admitted that Huckabee "does not like the Club for Growth."
"But we're going to stand out there for the issues that we think are right for the American people and tell people about elected officials' records, and let them make the choices as the voters," he said.
The Club for Growth does not endorse presidential candidates "but we publish white papers on all their records," said McIntosh.
"Right now, we're cranking out some very serious papers on the folks who have talked about running," he said.
McIntosh also discussed the conservative revolt that greeted House Speaker John Boehner
in the new Congress beginning this week.
McIntosh said the Club takes no position on who should be speaker, but he did say the failed attempt to oust Boehner is "a sign that his leadership hasn't included some of the tea party and conservative members."
McIntosh said that Boehner now has a chance to prove otherwise, and to hold true to the promises the GOP made to voters who rewarded them in November with a new Senate majority and a larger House majority.
Those promises include voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut taxes and beat back job-killing regulations issued by President Barack Obama, said McIntosh.
He also said that Boehner was right to throw cold water on any Senate Republicans contemplating a new gas tax hike.
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