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Public Statements

MSNBC "Morning Joe" Interview - Transcript

Interview

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MSNBC "Morning Joe" Interview

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Let's go to a guy now who usually, whenever he gets behind the political 8-ball, starts tearing up --

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, but you know what?

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Eatin' squirrel, shootin' straight.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: (Laughs.) You know what?

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Mike Huckabee.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: He was just called a name.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: He was!

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Governor Huckabee, thanks for joining us.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Governor!

MS. BRZEZINSKI: We tried to defend your name, you know.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: We did. Karen Hanrady (ph) came on here, and she of course worked with Fred Thompson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Mmm, she was angry.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: She called you a liberal, and I reminded here, because it's what I do --

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Can you believe that?

MR. SCARBOROUGH: -- pro-gun, pro-life, and considered a pretty conservative governor. Why is it that there are some Republicans out there who are calling you a, quote, "liberal"?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, because it's a dirty word in Republican politics. And when you don't have anything else to call a guy, like effective and proven leader and all those other things, you just throw that word out there because what are they going to say? You just hit some of the themes. I cut taxes. I'm pro-life. I actually got pro- life legislation passed, a marriage amendment passed. We streamlined government. We did all the things that conservatives do. And when you can't talk about those things, you just throw the L-word.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Governor --

MR. HUCKABEE: By the way, guys, I'm a little unhappy. That moment with Mika and me should be the number one moment.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: You're darn right.

MR. HUCKABEE: No, that should be the first most important defining moment in this campaign. It certainly was for Mika.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: (Laughs.)

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Well, I can tell you it is the only time in NBC News this election cycle that anybody's soul has been saved on the air.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Governor, thank you.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Yes, exactly.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Thank you.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: So, Governor, can you explain to us why it is that some Republicans --

(To Ms. Brzezinski.) There it is, be healed, sinner!

Explain to us why some Republicans don't like you. Is it because -- is it Wall Street Republicans? Are people -- maybe people that are disconnected from, let's say, middle America.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: What is this about?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I think some of it is that, you know, I'm not an establishment Republican that is sort of in the inside. I'm not a country club guy. As I tell people, I'm not the Wall Street Republican, I'm the Wal-Mart Republican. And I represent all those people that for many years have nailed up the signs and manned the phone banks and knocked on doors, and have expected to stand in line for hours to sit there for a political rally and yell and scream on cue. And now some of us have actually worked our way up through the movement and through the ranks. We got elected, we served, we did our jobs, and now one of us wants to run for president. It's like, you know, you boys are fine as long as you're sitting back there in the back of the bus, but don't get uppity on us and want to come up here and drive. And it's just one of those things we're having to deal with.

But you know, I can tell you something. If the folks like me are told that we're no longer welcome in the party and that our pro-life and pro-family views really aren't that important, even though we are strong on national defense and strong on cutting taxes, we take seriously some of the issues that we think define the nation's conscience -- if we're no longer going to be welcome, it will have a long-lasting, defining impact on this party, and it will be more than Mika that will need to be saved.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Amen, brother. So you think that maybe we're returning to a Republican Party of Rockefeller Republicans that are more worried about what happens on the East Coast than what happens in states like Arkansas and Louisiana and Missouri, states that end up being swing states every four years in general elections?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I hope not, but for me one of the telling moments was that debate that you guys hosted in Dearborn, Michigan, when all of us as Republicans were asked about the economy and all the candidates went up and talked about how great it was until they got to me. You may remember I got a lot of scorn and derision for saying that the economy is not doing that well if you talk to the people out there in the rank-and-files who are serving the food and handling the bags and driving the cabs and doing the heavy lifting. And people said, oh, that was class warfare. It had nothing to do with class warfare. But the fact is, a recession doesn't start at the top; it starts at the bottom and works its way up. And people who are using hammers to put the nails in the wood, they're the ones who feel it first. And if those folks had been talking to the people that I was talking to, they'd have known that the economy was on its way to being in trouble.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Well, Governor, we got to go, but just a quick question for you. How do you feel going into tonight? And do you think you'll be able to stay on the radar beyond Super Tuesday?

MR. HUCKABEE: I feel just like the New York Giants, and having a great day.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: (Laughs.)

MR. HUCKABEE: And by the way, you guys need to be paid overtime because I talked to you at about 6:30 this morning, you're still there. So either one of two things: you're getting paid extra or they can't find enough hired help to come in and give you guys some relief.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: I think it's the second.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: I think it's the second.

And Governor, after you win in Missouri and some of these other states, call in tonight. I'll talk to you then, too.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Ah, he'll still be on the air.

Governor, thank you.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I just want you to know, Joe, what an honor it must be for you sitting there with a healed and cleansed woman like Mika. You enjoy and take good care of her.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: You know, every morning, Governor, she hums "Amazing Grace," how sweet the sound --

MR. HUCKABEE: I'm sure she does.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Only when you're on the air with us, Governor.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: All right. (Laughs.) Thank you, Governor. Good luck.

MR. HUCKABEE: Take care.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Take care. All the best to you.


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