Huckabee: cutting foreign aid to Africa “would be a disaster” (audio)

This is the third in a series of posts about a conversation I had this morning with Mike Huckabee (here’s post one and post two).  Huckabee called into the Radio Iowa newsroom to send a message to Iowa Caucus-goers. He’s involved in the One campaign (You saw the F-word video, right? The F word is famine)  and Huckabee argues U.S. aid to the African continent pays dividends now and will in the future.

Cutting foreign aid “would be a disaster not just for the African children, it’s really a disaster for America,” according to Huckabee.

“If America wants to be known only as a country that puts bombs in neighborhoods, then that’s one thing,” Huckabee said. “But I think America also wants to be known as a country that puts food in the mouths of children in extreme poverty.”

AUDIO of that portion of the interview.

Here’s a transcript of part of his answer:

“One of the things that conservatives need to do is be on the front end, not the back end, of showing leadership when it comes to what true conservatism is really about. I can’t think of anything more worth keeping than the lives of human beings and so what the One campaign is all about is just simply saying this is consistent with conservative values and principles, not only for the obvious benefit to the recipients but for the strategic benefit to the United States so that as children grow up their image, their vision, their understanding of who Americans are is that Americans are the ones who saved our lives and Americans are the ones that our friends.

“That’s important because Africa is going to be the largest continent in population within another generation or so, eclipsing China. When that happens, I think Americans would have enough sense to realize it’s best that we have good relationships with these African nations, not relationships where they wish that we didn’t exist.”

Huckabee: Iowa is “make or break” for candidates (audio)

This is the second in a series of posts about my conversation this morning with Mike Huckabee.  Huckabee asked me for my Caucus-finish prediction.  I closed by saying Santorum’s crowds were not quite “Huckabee sized” (a reference to the closing days of the 2008 Caucus campaign), and said if tonight’s turn-out doesn’t wind up setting a record, Republicans may have to answer for “an enthusiasm gap.” Here’s Huckabee’s response:

“I think that’s right. It’s very fascinating. If I had to predict, I’ve been saying I think it’s probably Romney, Santorum and Paul, maybe not in that order — but probably.  And I agree with you about the Santorum thing. I’ve seen some interviews in which people have said, ‘Oh, it’s very much like that.’ But, you know, even on my own network at FOX I was very frustrated when I saw some of the chattering class talking-heads last night talking about that, ‘Well, you know Huckabee, he did well in Iowa, but then he sputtered.’

“I’m thinking, ‘Excuse me!’ You know, I qualified for the ballot in every state. I came in second. I won a lot of states after Iowa, but it wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Iowa and that’s why I’ve always argue that Iowa is a very important place for candidates to play. It’s not going to be the entire campaign, but it’s the make or break and if you can’t play there, chances are you’re probably not going to go much further and if you think you are, ask Rudy how that turned out for him four years ago to wait for us all in Florida.”  

AUDIO of response above.

Huckabee: Rs more interested in defeating Obama than in rebuilding USA (audio)

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, victor in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, called into the Radio Iowa newsroom this morning for a chat.  I’ll be posted snippets over the next few hours.  Here’s the first question and response to get things started:

Henderson: “What are your thoughts on the 2012 race that you decided not to enter? And you live in Florida, where this race ultimately may be decided. Are you going to remain a celebrity observer, I guess I’ll use that phrase, or will you wind up endorsing somebody before the Florida primary?”

Huckabee: “I don’t intend to endorse anyone before the Florida primary and perhaps not even after, until we settle on a nominee because I want to maintain a level of objectivity. Quite frankly, Kay if I walked in the booth today I’m not sure who I’d pull the lever for. Nobody has so persuaded me that I’m ready to get a yard sign and put out in my yard, so I’m watching and waiting to see, you know, which of these candidates come forth with what I would consider a broad and balanced message  and that shows the capacity to lead and not just campaign.

“One of the reasons that I was so frustrated and decided not to get in the race was because it appears to me, and it still does to a large degree, that many of the Republicans are more interested in just defeating Barack Obama than they are in rebuilding America. Well, defeating somebody without a plan to really resolve problems, to me, is a worthless endeavor.  You know, I want to see us really focus on how to get the country back to work. We’ve got 15, 16 million people that don’t have jobs that would like to have them. Let’s talk about that, not: ‘Let’s spend our time talking about what’s wrong with one of the candidates we’re trying to defeat,’ and that’s unfortunately been the focus of this primary.” 

AUDIO of exchange above.

Huckabee movie debuts in Iowa on Dec 14

An email announcement from Iowa Right to Life today:

November 21, 2011–Des Moines, Iowa–Iowa Right to Life is pleased to announce the premiere of Governor Mike Huckabee’s new movie here in Iowa! 

“The Gift of Life” will debut at the Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines on December 14, at 7pm.
“The Gift Of Life”, hosted by Governor Mike Huckabee and produced by Citizens United, is an inspirational documentary that explores the sanctity of life as a moral issue and looks at the lives of individuals on the front lines of the Pro-Life movement in America, including those who were nearly victims of abortion.
Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have all been invited to attend the premiere and address the audience prior to the screening.

Ed Rollins on Bachmann’s Huckabee strategy

Steve Brown of FOX News quotes former Bachmann campaign manager Ed Rollins on the “Huckabee” strategy.  (A “has to win Iowa” is in there, along with Mr. Rollins’ reference to the “status gap” between Bachmann and Perry.)

S. Huckabee on the Pawlenty team

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s daughter, Sarah, was a fixture on his 2008 campaign team.  She was the lone “staffer” to travel with the former governor back to Iowa in July of 2008 for the Iowa GOP state convention and she accompanied him on most of his yearly book tour treks through Iowa.  Now, an announcement today: Sarah Huckabee Sanders has just joined the Pawlenty 2012 effort, for the pre-Straw Poll push. (Pawlenty already has Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa campaign manager Eric Woolson on board. The other Huckabee 2008 staffer in Iowa, Wes Enos, is working for Michele Bachmann, the other Minnesotan in the 2012 race.)

Read the campaign news release below:

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Joins Pawlenty for President as Senior Political Adviser

URBANDALE, IOWA – Sarah Huckabee Sanders is joining Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign as senior political adviser. She begins her new role in the campaign’s Iowa headquarters today, taking the lead for the campaign on the Iowa Straw Poll effort with a focus on expanding the campaign’s grassroots operations across the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
“Sarah is a results-oriented person with a great track record in Iowa and around the country,” Gov. Pawlenty said. “We are very excited Sarah is joining our team just as we are hitting our stride in Iowa.”
“I’m delighted to join the Governor and First Lady in Iowa, which holds a special place in my heart,” Sanders said. “It’s clear to me that Gov. Pawlenty has what it takes to unite the party, unite the country and beat President Obama.”
In 2007-08, Sarah Huckabee Sanders helped lead her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, to victory in the Iowa caucuses as his national political director. In 2010, she was campaign manager for John Boozman’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in Arkansas. Sarah was recently named one of TIME Magazine’s “40 under 40” and is widely recognized to be one of the best political operatives of her generation. Sarah is a full-time consultant with Tsamoutales Strategies, a transnational consulting firm.

Perry didn’t think Huckabee could win

Texas Governor Rick Perry has indicated he’s mulling the idea of jumping into the race for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Perry endorsed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the White House last time around and Perry’s tour through Iowa with Giuliani in 2007 provides some interesting tidbits to ponder.

First, Perry bad-mouthed the other former Texas governor who ran for president (and won the office).  Perry said over and over in this youtube video that George W. Bush had never been a fiscal conservative.  “He never went to ’em (Texas legislators) and said, ‘Y’all quit spending,'” Perry said of Bush.

Second, Perry explained why he was backing Giuliani over former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  “No offense to Arkansas, no offense to Massachusetts.  They’re not big states and managing one of those states is different than managing Texas or California or New York (City),” Perry told the crowd. “…The Iowa voter is a very plugged in, conservative voter and Rudy knew from the git-go that, you know, he was probably going to be facing a pretty good hurdle…running against Mitt because Mitt has spent a ton of money here.”

This conversation happened in October of 2007 and Perry revealed back then that in the spring of 2007 former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had called Perry and asked for Perry’s endorsement.

“Mike’s a great friend to me.  I love Mike,” Perry told the crowd. “I mean, he’s like a brother. I just don’t think he can win and I shared that with him.  And (Huckabee) asked me to be his national chairman about six months ago and I told him, I said, ‘Man, I love you like a brother, but just let me slide here.’  It was a hard conversation to call and tell him I was for Rudy. He was disappointed and a bit frustrated. I still love him and he loves me.”

Perry also was the warm-up act for a Giuliani town-hall meeting in Des Moines in October of 2007.  It was the same day Perry had publicly endorsed Giuliani during an event in D.C.

From my notes of that event in Des Moines, Perry talked with the crowd about his own record of governing a “rather large state” where Perry said he reduced a budget deficit and turned it into a surplus.  This was another subtle smack at Bush, followed by another, as Perry described himself as “arguably the most pro-life governor in Texas history.”

Perry called Giuliani an “old-school conservative” and told the crowd he (Perry) had given “prayerful thought” to his decision to endorse Giuliani.

Now, fast-forward three years, to October of 2010.  There were robocalls into Iowa testing support here for Perry.  Among the subjects raised were border security and the Tenth Amendment.  The word “secession” or the phrase “states rights” weren’t used, but you know why that was tested.

Most importantly, the survey asked respondents this:  Are you likely to support a candidate with a strong record of making tough decisions to balance budgets? Would it influence your vote if that candidate had been in office for 25 years?

Perry, at that time, had been in office 25 years.

Huckabee’s announcement: “my heart says no”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has his own weekend show on the FOX News Channel and tonight he just announced on his show that he is not running for president in 2012.

Huckabee began the program by teasing the audience about his announcement, but viewers had to wait for 51 minutes – -and watch/listen to Huckabee jam with The Motor City Mad Man on “Cat Scratch Fever” (a real medical malady as well as the title of a hard metal hit) — before the “very important” announcement that his “heart is not in it.”

Huckabee won Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses and he would have entered the race as a favorite to repeat.  After  what Huckabee described as “deep, personal reflection,” Huckabee told the TV audience he has enjoyed “strong, growing” support from “rank and file” Republicans. Huckabee sounded for a minute or so like he was going to run — even referencing the support of his family for a second run for the White House, in contrast to the reluctance of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ wife —  but then Huckabee told the audience he had made a “clear and firm” decision not to run in 2012.   Huckabee said he has reached “inexplicable inner peace” about his decision.  Here’s how he put it: “My heart says no.”

After Huckabee’s announcement and show concluded, Donald Trump appeared on the FOX News Channel and Trump said some things in what appeared to be a “live shot”, but none were Trump saying he is running in 2012.

Many of Huckabee’s 2008 campaign stalwarts in Iowa have landed elsewhere already.  Danny Carroll, the former state legislator (the former House Speaker pro tempore, a post that’s akin to deputy mayor), had been co-chair of Huckabee’s Iowa Caucus campaign in’08, but Carroll is now working on before of former judge Roy Moore.  Eric Woolson, the manager/communications director/chief cook & bottlewasher of Huckabee’s ’08 effort in Iowa, is working for former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty now.  And Wes Enos, Huckabee’s political director in Iowa in 2008, is now part of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign-in-waiting.

Huckabee’s last trip to Iowa was in November of 2010 when he headlined The FamilyLeader event in Des Moines.  During a news conference before that event, Huckabee said he was in a “different position” than he was in the ’08 cycle.

Judge Moore “exploring” presidential bid

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is in the midst of a six-day, 25-city swing through Iowa and he’s filing the paperwork today for an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign.

Moore, who is 64 years old, says his natural base of support will come from the Tea Party, from Christian voters and from voters who want to adhere to constitutional principles.  Moore also expects to win support from Iowans who voted last fall to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had joined in the court’s unanimous 2009 ruling on gay marriage.  “This is a natural group of people who want to stand for family values, want to stand for something that is so common sense it defies imagination — the marriage of one man and one woman,” Moore said.  “…When judges start making up the law, they should be removed.”

Moore was in Iowa last summer, campaigning against the retention of those three Iowa Supreme Court justices.  He was in Iowa earlier this year, serving as the keynote speaker at a statehouse rally organized by Iowans who want a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage here. 

Moore says losing in the past two statewide elections in Alabama (see info below about those races) has no bearing on his ability to win a national race.  “You don’t run by winning or losing.  You don’t know many politicians that have not lost an election,” Moore said.  “…Abraham Lincoln lost many elections…Ronald Reagan lost the first time he ran…for president….I’ve won elections.  I became the first elected Republican judge in Etowah County in modern history and since then, no other (Republican) judge has been elected…And when I went to chief justice, I won without a run-off in the primary.  Elections are just things that you run and, you know, take what the voters say, but I have had more of a national inclination…I’ve spoken for 15 years across the country and dealing with the Constitution of the United States and dealing with things that pertain to issues of constitutional import and so I think it’s time to bring those issues to light in a national debate.”

Moore opposes the Obama Administration’s move to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military and the organization he now leads — The Foundation for Moral Law — filed a brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act. “Having served in the military…I know that homosexuality is not condusive to the military mission and I have no qualms about that.  I’ve seen it and felt it and experienced it and we’ve got to wake up to reality, ” Moore said early in an interview with Radio Iowa (me) and The Des Moines Register this morning. “Common sense dictates this.”

Later, Moore was asked what he meant by having felt and experienced the impact of homosexuality in the military.

“You had mentioned that while you were in the military, you did experience some problems,” Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register said. “Can you describe that? What do you mean by that?”

Moore replied: “No, no, I didn’t say — I didn’t experience problems.”

“You witnessed some problems in the military?” Jacobs asked.

“With discipline, with homosexuality, with other things, yes –with the views of the military soldiers toward that,” Moore said.

“How their views somehow impeded the readiness of the military, is that what you mean?” Jacobs asked. 

“Well, their acceptance of open homosexuality in the military was not there,” he said.  “…Of course it’s always affected the military. It has affected the military since Washington excluded homosexuals out of the military back during his day.”

Moore is being escorted around the state by former state Representative Danny Carroll, a Republican from Grinnell who is a lobbyist for The Family Leader.  Carroll supported former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Caucuses and was co-chair (along with Bob Vander Plaats) of Huckabee ’08 in Iowa.

“What impresses me and a lot of other people that we talk to — you hear a lot of people talk about the courage of their convictions, seldom do you find someone who is willing to sacrifice their position as the sitting chief justice of a state supreme court because he was asked by a higher authority to no longer acknowledge God,” Carroll said. “…He has demonstrated in real life actions the courage of his convictions. That’s impressive.”

In 2001 Moore drew national attention for installing a monument to the Ten Commandments in Alabama’s courthouse. A federal court ordered that monument removed. After Moore refused to do so, Alabama’s judicial ethics panel booted Moore from that state’s high court in 2003.  Moore ran for governor of Alabama in 2006 and lost in the G.O.P. Primary and in 2010 he got about 19 percent of the vote in Alabama’s gubernatorial primary, finishing in fourth place.

The Palin rumor

About 600 pastors are meeting in Des Moines, part of the Renewal Project.  Last year’s event attracted potential presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich & Tim Pawlenty.  Those three men are speaking at this year’s event, along with Haley Barbour, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.  A source who is familiar with the line-up and the event itself says: “there is now a rumor that Sarah Palin will stop in at the last minute.”

Media, by the way, are not allowed into this event.  And some of the speakers (I don’t know which ones) may be appearing digitally rather than in person.  So Palin could do a digital drop-in without flying into Des Moines.