Huckabee at ITR/ICA event

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee began by telling the crowd they’d be better off having any of the Republican candidates as president than having any of the Democrats win the White House in ’08.  Th crowd applauded.

Huckabee began with a couple of jokes to warm up the crowd.  The jokes were about running for governor in Arkansas. 

"This is a great forum and we’ve been given actually a litle bit of time…If you’ve seen any of the debates…the format is more like a game show."  Huckabee lamented that there were no questions in the NH debate about taxes, or any questions about education at any of the three debates.

He ridiculed the questions at previous debates, epecially the one about "whether or not we believe the world was created in six days."

Huckabee said the next president must provide "strong, capable leadership" on issues that touch Americans every day, not only international issues but domestic ones.

"I want to be the President of the United States who nails the ‘going out of business’ sign on the IRS," Huckabee said to applause. "…I want April 15th to be just another beautiful spring day in America." 

Huckabee wove a little bit of his childhood into his speech, talking about the Lava soap his dad used.  (My dad used Lava soap, too.)

Then Huckabee said something about "Goober Pyle" and that spawned a brief discussion at our press table.  I am not as familiar with The Andy Griffith Show as others.  I thought there was only a Gomer Pyle on the show.  Apparently, Goober had the auto shop in Mayberry.

Huckabee closed his discussion of the Fair Tax by joking that he’d take his band "Capital Offense" on the road with Willie Nelson as the opening act to talk about getting rid of the IRS, something Huckabee joked Willie would love to talk about.  The crowd applauded.

"The strength of our country comes from the strength of our families," Huckabee said to begin the next section of his speech.  He expressed his opposition to gay marriage and his belief in "one man/one woman in a lifetime relationship."

Next up, the santity of life.  We need to "celebrate and elevate human life" Huckabee told the crowd, then he made the pledge to oppose research which would invoolve the destruction of human embryos.  The crowd clapped.

Huckabee briefly touched on education reform, suggesting that he’d love to be the GOP nominee going toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton in November 2008, comparing their records on education reform in Arkansas.  "It would be a sweet comparison, let me tell you," Huckabee said.  The crowd clapped.

Huckabee talked about the need to work on the health system in this country.  It’s upside down, he said and offered this joke as illustration:  "Our health system is a lot like an NFL football game with 22 people on the field who desperately need rest and 70,000 people in the stands who desperately need exercise."

Huckabee said while there is need for reform, he does not want the feds running the health care system.  "Thanks, but no thanks, Hillary, we have some better ideas," Huckabee said.

Huckabee lauded the failure of the immigration reform bill in the US Senate.  "I’m glad the American people said no and I’m glad the senate finally got the message."  (He made a reference to talk radio which I’ll try to catch when I listen back to the tape.)

Huckabee fielded a few specific questions on tax and social issues.  Then, he was given three more minutes to speak.

Huckabee joked with the crowd that being given more time behind the mic was not something that normally happened to him. He joked about having the ushers come forward to take the offering, a reference to his time in the pulpit which went over well with the audience.  Huckabee talked about being a "cheerful giver" — in the religious context, and then added that "in politics you’ll take from a grouch."

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About O.Kay Henderson

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