Huckabee Says He Could Change Mind on Presidential Bid


huckabeeArkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee foresees a “broke and battered” nominee emerging from the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes but says his recent exit from the race is not etched in stone.

Appearing yesterday as a guest of the Clinton School of Public Service, the surprise 2008 GOP presidential contender said he did not entirely rule out running next year when he announced last month he had decided against throwing his hat into the ring. Running as a vice presidential candidate next year or for president in 2016 also are not out of the question, he said.

“Everything is still open. I haven’t closed doors, because I found long ago that that’s not a smart thing to do,” the Fox television talk show host and syndicated radio voice told reporters after a speech at the Clinton presidential library.

Huckabee said he is “not even thinking about changing my mind right now,” but he added, “Don’t rule anything out for the future.”
During his speech to an audience of about 300 people, Huckabee said several factors prompted him to bow out of next year’s GOP primary, not the least of which he said was the difficulty he sees in defeating Democratic President Barack Obama, who will have a billion-dollar campaign chest and no Democratic primary opponent.

“It’s not going to be an easy path for whoever the Republican is,” he said. “Whoever it is is going to come out of a bloody primary broke and battered. Because I anticipate the Republicans will do what they typically do: They’ll have a demolition derby, a circular firing squad, and load up with bullets and start shooting.”

Huckabee said he believes a Republican could win, but that would depend in part on “whether the Republicans are smart enough to challenge President Obama and not so stupid as to destroy each other. Because if they destroy each other, congratulations, you’ve just given President Obama four more years.”

Huckabee said the prevailing political environment, which he described as “toxic,” also influenced his decision not to run.

“One of the processes that I was going through in deciding whether or not to run for president this election cycle was whether or not the environment in the Republican Party was really about moving toward where we had pragmatic solutions to governing the country or whether it was all about, ‘Can we poke out the eyes of the other guy before they poke out our eyes?'” he said. “And I’ll be honest with you: Right now I’m convinced that it’s all about poking out each other’s eyes.”

Huckabee said that as Arkansas governor he had to work with Democrats, who held all but a few seats in the Legislature, to get anything done.

“Washington isn’t of that mindset right now,” he said. “It is of the mindset that our side is always right and their side is always wrong. I found that disgusting, deplorable and absolutely inaccurate.”

A reporter later asked Huckabee if he believes his employer, Fox News – home to some caustic, ultra-conservative commentators – contributes to that mindset.

“No more so than any other network,” Huckabee said.

Huckabee received standing ovations before and after his speech. He also signed copies of his latest book, “A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need From Washington (and a Trillion We Don’t!).”

{Arkansas News/ Newscenter}