Huckabee: 'Christian Ticket' Would Help Elect Clinton
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee says he would not seek, nor would accept an invitation to run as president from Christian conservative leaders who are considering such a move if the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate like Rudy Giuliani.
"No, I think a third party only helps elect Hillary [Clinton]," Huckabee said in an interview with washingtonpost.com. "I don't see that being a good strategy for those who really care about pushing a pro-family, pro-life agenda. If they want to do that, the smart thing to do is coalesce their support around Mike Hucakbee. If they do that, I'll become the nominee, I'll win the White House."
Asked if he thinks the evangelical Christian vote still carries as much weight as it once did with the Republican Party, Huckabee said he's not sure.
"I'm a little concerned that some of the evangelical leaders seem to be less committed to the principles that got them involved in politics in the first place, and more into the politics than the principles," he said. "You hear some of them saying, 'Well, this guy believes with us, but we want to get somebody that can raise money. Or, 'we want to get somebody that we think is going to win.' Well, when it gets down to their picking things based on completely secular reasons, and it's not about the issues, I think they completely marginalize themselves."
Huckabee suggests evangelical Christians should stick to the issues, and not worry about electability.
"When you cease becoming clear about who you are, and what you're about, you really just become another Republican interest group, and you have no core, you have no center, and therefore you have no influence."
The former Arkansas governor earned 8 percent support among Republicans in the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. He raised roughly $1 million in this year's third fundraising quarter.
"The way that we have budgeted, we are doing what we need to do to keep our feet on the ground," he says, stressing that "We try to be as careful with the campaign money as I would be with the taxpayer's money if I were president. I think a lot people start thinking that if a person spends recklessly with campaign money, they'd probably spend recklessly with taxpayer money if they were president."
"One of the candidates who's spent tens of millions of dollars, is three points ahead of us in the Washington Post poll that was released yesterday," Huckabee said, referring to Romney. "If you've spent that much money, and you're only three points ahead of a guy that's raised a million bucks this quarter, I'd be sitting in a warm tub with some razor blades in both hands."
Indirectly referring to McCain, Huckabee said, "We've not laid anybody off. We've not had to move backwards. We've moved ahead. Our trajectory is upward. We've gained momentum, and we've done so with limited resources."
The former governor has recently earned praise from former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who announced last weekend he will not run for president. Gingrich has blogged on Huckabee's Web site, while the former governor participated in the Gingrich's American Solutions conference last week. What gives?
"I value Newt's insight into policy. I don't know of anybody who's more creative and innovative in terms of ideas than Newt Gingrich. If I could have him totally on my team, I'd take it in a heartbeat."
Huckabee spoke with washingtonpost.com for the "The Post Politics Program," which airs on XM Satellite Radio's POTUS '08 channel Thursdays at 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET. [Listen to audio of the Huckabee interview below]
-- Ed O'Keefe
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