Huckabee meets the press | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Huckabee meets the press

Posted By on Sun, Jan 28, 2007 at 9:20 AM

Did you watch Mike Huckabee with Tim Russert on Meet the Press?

Thoughts? (Of course he announced  his presidential candidacy.) After noon Sunday, you can watch the show on the web.

Mine: Huckabee did well. He's a good talker and met no question that he doesn't expect to have to field at some point. But Russert was sharper than I'd predicted and brought up some issues Huckabee struggled with a bit. Some talking points:

Theme: America needs "optimistic leadership" that will "bring people together."

Bush's troop escalation: It's "risky"  and "dangerous" to oppose a plan of the commander in chief, Huckabee said.

Does he still believe Bush is doing a "magnificent job" as he said in 2005?:  The president has had many "struggles," chiefly with the war, which have made it hard for him to be effective domestically.

Any area of disagreement with Bush: "Overuse" of the citizen soliders of the Guard and Reserve. (Why this doesn't translate into opposition to sending more of them back, Russert didn't ask.)

Taxes: He wouldn't pledge to never raise them because war might require it.

Asked about his 1998 quote that he wanted to take the nation back for Christ: He said he perhaps should have phrased it differently. He said faith was important to him but he had no desire to force Christianity on non-Christians.

His statement that he would sign the no-exceptions anti-abortion bill in South Dakota: Much dancing here, segueing to a filibuster on the need to do things not just from conception to birth, but after children are born. He repeated his laughable assertion that he's been good for the environment, he who made attacks on "environmentalist wackos" a signature in his early years in office.

Wayne Dumond: He admitted he "regrets" once saying he wanted to commute the murderous rapist's sentence. (I bet he does since he went on to kill again.) Russert nailed him in a bit of dishonesty, when Huckabee tried to say he hadn't asked to meet with the parole board in private about Dumond. Pressed (and The Huckster bitched about "tabloid" accounts on Dumond, meaning us) he put it that, oh, THEY wanted to meet with him. He put the blame for Dumond's release on the parole board and made much of the fact that they were appointees of Democratic governors. He didn't mention that two key voters, who previously opposed Dumond's release, were reappointed to the well-paying jobs by Huckabee after their votes (and as a condition of their reappointment, sources have told us.) Huckabee also said, "I wish I had known more than I knew" when making statements supportive of Dumond's release. (He knew he was a multiple killer and a convicted rapist whose victim opposed his release. What else was there to know?)

Making fun of Barney Frank: Just a rhetorical device and he did not mean to be divisive  by crafting a punchline built on the name of a gay congressman Uh huh.

Do people choose to be gay or are they born that way: Lots of argument on the point, he noted. He dodged a yes/no answer.

John McCain: He stood behind previous criticism of McCain for positions unpopular with evangelicals and for finance reform. (This shouldn't help him win a Veep spot, should McCain triumph, should it?)

Lie of the day: He claimed to be the first Arkansas governor to lower taxes. He'll be working this line out a lot, because Russert produced harsh criticism of his tax increases from the Cato Institute and the Club for Growth. He'll need to refine this defense, though he was much more effective in arguing that taxes had been increased for some worthy purposes, such as highways and schools.

Other press: Huckabee gave former LR reporter Ron Fournier an interview on his new Hotsoup website.

Also, thanks to a reader for this analysis on Daily Kos. 

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