Huckabee defends Imus

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a GOP presidential candidate, was at Iowa Public Television this morning to tape the edition of "Iowa Press" which airs tonight on the network.  More about the show and what he said later.  Afterwards, I asked Huckabee about the firing of Don Imus.  (Radio Iowa story, with audio.)

The transcript of his comments, after the jump.

Henderson:  "You had said, about the Imus show, that you would go back on."

Huckabee: "Yep."

Henderson:  "Do you agree with his firing?"

Huckabee:  "Well, that was a decision the networks had to make.  I think if Imus is going to get fired, then there’s a lot of other people that need to go out the door.  Rosie’s probably got to go.  Bill Maher has to go.  Gosh, half of talk radio and television has to go. 

"What he said was inexcusable.  It was wrong.  It was over the top and what made it so bad — worse than the normal kind of thing — was that it was directed at amateur athletes and college students and specific college students.  It wasn’t just a generic statement and those are classy kids and they’ve shown an extraordinary level of class through this whole thing, more so than anybody else I’ve seen on either side of it.  So he absolutely had to apologize.  I think, you know, having some serious penalty and perhaps the toughest penalty was having to sit down for three hours and face those young ladies and look them in the eye and to tell them he was sorry.

"But whether or not in this country we’re going to start telling peole what they can and can’t say, there’s a side of me that gets a little concerned.  Where does that stop?  Does it stop you from writing what you want to write in a column? And part of this, I guess, peril of free speech is that you’re going to offend some people from time to time.  Then, it’s a matter of accepting the responsibility of having made the offense, doing your best to make it right, and then if the people say, well, ‘It’s so offensive, I’m not going to listen anymore’ his ratings go the toilet and the best way to get rid of him is for people just to say I’m not going to listen to him anymore, not to make this decision just because Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton said so and perhaps what’s most offensive is of all the people to lead the charge, here are two people that have a long history of making outrageous statements and getting away with it and I don’t understand that."

A reporter from the NBC affiliate in Little Rock then asked Huckabee another question, and I moved on to get back to the office and write.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Cindy Bremer says

    Mr. Huckabee tells it like it is and doesn’t take polls before he speaks. He is a leader, not a follower and will make an excellent Presdient in 2008. He is a man that God can use and a man that this country needs.
    Keep up the good work and Gods richest blessings to you.