MR. KILMEADE: He took Iowa by storm and was very strong in New Hampshire -- went from sixth to third -- and setting his sights now on South Carolina -- are all the other candidates, and not giving up on Michigan.
Joining us right now from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
MR. HUCKABEE: Thank you very much, Brian. Great to be back on the show.
MR. KILMEADE: Governor, we had Fred Thompson on yesterday morning on "Fox and Friends," and he was kind of laid back. He wouldn't play his hand, but quickly it became clear that Fred Thompson wanted to go after you. You're near the top spot in South Carolina in most polls. What do you think about his attack on you?
MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I think the writers guild strike needs to end soon. He's got to get some better lines than the attacks he used last night because they were so off the mark. And I all but felt sorry for him -- eight years in the Senate and he had nothing to say for his Senate career other than he attended some meetings, cast a few votes, made a few trips. So he used his time to try to attack me, and that's certainly part of politics, but his charges were totally off the mark. And I hope he gets some good writers to give him some help on understanding that there's no one in this race who has not only talked conservatively but actually governed that way, and that's he difference.
Some folks have listened to talk, they've made some talks; I've governed, and I've cut taxes. We've reduced the size of government, we brought jobs in at a record rate, brought unemployment down. That's what people are looking for in a president. It's somebody who actually can make things happen and get things done.
MS. CARLSON: Governor, he basically called you the dirty "L" word, at least if you're a conservative. He called you a "liberal."
MR. HUCKABEE: (Laughs.) Yeah -- which has to be the funniest thing. If you go back and read the newspaper clips, during my 10 and a half years as governor, my three years as lieutenant governor -- which means more executive experience than anybody in my -- anybody in the presidential race, Democrat or Republican, the last thing I was ever called in Arkansas was a liberal. In fact, they called me right- wing, extreme -- I mean, I was called everything but a liberal. And if I'm such a liberal, why did the liberals hate me so much back there?
Again, it's ludicrous, and in order to make an attack, there has to be some element of truth to it. That's a real stretch, to try to pin that label on me.
MR. DOOCY: Governor, just admit it: You're just angry that John Kerry didn't endorse you yesterday.
MR. HUCKABEE: (Laughs.) Thank goodness he didn't. You know, I really felt sorry for Barack Obama, standing up there and with a straight face saying, "I really welcome this." You know, quite frankly I can't think of anything that would be more harmful, and I'm glad that he's endorsing somebody else.
See, that proves right there I wasn't a liberal. John Kerry did not give me the big mo yesterday.
MR. DOOCY: (Laughs.) Right.
MR. KILMEADE: South Carolina -- according to the Fox poll and the Rasmussen poll, taken after New Hampshire, Governor, you're trailing John McCain and -- within striking distance of John McCain. You have never said anything bad about John McCain.
MR. DOOCY: Right. But in the Real Clear Politics poll, which the average of all of them, you are leading by five.
MR. KILMEADE: Are you going to have to go after John McCain, kind of the way that Fred Thompson went after you, the way John McCain went after Mitt Romney?
MR. HUCKABEE: No. I don't think it's necessary.
What I want to do is convince the voters of South Carolina that I represent what they represent -- strong national defense, strong push for veterans, and my veterans bill of rights is going to resonate here. But I'm pro-life. I'm pro-family. And I haven't just talked about it; I've done it. I don't need to attack McCain. I like the man. I think he's a good guy.
MR. KILMEADE: But how are you different? But don't you have to contrast John McCain? Why --
MR. HUCKABEE: I'm different in that I've had the executive experience. Well, I'm different in that I've had the executive experience of making the decisions, showing leadership. I think I represent a new generation of American politics. And I think people are realizing that the next president needs to be somebody who has all of those right skills.
Look, John McCain and I get along quite well. I think we still will after South Carolina. It's not my intention to tell voters what's wrong with him but to tell them what's right with America and how, with me as president, we can make it better.
MS. CARLSON: Governor, you sort of buck the odds from what everyone said. I remember interviewing people six, eight months ago -- they said that hey, the candidate's going to have to be beaucoup bucks. You have basically run your campaign on the shoestring. At some point do you have to raise a whole heck of a lot of money?
MR. HUCKABEE: Well, and we're raising a lot more money. You know, we've got more cash in the bank than a lot of the other big campaigns because the difference is we've operated with an extraordinary level of fiscal discipline, just like I'd like to run the country. A lot of these campaigns, they've blown through a whole lot of money. They've had to write personal checks to make it happen.
Because of our low overhead, we're actually able to be a pretty nimble campaign. We're on the air in Michigan; we're on the air in South Carolina. We're going to be competitive not only in Florida but in all the states on Super Duper Tuesday.
So you know, if I had as many consultants, as much money, if I had all the focus groups and the staff and the headquarters that some of these other guys have, I'd be as far behind as they are.
MR. DOOCY: Governor, what do you make of the fact that Mitt Romney has pulled all his ads off the air in Florida and has all eyes on Michigan?
MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I think he knows that if he doesn't win Michigan it's effectively over. It's his home state. I think it's also -- it's certainly not going over very well in South Carolina. He's conceded defeat here by pulling out -- which is good for the rest of us, and we aren't crying about it. You know, I didn't have to stay up last night wiping tears off the floor. But I think he understands Michigan --
MS. CARLSON: You're not going to start crying now, are you, Governor? Are you going to start crying?
MR. HUCKABEE: What's that, now?
MS. CARLSON: Are you going to start crying now?
MR. HUCKABEE: If it would win South Carolina, I'd break down right now and do it, but I don't think I have to. (Laughter.)
MR. DOOCY: All right.
MR. KILMEADE: Chuck Norris would leave you then. He doesn't like a man to cry in front of him. And Ed Rollins would get angry as well.
MR. HUCKABEE: (Laughs.) Hey, if I won the election, he'd cry right along with me.
MR. KILMEADE: Absolutely.
MR. DOOCY: All right. Governor Huckabee, we thank you very much for joining us live from Myrtle Beach, Florida -- South Carolina, rather.
MR. HUCKABEE: Always great to be with you guys. Thanks.