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MSNBC "Decision 08" - Transcript

Interview

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MS. HALL: Well, moving on, he won Louisiana and Kansas, and argues he may very well have won in Washington state as well. But if he can't win enough delegates to get the nomination, why is Mike Huckabee sticking around? That's the big question a lot of people are asking, let's face it, where the latest count shows Huckabee trailing McCain among pledged delegates 724 to 234. To win the nomination, they need 1,191 delegates. But there are still about 800 more delegates out there to grab.

Mike Huckabee joins us now to perhaps answer that question, the former governor and Republican candidate Mike Huckabee on the phone with us. So, Governor, I've got to ask you, a lot of people, you see the numbers, why are you sticking in this race if it is not mathematically possible?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, Tamron, it is mathematically possible. We have almost a thousand votes that have yet to be cast. So it may be difficult, but it's not impossible.

And the other thing is we're presuming that John McCain stays in the race, that nothing happens, that everything just cruises on, and we know that things can happen. Candidates can say things, do things.

Another thing that I think people need to remember, if we just say this race is over when he's still over 400 votes shy of the delegate count needed, then what are we going to say to the people of North Carolina and Texas and Ohio and Pennsylvania, Nebraska? Are we just going to tell them don't bother to vote because we don't care what you think and your votes don't matter? I mean, I think it's a great disservice to the people of our party and to the people of America to have a coronation instead of an election. And if our party officials wanted to do that, they should never have set the rules that you had to have 1,191. They should have said when we've decided that we're tired of playing the game, we'll just call it.

MS. HALL: Well, how do you feel when you hear people within your own party, though, who are saying that you are standing in the way, that the party faces a formidable candidate in Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, whoever wins that, and that you need to shore up things now.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, the people who are saying that are supporters of John McCain, so I don't take that very seriously any more than if I'm playing football I look up and find that the cheerleaders and the supporters for the other team are booing me. Of course they are. But when my team, my supporters, my cheerleaders start booing me, then I worry about it. Everybody on my team is urging me on, and we got more traffic and contributions -- MikeHuckabee.com -- than we've had hit -- I mean, in the entire history of our campaign. Our folks are fired up. They're angry about what happened in Washington, and they just feel like that that was one of the most unbelievable miscarriages of an election they've ever seen, and it's the kind of thing that should never happen in the United States.

MS. HALL: Now, are your lawyers on the ground now in Washington state because of --

MR. HUCKABEE: Yes.

MS. HALL: -- the fact that they declared a winner with only 87 percent of the vote in?

MR. HUCKABEE: Yes, they are. And we -- we want a full accounting. We want to know -- well, first of all, we want the chairman to retract his congratulations to Senator McCain since we don't know who the winner is until they've counted the votes. And when you start disenfranchising voters and saying we're not even going to count your votes, that's just simply unacceptable in American elections.

MS. HALL: Let me ask you this. I know that the Washington state issue is a big one here, but a lot of people are wondering of the situation, the direct head-up between you and John McCain -- if, in fact, you will take not necessarily bitter attacks at him, but distinguish how you are a different candidate from Mr. McCain in the way that you did with Mitt Romney, a harsher approach if you will, in showing that you really want this.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, it doesn't have to be a harsh approach. I think it's interesting that the two most civil campaigns are the ones that are still around. John McCain and I have mutual respect and admiration for one another. We genuinely like each other. We have differences of opinion. We differ on human life amendment and marriage amendment, human embryonic stem cell research. We differ on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act, which I think was horrible; and the immigration bill, which I thought was terrible. That doesn't mean he's not a conservative or a decent guy, it just means we have different views. And the people ought to make the decision as to which one of us will go forward, not the party bosses.

MS. HALL: All right. Thank you very much, Governor, for talking with us today. And we'll see how these numbers do shake out and if, in fact, the mathematicians are wrong here. Thank you.

MR. HUCKABEE: Thank you, Tamron.


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