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FOX News Channel Interview - Transcript

Interview

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FOX News Channel Interview

MR. HEMMER: Governor Huckabee's schedule has him making stops in West Virginia, his home state of Arkansas later today, and right now he's with us. Here now, Republican presidential candidate, the former governor, Mike Huckabee.

Sir, good morning to you. Welcome from West Virginia. Where will you win today?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well we think we'll win in West Virginia. We also believe we're going to do well in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma. Those are the states where we're focused on, but we may surprise some people even in Montana and Alaska.

So, we've been campaigning everywhere we can, getting as much support. And we have dedicated voters. Let me tell you, Bill, our people know why they're voting for me. These aren't casual sort of gotta vote for somebody, might as well be Huckabee. Our folks aren't squishy. They know why they're voting for me.

MR. HEMMER: Why are they voting for you, Governor?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well because they know that I'm consistent and I have some record on actually doing some things as it relates to not only the pro-life issue and pro-marriage issue, but they see me as a person who has the most aggressive way to change the tax code, by getting rid of the IRS and implementing the Fair Tax. I think they also know that there's nobody who's stronger on the Second Amendment and that I am committed to a strong military and securing the borders by ending illegal immigration with a strong border fence. Those are issues Republicans care about, conservatives care about, and they know that what I bring to the table is leadership and also a sense of we're going to get it done. We're not just going to talk about it.

MR. HEMMER: You know, Governor, when you appeal to religious conservatives, the evangelical vote as you just mentioned there, if you're not in the race do they have a voice?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I think that they'll always exercise their voice but my base is so much larger than just evangelicals. It really is a lot about people who are Fair Tax folks, home school. But interestingly, I also have support of people in teachers unions, because they know on issues like health care and education, nobody has thought through these issues, has more of a record on leading on them. And so there's a host of things that I believe have a great opportunity to give us some unexpected push today.

MR. HEMMER: As you talk about the push today, Mitt Romney was talking yesterday about a vote for Mike Huckabee as a vote essentially for John McCain. He says you're basically boxing him out in the states that you compete. I want to get your reaction to that, then we're going to look at the facts about what we're finding from (this/his ?) polling, Governor.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, the facts are that's an arrogant and presumptuous statement to say that if somebody doesn't vote for me they're going to vote for him. Look, people vote for me because they know where I stand on the pro-life issue. He's been all over the board.

They know that I'm pro-Second Amendment. He's changed his positions. They know that I'm for a traditional approach to marriage. He's changed his positions.

I think it's really wrong to say that if people don't vote for me they vote for him. And one other thing about that, Bill. It just sort of begs the question. Mitt has been saying for a long time, he's tried to call me a liberal. Now he's saying I'm such a conservative that if people vote for me they'd automatically vote for him. Once again, Mitt's trying to have it both ways.

But I would like to ask this question. Wouldn't it be just as true to say, if his premise is true, that voting for Mitt messes me up? So, what's the difference? I guess I don't understand why he's entitled to those votes.

MR. HEMMER: When you call his strategy -- and when you call his statement arrogant, the polling suggests that you pretty much split voters. So why is it arrogant when it comes from him? Is it not a fact that you're sharing a part of the pot here?

MR. HUCKABEE: Not necessarily. Again, I think my voters know why they're voting for me. He has a lot more of the establishment votes. You know, I have the Wal-Mart Republicans. He may have more of the Wall Street Republicans. But the people that put up the signs and make the calls on the phone banks and get out and knock on doors are the kind of folks who are with me.

MR. HEMMER: You know, Governor, when you mentioned that list of states a few minutes ago, I did not hear a lot of states where it's winner take all. So, I'm assuming your strategy is to try and grab delegates in whichever Congressional district you can. At the end of the night tonight, how many delegates do you need to stay in this race tomorrow?

MR. HUCKABEE: What I need to make sure is that nobody gets to 1,091 because the fact is until someone gets to that number there's not a nominee yet. And it's not about winning states, and I know some in the national media have talked about this guy won this state or won this state. The truth is you don't add up the number of states you win, you add up the number of delegates. And when you have 1,091, you're the nominee. And until that happens, you're not the nominee. That's why --

MR. HEMMER: Governor when you mentioned those states, we know you're running strong in the South, but does that set you up as a regional candidate as opposed to a national one?

MR. HUCKABEE: No, because I've won Iowa. I also mentioned Alaska and Montana. We think we'll pick up delegates in all these states.

But here's something that is inescapable, that the South is an important part of winning in November. And so if we're serious about wanting to beat either Obama or Hillary, we'd better have somebody who can get those southern votes. I'm the only Republican who's able to bring votes from unions, from really across the aisle from Democrats. In my own state I got 48 percent of the African-American vote. We're going to need a Republican like that if we're going to have any hope of winning.

MR. HEMMER: I'm out of time. Governor, thank you for your time. Charleston, West Virginia, Governor Mike Huckabee, good luck today, sir and thank you.

MR. HUCKABEE: Thank you, Bill.


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