Huckabee on praying, blasphemy & private clubs

The big Huckabee story today was this.

I had a chance to ask Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee a few questions on other topics this afternoon.  We sat on two folding chairs in a barren room in his campaign headquarters in downtown Des Moines.  Outside that room were dozens of campaign volunteers, many children, making phone calls to Iowans on Huckabee’s behalf.

My first question was about something Huckabee said Sunday after emerging from church.  He told reporters he had prayed for "strength for the weak."  I asked for clarification, to determine whether he meant "weak" or "week."

"That was both," Huckabee said in reply.  "It was for all of the strength that I needed for this week because it is definitely a busy time.  I kind of live every day with some serious level of sleep deprivation and, you know, I get energized by going out there and talking to the people who are working so hard for us and I realize that the campaign is no longer about me.  It really is about people who feel such ownership.  That’s why I think a lot of folks don’t understand why we’re doing so well not just here but across the country.  Walk out there and talk to those folks.  You’ll get the picture."

If you’re following the campaign, you’ve no doubt heard about Huckabee’s foreign policy article in which he was critical of the Bush Administration.  I asked Huckabee if he had been "blasphemous" about Bush. (We had just been talking about praying, hence the transition to a word like "blasphemous.")

"No I don’t think I was," Huckabee replied.  "In fact, I don’t think I’ve said anything that other candidates haven’t said.  (I) maybe said it in more descriptive words, but I’ve been supportive of Bush as anybody — on the war, on the surge, on his tax cuts. You know I’m not a late-arrival to that.  I’ve had great respect for the president in keeping us safe.  I think I’ve expressed that but I think it’s also a responsibility for a candidate for president to talk about where you are different, where you would be different.  I’m not running for the third term of President Bush."

Huckabee in his speeches often talks about being one generation away from dirt floors and outdoor toilets, but on this New Year’s Eve he’ll be attending a party at the Wakonda Club, a private golf club near the Des Moines airport that features a clubhouse.  It’s a site often used by Republican politicians (like Dick Cheney) who’re popping into Des Moines for a fundraiser or campaign speech.

"What is that?" Huckabee replied when I mentioned the "dirt floors and outdoor toilets" stuff in relation to the Wakonda Club. Huckabee then turned to his chief Iowa aide, Eric Woolson, and said: "Where is that?"

"It’s on the way to the airport," Woolson offered then Huckabee was told about the club’s proximity to the airport and its history with Republican politicians.. 

"I had no idea. I guess I wanted to see how it is over there.  I’ve never been," Huckabee said, laughing. "You know, I’d never been to the Hope, Arkansas, Country Club until my 10 year class reunion.  That’s the truth.  The first time I ever set foot in the place was when I came back after being gone out of high school 10 years and we had our reception there and it was kind of like, ‘Well, I always wondered what this place looked like.’ I was kind of surprised.  I thought it was going to be something just amazingly exclusive and, you know, it was just a place."

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. Indulge me. Iowa is hosting the first Democratic caucus, right? What do I know about the process? A little. But here’s one thing that the American public buys into every election, and why we get the results we do, every election. Hear me out.
    If you were going to open a company that would have 10,000 employees and manufacture a product, who would you hire to run your health insurance plan? Who would do the accounting? Who would run your purchasing division? All legitimate questions right? Presumably, they would be people degreed and educated in those areas.
    Next, if you were running for President of the United States and amongst all the programs you ran on your platform, your health care plan would be one of the most important. Who would you have advising you on what the best health care plan was for the entire country? Would it include certain doctors and nurses, hospital officials, public health degreed individuals, insurance experts? A very large panel of these folks would be necessary to do an excellent job. Let’s assume that each candidate has done this (large assumption since I only know of one major advisor to one of the front runners, and this individual has NO health care experience).
    My last thought provoking question is for you personally as a media person; do you know the health care advisors and their experience for ANY of the candidates for the Presidency of the United States? If this is such a crucial issue, when these candidates gave the skeletonized versions of their health care plans, and since none of the candidates is an M.D., nurse or has any other health care background that I know of, WHO designed their plans? Don’t you think that as a media person it would be the question to ask?
    Ask the same questions about the Iraq withdrawal plan, Social Security plans, Tax plans, etc. Who are their advisors and how qualified are they? Why doesn’t the media expose this and compare between the candidates?
    The bottom line is: Besides the rhetoric in speeches, HOW WELL DO YOU AS THE MEDIA KNOW THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES? Not much I contend…….good luck with the seemingly usual arbitrary methods of choosing our leader for the next 4 years.
    Scott Noren, DDS
    Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
    Ithaca, New York

  2. Bill Adams says

    I’m from Arkansas and lived under a Mike Huckabee administration here when he was governor. Having such experience with Huckabee I will tell you in Iowa that under no circumstances would Mike Huckabee ever get my vote. To learn more about the REAL Mike Huckabee, go to

  3. Once the illegals are given amnesty our country will be lost forever. Mitt ‘gets it’ and has a chance to win in November. Huck, Mccain, Rudy can’t be trusted and Fred can’t win.
    Who could possibly trust Huck who has been cited 14 times for ethics violations by Arkansas’s ethics committee?

  4. charles purvis says

    Watch this video, then tell me what you think.
    He’s not running any negative ads. He just shows you who he is, and what he stands for. He says what he means and means what he says.