Huckabee, Mike

Huckabee, Mike

Huckabee, Mike (Michael Dale Huckabee), 1955-, American politican and Baptist minister, b. Hope, Ark. He attended Ouachita Baptist Univ. (B.A., 1975) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Huckabee served as a Baptist minister in Pine Bluff and Texarkana, Ark. (1980-92), was involved in Christian television broadcasting (1983-96), and became the youngest president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention (1989-91). In 1992 he ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the U.S. Senate, then in 1994 was elected lieutenant governor of Arkansas. When Governor Jim Guy Tucker resigned in 1996 following his Whitewater convictions, Huckabee succeeded him and was elected in governor his own right in 1998 and again in 2002. In office, Huckabee established a medical insurance plan for poor children, improved the state highway system, and cut taxes. In 2007 he became a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, running as an evangelical and populist, but lost in the primaries to John McCain.

Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee (born August 24, 1955), is a former Republican governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007 and a political commentator for Fox News Channel. Huckabee finished second in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries; he announced his candidacy on January 28, 2007. Following losses to John McCain in the Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island primaries, McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee and Huckabee exited the race on March 4, 2008.

Huckabee is the author of several books, an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a public speaker. He is well known for having lost in a very short time and for advocating a healthy lifestyle. He and his wife, Janet, have been married 33 years and have three grown children: John Mark, David, and Sarah.

Early life and education

Huckabee was born in Hope, Arkansas, to Mae Elder (1925-1999) and Dorsey Wiles Huckabee (1923-1996), both natives of Hope. His surname is of English origin. His father worked as a fireman and mechanic, and his mother worked as a clerk at a gas company. His father was a strict disciplinarian, and left a lasting impression. Speaking to Charles Gibson of ABC News, he explained with a grin: "My father was the ultimate patriot. You know, he'd lay on the stripes, and I'd see stars.

Huckabee's first job, at 14, was working at a radio station where he read the news and weather. He was elected Governor of Arkansas Boys State in 1972 and is a Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Alumnus. He was student council president at Hope High School in 1973. He has one sister, Pat (Harris) who is a middle school teacher.

Huckabee married Janet McCain on May 25, 1974. He graduated magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University, completing his bachelor's degree in Religion in 2½ years before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He dropped out of seminary after one year in order to take a job in Christian broadcasting. He has two honorary doctoral degrees: a Doctor of Humane Letters, received from John Brown University in 1991, and a Doctor of Laws from Ouachita Baptist University in 1992.

Pastoral career

At 21, Huckabee was a staffer for James Robison, a television evangelist. Robison commented, "His convictions shape his character and his character will shape his policies. His whole life has been shaped by moral absolutes." Huckabee has stated, "Politics are totally directed by worldview. That's why when people say, 'We ought to separate politics from religion,' I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible". Huckabee believes in Biblical inerrancy. Prior to his political career, Huckabee served as pastor at Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana from 1980-1986 and then at Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas from 1986-1992. In both Texarkana and Pine Bluff Huckabee started 24-hour television stations "where he produced documentaries and hosted a program called Positive Alternatives. He encouraged the all-white Immanuel Baptist Church to accept black members in the mid 1980s. He served as president of a religion-oriented television station. In 1989 Huckabee ran against the Rev. Dr. Ronnie Floyd of Springdale for the presidency of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Huckabee won and served as president from 1989 to 1991.

Early political career

In 1992, in Huckabee's first political race, he lost to incumbent Senator Dale Bumpers (D), receiving 40 percent of the vote in the general election. That same election saw Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton ascend to the Presidency, making Lieutenant Governor Jim Guy Tucker the new Governor. Huckabee narrowly won a special election for lieutenant governor on July 27, 1993. He defeated Nate Coulter, who had been Bumpers' campaign manager the previous year (51%-49%). Huckabee became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve as Arkansas lieutenant governor, the first being Maurice Britt from 1967 to 1971.

Dick Morris, who had previously worked for Bill Clinton, advised Huckabee on his race in 1993, and again in 1994 when Huckabee ran for re-election. Huckabee commented that Morris was a "personal friend". A newspaper article reported on Huckabee's 1993 win: "Morris said the mistake Republicans always make is that they are too much of a country club set. What we wanted to do was run a progressive campaign that would appeal to all Arkansans.'" Morris elaborated, "So we opened the campaign with ads that characterized Mike as more of a moderate whose values were the same as those of other Arkansans."

In April 1994, Huckabee withdrew from a speaking engagement before the Council of Conservative Citizens. He commented, "I will not participate in any program that has racist overtones. I've spent a lifetime fighting racism and anti-Semitism.

In 1994, Huckabee was re-elected to a full term as lieutenant governor, beating Democrat Charlie Cole Chaffin with nearly 59 percent of the vote. While Lieutenant Governor, Huckabee accepted $71,500 in speaking fees and traveling expenses from a nonprofit group, Action America. R. J. Reynolds was the group's largest contributor.

In October 1995, David Pryor announced that he was retiring from the United States Senate. Huckabee then announced he was running for the open seat and moved well ahead in the polls. He won the Republican nomination unopposed.

During his campaign, Huckabee opposed in December then-Governor Tucker's plan for a constitutional convention. The plan was defeated by voters 20 percent-80 percent in a special election. In January 1996, Huckabee campaigned in televised ads paid for by the Republican National Committee and the Arkansas Republican Party against a highway referendum. Tucker supported the referendum, which included tax increases and a bond program, to improve of highway. On the referendum, the bond question, which included a sales tax increase and a gas tax increase, lost 13 percent-87 percent. A second question, a five-cent increase on diesel tax, lost 14 percent-86 percent. Huckabee also opposed Tucker's plan for school consolidation.

In May 1996 Tucker, involved in the Whitewater scandal, was convicted "on one count of arranging nearly $3 million in fraudulent loans" and he promised to resign by July 15. Huckabee then announced he would quit the Senate race and instead fill the unexpired term of Tucker.

Governor of Arkansas

Tucker, insisting he had a strong case for appeal, rescinded his resignation as Huckabee was preparing to be sworn in, but within a few hours reinstated his resignation after Huckabee threatened to initiate impeachment proceedings against Tucker. Huckabee was sworn in as Governor of Arkansas on July 15, 1996. In November 1998, Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term by defeating retired Colonel Gene McVay in the primary and Jonesboro attorney Bill Bristow in the general election, becoming the state's third elected Republican Governor since Reconstruction. In November 2002, Huckabee was reelected to his second four-year term by defeating State Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher, garnering 53 percent of the vote. By the end of his term, Huckabee owned the third-longest tenure of any Arkansas Governor. Only Democrats Orval Faubus, who served six consecutive two-year terms (1955–1967), and Bill Clinton, who served 11 years, 11 months (1979–1981; 1983–1992), had longer tenures.

The first years

In late 1996, Huckabee campaigned for ballot Amendment 1, a plan to adjust property tax rules to make school funding more equal across the state, and Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment increasing the state sales tax 0.125 percent to improve the state's park system and natural resources. As part of the campaign, Huckabee traveled the entire length of the Arkansas River within Arkansas by boat. Amendment 1 passed 52%-48% and Amendment 2 passed 51%-49%.

Huckabee proclaimed 1997 as a year of racial reconciliation by saying "Let every one of us make it our priority to bring reconciliation, not so much that we can force it or legislate it, because we cannot, but that we begin in each of our own lives to purpose in our hearts that we will not harbor anger, hostility, prejudice, bigotry and racism toward any person."

Huckabee signed legislation to create a health insurance program which extended coverage to children of lower-income families, to be funded in part by Medicaid, SCHIP, and a tobacco industry lawsuit settlement. The program, ARKids First, reduced the number of uninsured children to nine percent (compared with 12 percent for the nation) in 2003. Also in his first year as governor Huckabee signed a partial birth abortion ban and a $7.6 Million Smart Start program for primary school students to learn "the basic skills of reading, math, and character." Huckabee vetoed a $140 million bill for capital improvements. The Arkansas General Assembly overrode the veto.

Huckabee signed the Child Welfare Agency Licensing Act in 1997. This bill has provisions which allow religious groups to contract for social services with the state without having to compromise their principles. An excerpt reads,

"Provided that the health, safety and welfare of children in the care of a child welfare agency is not endangered, nothing in this act shall be construed to permit the Board to promulgate or enforce any rule that has the effect of: (A) interfering with the religious teaching or instruction offered by a child welfare agency; (B) infringing upon the religious beliefs of the holder(s) of a child welfare agency license; (C) infringing upon the right of an agency operated by a religious organization to consider creed in any decision or action relating to admitting or declining to admit a child or family for services; (D) infringing upon the parents' right to consent to a child's participating in prayer or other religious practices while in the care of the child welfare agency; (E) prohibiting the use of corporal discipline.

Huckabee made sure that state agencies were compliant with charitable choice. His administration issued guidelines in October 2000, which allow religious groups to offer voluntary religious programs and to leave their religious artifacts on the walls as long as welfare clients are not pressured to convert and tax money doesn't directly underwrite them. Religious groups are allowed to reject a job candidate on religious grounds. The guidelines also guarantee that any client can receive alternative placement if the client objects to a religious provider.

In a February 1998 presidential straw poll of 65 Christian Coalition leaders, Huckabee came in second to John Ashcroft and ahead of Steve Forbes, J. C. Watts and George W. Bush.

On May 22, 1998, the Arkansas Ethics Commission fined Huckabee US$1,000 for failing to report campaign payments made to himself and his wife. In October 1998 the Arkansas Times suggested Huckabee used a fund set up for the maintenance of the Governor's Mansion for his own personal use. The Times later reported Huckabee was listed as the recipient of furniture given to the Governor's Mansion and not the Mansion itself. Tom Mars, Huckabee's attorney, denied any misuse or inappropriate actions.

Wayne DuMond case

Main article: Wayne DuMond
Huckabee has come under criticism for his handling of the case of Wayne DuMond (also spelled Dumond), a convicted rapist who was released during Huckabee's governorship. Despite a crude castration and a professed religious conversion in prison, DuMond subsequently sexually assaulted and murdered a woman in Missouri. DuMond's case had attracted national attention in the mid-1990s from critics of President Clinton who felt that Clinton, Arkansas Governor at the time of the rape, had been too harsh with DuMond because DuMond's victim was a distant Clinton relative. Clinton had recused himself from any involvement in the case. Before taking office, Huckabee met with DuMond's wife and privately announced his intention that DuMond be set free, stating his unhappiness with the way Clinton handled the case.

On September 20, 1996, Huckabee publicly announced his intention of commuting DuMond's sentence to time served. DuMond had originally been sentenced to life plus twenty years in prison, but in 1992, Tucker reduced the sentence to 39½ years, which gave DuMond the possibility of parole. Although there was strong pressure to commute DuMond's sentence from Clinton critics ill-informed by the New York Post columns of Steve Dunleavy, a close friend and writer for Rupert Murdoch, there was also strong opposition to Huckabee's plan from DuMond's victims, female Arkansas legislators, and various law enforcement officials, leaving Huckabee in a difficult situation politically.

On October 31, 1996, Huckabee met privately with the parole board to talk about the DuMond case. The Arkansas Times has argued that this closed-door meeting appeared to violate Arkansas' FOIA law. On January 16, 1997, DuMond was granted parole, just five months after he had been rejected. Huckabee released a statement saying, "I concur with the board's action and hope the lives of all those involved can move forward. The action of the board accomplishes what I sought to do in considering an earlier request for commutation ...In light of the action of the board, my original intent to commute the sentence to time served is no longer relevant." The parole was granted on the condition that DuMond leave the state. He moved to Smithville, Missouri in 1999 and was later convicted there of sexually assaulting and murdering a woman who lived near his home. DuMond was also a suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman in Platte County, Missouri. DuMond died in prison in 2005. Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley has argued Huckabee granted too many clemencies.

In 2005, The Arkansas Times reported on the role that Huckabee played in the parole board's decision.

When questioned about the case during his presidential campaign in 2007, Huckabee denied pressuring any parole board members to release DuMond, despite three of the parole board members stating that they felt he did pressure them to do so. Huckabee's official website states: "Governor Huckabee either denied Wayne DuMond's clemency request, or took no action (which is the same as a denial) on four separate occasions." The website states that it was Governor Jim Tucker who "made Wayne DuMond immediately eligible for parole, which, his website says, is granted by the parole board and not by the governor.

First full term

In January 1999, Huckabee joined the presidential exploratory committee of Lamar Alexander. Later, Huckabee endorsed George W. Bush. The Washington Post reported in February 2000,
"This is a guy who gets things done," said Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. "The more people get to know George Bush, the more than are going to get to like him.

On April 1, 1999, Huckabee signed into law a three cent increase in tax on gasoline and a four cent increase on diesel. Attached to the bill was a bond issue to pay for highway construction. The Commercial Appeal reported: "All the diesel money will be earmarked to pay off the bonds or, if the bond issue fails, to directly finance repairs to the interstates. The gasoline tax money will finance work on non-interstate state roads, notably projects approved in a 1991 road program that without new money remains seven years from completion. Should the bond issue fail, the taxes would remain in place, lessening the chances that the trucking industry will campaign against the bonds." Huckabee commented that the bond issue "won't affect taxes, it will only affect construction acceleration.

Huckabee led a public relations campaign for the bond program for road reconstruction. Arkansas voters approved Huckabee's program. In 1999, the Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment and Accountability Program (ACTAAP) was established. Huckabee modeled ACTAAP after K-12 programs in other states:

"..I've been fortunate to become friends with Gov. Jim Hunt of North Carolina and Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. They've shared their comprehensive assessment and accountability programs. We now have statewide academic standards that allow us to set clear teaching objectives. We have statewide assessments linked to those standards. We have accountability systems with consequences for schools that fail to perform.

Subsequent legislation amended ACTAAP to conform to No Child Left Behind. Later, in 2005, Huckabee stated,

"And one thing I salute about the president is No Child Left Behind, and no matter what you've heard about it let me tell you it's the best thing that ever happened in education because it says we're not going to let children spend years and years and let taxpayers spend thousands and thousands of dollars only to find out when the kid graduates high school that he's basically a functional illiterate, that we're not going to leave him lingering back in those classrooms and that he or she will get a decent education and we will hold accountable those who are responsible for getting that child a good education.

In July 1999, Huckabee hosted a $500-a-plate fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani's campaign for US Senate in Little Rock.

Rather than funnel 100 percent of the state's tobacco settlement revenues into the general fund, Huckabee campaigned to put it in the state's health care system.

On March 7, 2001, Huckabee signed a tax on private nursing homes for $5.25 per day per non-Medicare patient. However, Huckabee was named "Friend of a Taxpayer" by Americans for Tax Reform for his cut in statewide spending.

On April 11, 2001, Huckabee signed the "Covenant Marriage Act," a marriage contract option that compels couples to seek counseling if problems develop during the marriage, provides limited grounds for divorce or separation, and restricts lawsuits against spouses. Huckabee said the law, "offers couples a chance to be held to a higher level of marital commitment. He and his wife converted to a covenant marriage in 2004.

In 2001 Huckabee urged student districts to allow students to pray and proclaimed October as "Student Religious Liberty Month.

Later in 2001, his refusal to raise taxes in the face of a budget shortfall sparked criticism from lawmakers and the media. In response to the criticism he created the "Tax Me More Fund", which was a voluntary fund for people who felt that the government needed to raise more taxes. State Sen. Minority Leader John Brown called the "Tax Me More Fund" a campaign tactic. However, the Club for Growth argues Huckabee increased state spending 65.3 percent (1996–2004) and supported five tax increases. In response, Huckabee said he doubled the standard deduction and the child care tax credit, eliminated the marriage penalty and the capital gains tax on the sale of a home, and reduced the capital gains tax for both businesses and individuals. Ernest Dumas of the Arkansas Times, a consistent Huckabee critic, responded most of the tax cuts were small deductions and exemptions initiated by the state legislature, that the broad-based tax cut was proposed by his predecessor and Huckabee was "the biggest taxer and spender in Arkansas history. Former Arkansas State Representative Randy Minton (R) has said; "[Huckabee's] support for taxes split the Republican Party, and damaged our name brand. The group has pointed out that Huckabee publicly opposed the repeal of a sales tax on groceries and medicine in 2002, signed a bill raising taxes on gasoline in 1999, and signed a $5.25 bed-tax on private nursing home patients in 2001.

In 2002, Huckabee ran for Governor and his wife Janet ran for Arkansas Secretary of State. The New York Times reported this set off an "avalanche of criticism." A Republican State Representative, Jake Files, commented, "'That's just a lot of power in one family's hands Mike Huckabee later stated that his wife tried to recruit other Republican candidates willing to run for Secretary of State. But no one else was willing, so she ran herself. Mike Huckabee won his race with 53 percent of the vote, while his wife Janet lost her race by 62% to 38%.

Second full term

On November 21, 2002, the Arkansas Supreme Court declared the state's school funding procedure was unconstitutional and ordered to produce a fair system. Huckabee proposed a plan to consolidate schools districts of less than 1,500 students. The plan would have consolidated 310 schools districts into 107-116 schools districts with a more centralized administrative and governance network. The legislature instead passed a plan in January 2004 to consolidate school districts of less than 350 students. The issue would resurface when the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled again on school funding in December 2005.

On April 11, 2003 Huckabee signed a law which mandates annual body mass index (BMI) measurements for all public school children. The results are reported to parents with information about how to combat obesity. The law also sets up advisory committees to promote exercise and good nutrition for schools. On May 8, 2003, Huckabee signed into law increases in cigarette and tobacco taxes as well as a three percent income tax surcharge.

In July 2003, Roby Brock reached a settlement with Huckabee and the Arkansas Educational Television Network. Brock had filed a lawsuit alleging that the defendants had conspired to remove his television program from the air.

In his 2005 State of the State address, he talked about a Hispanic student who was unable to receive financial aid because he was an illegal immigrant. Huckabee said, "...when he applied for financial aid, he wasn't eligible for the various scholarships or grants because of his status, a status that he had no decision in or control over. Huckabee supported a 2005 bill by Arkansas State Representative Joyce Elliott to make some illegal immigrants eligible for scholarships and in-state college tuition, while vehemently opposing a bill sponsored by Arkansas State Senator Jim Holt which would deny state benefits to illegal immigrants, calling it "un-Christian.

In opening remarks among Hispanic civil rights leaders at a LULAC convention, Huckabee said the nation will need to address the concerns of the Hispanic community because of its growing influence and population base. "Pretty soon, Southern white guys like me may be in the minority," Huckabee said jokingly as the crowd roared in laughter. He told the LULAC delegates that their presence in the state's capital city was very important because Arkansas has one of the fastest growing Hispanic populations in the nation. "Your gathering is so very significant for our state," Huckabee said.

In April 2005, Huckabee vetoed a bill which would have allowed public drinking of alcohol in entertainment districts.

After Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005, an estimated 70,000 evacuees fled to Arkansas and Huckabee ordered state agencies to take care of them. State parks offered discounts, waived pet restrictions, and bumped other reservations in favor of evacuees. Pharmacists were given emergency authority to dispense prescriptions and provide access to dialysis machines. Shelters opened up in nearly every portion of the state, and Huckabee requested that the entire state be declared a disaster area. It was not. Many of these shelters, either closed or set to close, were reopened or kept open to process a "second wave" of Katrina evacuees moved from Texas in the wake of arriving Hurricane Rita. (See also Hurricane Katrina disaster relief).

In 2005, Huckabee, supported by then-Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe, opposed efforts by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson to reduce water pollution. Edmondson had sued Arkansas poultry companies alleging that chicken waste fouled Oklahoma rivers explaining, "You can't stand on the Arkansas side of the border, dump toxins into the river and wash your hands of the problem. Huckabee accused Edmondson of "political gamesmanship", later Edmondson, in 2006, called Huckabee "a poultry company apologist. Huckabee went to Oklahoma to campaign against Edmondson in the 2006 election.

In early 2006, Huckabee along with fellow governors Rick Perry (R-TX); Jim Doyle (D-WI); and Dave Freudenthal (D-WY) went on a week-long visit to the Middle East and South Asia as part of a Department of Defense-funded trip to provide the state leaders with an idea of the conditions under which American forces are serving. While visiting Baghdad and Tikrit, Huckabee and the governors received briefings from Gen. George Casey and Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad.

In November 2006, both Huckabee and his wife drew criticism for creating wedding registries in the amount of over $6000 at both the Target and Dillard's web sites, in conjunction with a housewarming party to celebrate a new house they had purchased in Little Rock. The Arkansas Times, which first reported the story, noted that wedding gifts represent one of the exceptions to a $100 cap on gifts to political leaders under Arkansas law. Huckabee said that the registries were intended only for those who were invited to the event, that he was not involved in organizing the event, and that they were classified as wedding registries only because those sites did not have separate categories for housewarming parties.

Throughout his tenure as Governor, welfare enrollment declined by nearly half. During his last year in office the state's economy grew 4.4%, beating the national average of 4.2%.

Shortly before announcing his candidacy for the President of the United States, Huckabee ordered that the drives of 83 computers and 4 servers be destroyed during his transition phase in leaving office. According to Claire Bailey, director of the Arkansas Department of Information Systems, the governor's office chose a combination of writing over the data and destroying the hard drives. Huckabee said that the decision to crush the hard drives was made in order to "protect the privacy of those who had personal information on the drives." Critics, however, recalled that early in Huckabee's term as governor, documents, e-mails and memos stored on hard drives formed the basis of embarrassing stories about Huckabee, including the allegations regarding personal use of the Governor's Mansion funds.

In 2005, Time magazine named him one of the five best governors in the U.S., writing "Huckabee has approached his state's troubles with energy and innovation". The Club for Growth accuses Huckabee of being a liberal in disguise, saying Huckabee increased state spending 65.3 percent (1996–2004) and supported five tax increases. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration states during Huckabee's tenure, taxes were cut ninety times for a decrease of $378 million dollars, while taxes were raised twenty-one times for an increase of $883 million dollars. Arkansas Health Care Association President Jim Cooper stated the private nursing home tax was necessary in order to avert future huge tax increases as a result of years of mismanagement.

On December 26, 2007 the conservative organization Judicial Watch announced that Mike Huckabee was named to its list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2007. They state that Huckabee, as governor, was the subject of "14 ethics complaints and a volley of questions about his integrity, ranging from his management of campaign cash to his use of a nonprofit organization to subsidize his income to his destruction of state computer files on his way out of the governor's office." Judicial Watch further accused Huckabee of attempting to block the state ethics commission's investigations of the allegations.

The Cato Institute, a libertarian non-profit public policy research foundation, gave Huckabee an "F" for spending and tax policy in 2006. Huckabee has asserted he did not raise spending significantly in areas he could control and in those areas spending rose six-tenths of one percent a year during his entire governance. He also signed the first broad-based tax cut in Arkansas's history. For 2006, he says that his state enjoyed a surplus of nearly $850 million. In January, 2008, Huckabee repeated this assertion, while also pointing out that at the beginning of his term Arkansas had a $200 million deficit. However, during his tenure, the state's general obligation debt increased by almost $1 billion.

Campaign for United States President, 2008 election

Huckabee announced his run for the White House on Meet the Press on January 28, 2007.

At the August 11 Iowa Straw Poll, Huckabee took second place with 2,587 votes, roughly 18 percent. Huckabee spent $57.98 per vote in the Straw Poll, which is the lowest among the top three finishers. Huckabee drew attention with an unconventional ad featuring Chuck Norris. In a later ad Huckabee wished voters a merry Christmas, and said that "what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Critics accused him of exploiting the issue of religion, which he denied. According to the Associated Press, on NBC's Meet The Press on December 31, 2007, Huckabee "stood by" a 1998 comment in which he said, "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ." Huckabee told NBC that his comment was "appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists. Huckabee has credited divine intervention with some of his political success.

On January 3, 2008, Huckabee won the Iowa Republican caucuses, receiving 34% of the electorate and 17 delegates, compared to the 25% of Mitt Romney who finished second, receiving 12 delegates, Fred Thompson who came in third place and received three delegates, John McCain who came in fourth place and received three delegates and Ron Paul who came in fifth place and received two delegates.

On January 8, 2008, Huckabee finished in third place in the New Hampshire primary, behind John McCain in first place, and Mitt Romney who finished second, with Huckabee receiving one more delegate for a total of 18 delegates, gained via elections, and 21 total delegates, versus 30 total (24 via elections) for Romney, and 10 for McCain (all via elections).

On January 15, 2008, Huckabee finished in third place in the Michigan Republican primary, 2008, behind John McCain in second place, Mitt Romney who finished first and ahead of Ron Paul who finished in fourth place.

On January 19, 2008, Huckabee finished in second place in the South Carolina Republican primary, 2008, behind John McCain who finished first and ahead of Fred Thompson who finished third.

On January 29, 2008, Huckabee finished in fourth place in the Florida primary, behind Rudy Guliani in third, Mitt Romney in second, and John McCain in first place.

On February 5, 2008, Huckabee won the first contest of "Super Tuesday", the West Virginia GOP state convention, winning 52% of the electorate to Mitt Romney's 47%. Backers of rival John McCain threw him their support to prevent Mitt Romney from capturing the winner-take-all GOP state convention vote. Huckabee also registered victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee on Super Tuesday, bringing his delegate count up to 156, compared to 689 for Republican party front-runner John McCain.

On February 9, 2008, Huckabee won the first election following Super Tuesday, by winning 60% of the vote in the Kansas Republican Caucuses. This was also the first contest to be held without Mitt Romney, who was said to be splitting the conservative vote with Huckabee and some pundits suggested it was the reason for Huckabee's landslide victory. Huckabee also won the Louisiana Republican Primary with 44% of the vote to John McCain's 43% in second. Although Huckabee won the primary he was not awarded any delegates, because of the state party rules that state a candidate must pass the 50% threshold to receive the state's pledged delegates.

On March 4, 2008, Huckabee withdrew from seeking the candidacy as it became apparent he would lose in Texas, where he had hoped to win and that John McCain would get the 1191 delegates required to win the Republican nomination.

Post-presidential campaign career

On June 12, 2008 Fox News announced the hiring of Mike Huckabee as a political commentator and regular contributor to their 2008 American presidential election coverage, in their New York election headquarters. Huckabee later added in a blog post at his website, that he was in the process of developing a show that will launch later in 2008 or in early 2009.

Huckabee is also in the process of completing his seventh book, titled Do The Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America which is set to be released on November 18, 2008, two weeks after the 2008 presidential election.

Even though Huckabee has signed a television contract and a book deal with a pressing deadline, he was mentioned by most to be on John McCain's short list for his Vice Presidential running mate. Huckabee was eventually passed over for Sarah Palin. Before his passing, the popular pundit Tim Russert even referred to Huckabee as "Vice President Huckabee" several times when he appeared on Meet The Press May 18, 2008.

Huckabee also gave a speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota on September 3rd. In the speech, he expressed support for presidential candidate John McCain, giving an account of McCain's experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Huckabee hosts a weekend show Huckabee on Fox News. The show premiered Saturday September 27, 2008, at 8 PM EST.

Marc Ambinder has identified him as the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Political positions

  • Immigration: Huckabee's immigration plan for the presidential campaign is to build a border fence, increase border patrol, prevent amnesty, enforce the law on employers, establish an economic border, empower local authorities, ensure document security, discourage dual citizenship, and modernize the process of legal immigration.. He says the United States' number one priority should be to secure America's borders, and supports building a 700-mile border fence. He said of the border, "Police it, absolutely. Militarize it, no. Huckabee supports increases in visas for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants. Huckabee does not support an end to birthright citizenship.
  • War: Huckabee supports the ongoing War in Iraq and the troop surge.
    • Huckabee has expressed concern that Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a distraction from the Global War on Terror. Previously, he stated, "[Guantanamo is] more symbolic than it is a substantive issue because people perceive of mistreatment when in fact there are extraordinary means being taken to make sure these detainees are being given really every consideration".
  • Social issues: Huckabee opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, and civil unions. In an interview with GQ, Huckabee said, "There's never been a civilization that has rewritten what marriage and family means and survived. In 1992, Huckabee indicated that he was against homosexuals serving in the military, and did not believe that women should be allowed in combat. When asked about the issues of homosexuals in the military during his presidential run, Huckabee said he would not change the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prohibits openly gay personnel from serving. "...you don't punish people for their attitudes," he said. "You punish them if their behavior creates a problem, and it's already covered by the Uniform Code of Military Conduct. In 1992, Huckabee said that "homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk." As of 2007, his view that homosexuality is "sinful" and "abnormal" had not changed.
    • Huckabee supports increasing President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) from $15 billion to $30 billion over five years. He also supports more funding to fight tuberculosis and malaria.
    • In a 1992 statement, Huckabee advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general population. In 2007, Huckabee no longer advocates such an isolation, but he stands by his earlier view, saying that in 1992 "there was still a great deal of, I think, uncertainty about just how widespread AIDS was, how it could be transmitted. So we know more now than we did in 1992, all of us do hopefully." However, by 1992 it was well known that HIV/AIDS could not be spread by casual contact. In the same statement, Huckabee also opposed increasing federal funding for HIV/AIDS research and suggested that Hollywood celebrities should provide additional funds instead. Huckabee now supports additional funding for HIV/AIDS research.
  • Gun control: Huckabee is against gun control.
  • Death penalty: Huckabee supports the death penalty.
  • Teaching of evolution: Huckabee has voiced his support of creationism. He was quoted in July 2004 on Arkansans Ask, his regular show on the Arkansas Educational Television Network: "I think that students also should be given exposure to the theories not only of evolution but to the basis of those who believe in creationism." Huckabee also stated "I do not necessarily buy into the traditional Darwinian theory, personally." In his endorsement of anti-evolution film Expelled, he describes evolution as "dogma. In the third GOP debate in June 2007, Huckabee was asked by Tom Fahey whether he believed in evolution, and he responded, in part: "I believe there is a God who was active in the creation process. Now, how did he do it, and when did he do it, and how long did he take? I don't honestly know, and I don't think knowing that would make me a better or a worse president ... if anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to do it I don't know how far they will march that back...
  • Taxes: Huckabee supports the FairTax as a replacement for the current tax system.
  • Space program: Huckabee supports NASA, and said in November 2007 that "Whether it's the medical technologies that saved many of our lives and the lives of our families, it's the direct result from the space program. We need to put more money into space and technology exploration.

Organizations

Huckabee was made the chair of the Southern Governors' Association in 1999 and served in capacity through 2000. He has chaired the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Southern Region Education Board, the Southern Technology Council, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, and the Education Commission of the States. He is also a member of the Republican Governors Association and former chairman of the National Governors Association.

Public image and personal life

Huckabee's personality has been described in positive terms as "gentle and warm", "charming", "friendly, teddy-bear", and "engaging, warm, relaxed, and persuasive". Huckabee's personality has been described in negative terms as "petty, thin-skinned, self-righteous, and "somewhat vindictive". Mixed descriptions include "best of leaders and the worst of thin-skinned pols and "charming and aloof".

In 2000, the Arkansas Governor's Mansion was being renovated and Huckabee moved into a mobile home. The move became the topic of jokes. "It's not a trailer. It's a triple wide," Huckabee said. Huckabee jokingly told Jay Leno that the , $110,000 trailer donated by the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association, "was big enough for your chin." Huckabee said the move saved the state substantial money because support and security staff did not have to move to a new rented location.

In 2000, Huckabee commented, "In almost four years as governor, no issue has excited Arkansans as much as the question of where the University of Arkansas should play its home football games. That debate attracted far more letters, e-mails and phone calls to the governor's office than any other issue we've faced. And those who contacted us felt strongly. I had made my feelings known to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, and those Arkansans who agreed with me were effusive in their praise. By the same token, some of those who disagreed were downright vicious in their comments.

Controversial public comments

Over the years, Huckabee has made a number of public statements that have drawn criticism, including comparing his weight loss to the experience of a concentration camp, for which the National Jewish Democratic Council chastised Huckabee; his joking about suicide while speaking of fundraising efforts by himself and his opponents in the Republican primaries, for which he was criticized by various suicide awareness groups; and his asking "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?" when discussing Mitt Romney's religion.

In all three cases, Huckabee and his campaign publicly apologized. Commenting on another incident comparing Arkansas journalists critical of his policies with disgraced reporters Jayson Blair and Janet Cooke, Huckabee said "You'll see it one of the things that gets me in trouble is my love of metaphors. I use hyperbole in the course of trying to paint a word picture. I pay a dear price for it. Huckabee stirred controversy again in October 2007, likening abortion to a "holocaust". The non-partisan Anti-Defamation League called on Huckabee and all candidates to resist using such "disturbing and offensive language.

In December 2007, Huckabee was criticized for his comments subsequent to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He said that Pakistan has more illegal immigrants to the United States than any country but Mexico. However, INS data indicates that Pakistan is nowhere near the top of the list. Moreover, some questioned why he made a connection between Bhutto's death and immigration. In January 2008, in an interview with the website Beliefnet, Huckabee said "I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Huckabee has been criticized by Talking Points Memo, which interpreted his comment as equating homosexuality and bestiality.

At a Michigan primary campaign appearance on January 14, 2008, Huckabee said "I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view. The statement was in apparent reference to the fact that the United States Constitution does not use the word "God" or make mention of any religion; rather "We the People" form the sole basis of sovereign authority in the American system of government. Huckabee's comment was generally poorly received; conservative television pundit Joe Scarborough commented that while he believes "evangelicals should be able to talk politics ... some might find that statement very troubling, that we're going to change the Constitution to be in line with the Bible. And that's all I'm going to say.

After rejection of the Bailout Bill on September 29, 2008, he appeared on Fox News and repeatedly blamed "Market to Market" rules (presumably meaning 'Mark to Market'). The phrase has a very literal and descriptive meaning (ascribe value (mark) at current (market) value).

Weight loss and health advocacy

When elected governor of Arkansas, Huckabee was obese. In 2003, physicians diagnosed him with adult-onset diabetes and informed him that he would not live more than 10 years if he did not lose weight. Huckabee admits that he has weighed as high as 280-300 pounds. Prompted by this diagnosis (as well as the subsequent death of former Governor Frank D. White, whose obesity led to a fatal heart attack), Huckabee began eating a healthier diet and exercising. He subsequently lost over 110 pounds. The New York Times called the weight loss so rapid that "it was as if he simply unzipped a fat suit and stepped out.

Although Huckabee has stated that he never smoked nor drank, he declared himself a "recovering foodaholic". Huckabee has publicly recounted his previous burdens as an obese man: the steps of the Arkansas capitol from the entrance of the building up to the Governor's office were so long and steep that he would be out of breath and exhausted by the time he reached the top of the stairs; He secretly feared that he would be interviewed by media at the top of the steps, and that he would be too out of breath to respond.

Huckabee has discussed his weight loss and used health care reform as a major focus of his governorship.

At an August 2007 forum on cancer hosted by Lance Armstrong, Huckabee said he would support a federal smoking ban, but has stated that he believes the issue is best addressed by state and local governments.

Huckabee has completed several marathons: the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon, the 2005 and 2006 Little Rock Marathon and the 2006 New York City Marathon. The 2005 Little Rock Marathon featured an impromptu challenge between Huckabee and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Huckabee completed the marathon in 4:38:31, defeating Vilsack by 50 minutes. He wrote a book chronicling his weight-loss experience, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork. Huckabee was one of 10 recipients of a 2006 AARP Impact Award acknowledging his work as a "health crusader."

Capitol Offense (rock band)

Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense, has played for political events and parties, including entertaining at unofficial inaugural balls in Washington, D.C. in January 2001 and later again 2005, both organized and promoted by the conservative website Free Republic as well as the 2004 GOP Convention.

Books

Huckabee has written or co-authored several books:

  • Character is the Issue: How People With Integrity Can Revolutionize America (1997), a memoir (inspired by the crisis surrounding the incidents prior to his taking office as governor)
  • Kids Who Kill (1998), a book about juvenile violence (inspired by the Jonesboro massacre, which took place during his tenure as governor)
  • Living Beyond Your Lifetime (2000), a guide for leaving a personal legacy
  • Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork (2005), a health and exercise inspirational guide (based on his personal health experience) Publisher: Center Street
  • From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 Stops to Restoring America's Greatness (2007) Publisher: Center Street
  • "De-Marketing Obesity" in the California Management Review, (with Brian Wansink), 47:4 (Summer 2005), 6-18.
  • Huckabee also wrote the foreword to My Story Your Story His Story (2006) by Larry Toller
  • Character Makes a Difference: Where I'm From, Where I've Been, and What I Believe, by Mike Huckabee (2007)

Electoral history

Arkansas United States Senate election, 1992 (Republican primary):

Arkansas United States Senate election, 1992:

Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (special election), 1993:

Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas, 1994:

Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1998 (Republican primary):

Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1998:

Arkansas gubernatorial election, 2002 (Republican primary):

Arkansas gubernatorial election, 2002:

Republican Party presidential primaries, 2008:

Results by Delegate Count

Results by Popular Vote

References

External links

Official sites

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