Fox News "Fox and Friends" - Transcript
MR. KILMEADE: He finished third in Michigan but he's predicting victory in South Carolina, Gretchen.
MS. CARLSON: And former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee joins us now live from Columbia, South Carolina.
Good morning to you, Governor. I guess you made the trip late last night.
MR. HUCKABEE: Well, we came in yesterday afternoon. We had a big event in Columbia last night. We're ready to go for the next few days. We're planning on winning South Carolina Saturday, and great support here. We're pretty pumped.
MR. DOOCY: Governor, let me ask you about this: In Michigan they say that one of the main things on the minds of those who voted for Mitt Romney was the economy. And you look at the stock market -- it tanked yesterday. There's some suggestion we could be either entering or are in a recession. Mitt Romney's got a lot of business credentials. For the people looking in, what could you do to help turn around the economy?
MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I was governor during a recession. I understand something about running a government when that comes. And if you look at the record, I was able to lead our state through a period of -- taking us from $200 million deficit to a $850 million surplus. We created the largest number of jobs in the history of our state, had the lowest unemployment record and increased per capita income 50 percent. You know, that's what people are looking for -- can you steer the canoe through low water? And having the experience at it and understanding what it takes to create an atmosphere in which jobs can be created -- that's going to be very critical for the next president. I think I'm the one guy with more executive experience in actually doing that than anybody running for the job, Democrat or Republican.
MR. KILMEADE: You said -- you basically guaranteed a victory there, and Real Clear Politics, who takes the average of all the polls, has you up about 3 percent. We know how quickly that can dissipate, but you have to get ready, Governor. Fred Thompson's coming after you, just like he came after you in the debate. He wants to paint you as a liberal. Has he been successful?
MR. HUCKABEE: (Laughs.) Well, of course not. That's so ludicrous. I mean, of all the things, all those years in Arkansas I was called this right-wing extremist by the people there who were running the Democrat Party, and now Fred wants to paint me a liberal.
As I've said, the writers strike needs to end soon -- he's got to come up with some good lines, and that's not one of them that's going to be credible. A person would have to have a suspension of belief if they look at my record and say this is a guy who cut taxes, streamlined government, he's very pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, been leading on marriage amendment -- something Fred's not even for, which is a part of the Republican platform since 1980. He wants to say things like closing Guantanamo makes me a liberal -- President Bush wants to close Guantanamo. So does the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, and so does the Defense secretary. If that's a liberal position, I guess George Bush is a liberal now. I mean, it's a ridiculous thing to be thrown with that kind of label.
The people of South Carolina are pretty smart folks, and I'm convinced they're going to sort through the record. They're going to see that what they have with me is a guy that's gotten the job done, and that's what they're looking for in a president -- somebody who has convictions, clarity in those convictions and a record to go with it.
MS. CARLSON: Your campaign chair, Ed Rollins, is also getting into the mix. He said yesterday that it was his sense that Senator Thompson was continuing to campaign in South Carolina to pull votes of social conservatives from you to help McCain win there, and then after that happens that he would in fact endorse McCain. What do you have to say about that?
MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I'm not sure of Fred's overall strategy. I think he's in it to try to win, but frankly if he doesn't win South Carolina, I don't see how he goes on. I mean, he said he was going to really do it in Iowa and he came in a very, very distant third, barely edging out John McCain by a handful of votes. He got completely tanked in New Hampshire and in Michigan. You know, he's said now it's all about South Carolina, so I think he's got probably more on the line than any of the rest of us going into this contest.
But what we see is that there's growing support and enthusiasm. We've got to get our voters out there. We take nothing for granted. And I think when people look at where I'm coming from, not only on the economic issues but on national defense and on the issues that really matter to social conservatives, consistency on pro-life and pro- marriage -- traditional marriage, Second Amendment issues -- it's the whole package for the people in South Carolina. They're very conservative, and that's why we feel like we're going to win here.
MR. DOOCY: Yeah. As I -- really what it comes down to something you've got to be worried about is the number of delegates, and as I look at it right now, you're currently in second place. Mitt Romney's got 42 and you've got 21, ahead of John McCain. But I'm kind of curious: As you look ahead to the next couple of weeks, do you think, Governor, after the Super Duper Tuesday, are we going to know who the front-runner is?
MR. HUCKABEE: Boy, I hope so, as long as it's me. (Laughter.) You know, if we don't know, then this thing could go on a while. It's so volatile. And I think in some ways people are trying to say that no one likes any of the candidates. I think it's quite opposite. I think that all of us have strong support from various factions within the party. It may in fact show a pretty vibrant party where there are a lot of options.
MR. KILMEADE: Hey, Governor, I've just got something to ask you, and I hope I don't catch you off guard. But it's no secret that Ed Rollins was a frequent guest on our show and then you hired him. Now Jim Pinkerton has been hired by you, and he is a paid contributor. How soon until you make me an offer?
MS. CARLSON: (Laughs.)
MR. HUCKABEE: Brian, we actually faxed it over to you yesterday and we were expecting to hear it back, you know, today that you were going to be joining the campaign bus. So, you know, we're ready.
MR. DOOCY: In what capacity?
MS. CARLSON: Actually, you know what, Governor? You should take a look at Steve and myself first because we actually took a bite of the Hucka-burger.
MR. KILMEADE: (Laughs.) That's true.
MR. DOOCY: Yeah, we ate the Hucka-burger.
MS. CARLSON: And Brian didn't.
MR. HUCKABEE: All right. And you know what? It was good, wasn't it?
MR. DOOCY: It was buffalo!
MS. CARLSON: It was pretty darn good. It was on an English muffin.
MR. HUCKABEE: Brian is a wuss.
MS. CARLSON: (Laughs.)
MR. HUCKABEE: Brian is a wuss. He ought to take a bite of it. It was good.
MR. KILMEADE: I haven't been called a wuss in a long time, and never before on camera.
MR. DOOCY: You know what?
MR. KILMEADE: So I've been called a jerk by John McCain and a wuss by Governor Huckabee.
MS. CARLSON: Yeah. This is heating up. (Laughs.)
MR. KILMEADE: There's going to be some awkward moments at the White House party amongst somebody next year I guess -- or in two years.
MR. DOOCY: All right. Governor Huckabee, we thank you very much for joining us today from Columbia, South Carolina. Thank you, sir. Good luck.
MR. HUCKABEE: Thank you very much.