NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–It’s not possible to ask every important question during the course of an interview — without the risk of losing the interviewee during questioning or the reader in the write-up.
The following highlights were transcribed from various video clips of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on the 2008 campaign trail. Each provides a unique insight into the man who would be president.
FOX News Republican Presidential Candidates Debate
University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
May 15, 2007
QUESTION: Gov. Huckabee, the alternative minimum tax caught 4 million people this year. It will get 23 million next year unless Congress acts. How would you eliminate the tax without raising the budget deficit, sir?
HUCKABEE: Well, the simplest way is enact a fair tax. That’s the first thing I’d love to do as president. Put a going out of business sign on the Internal Revenue Service and stop the $10 billion a year that it costs just for them to operate.
If we had a fair tax, it would eliminate not just the alternative minimum tax, personal income tax, corporate tax, it would eliminate all the various taxes that are hidden in our system and Americans don’t realize what they’re paying. It wouldn’t be a revenue increase or a revenue decrease, revenue neutral.
But it also enables people at the lowest end of the economic spectrum to have a chance to reach the next rung on the ladder. It’s the best proposal that we ought to have because it’s flatter, it’s fairer, it’s finite, it’s family friendly.
And instead, what we’ve done is what Sen. McCain has suggested. We’ve had a Congress that has spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop, and it’s high time that we have a different kind of tax structure and the fair tax would get us there.
CNN Republican Presidential Candidates Debate
Saint Anselm College, Manchester, N.H.
June 5, 2007
QUESTION: At a previous debate, you and two of your colleagues indicated that you do not believe in evolution. You’re an ordained minister. What do you believe? Is it the story of creation as it is recorded in the Bible or described in the Bible?
HUCKABEE: It’s interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president. I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States. But you’ve raised the question, so let me answer it.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. To me it’s pretty simple. A person either believes that God created this process or believes that it was an accident and that it just happened all on its own. And the basic question was an unfair question because it simply asked us in a simplistic manner whether or not we believed, in my view, whether there’s a God or not.
Let me be very clear. I believe there is a God. I believe there’s a God who was active in the creation process. Now, how did He do it and when did He do it and how long did He take? I don’t honestly know. And I don’t think knowing that would make me a better or a worse president.
But I’ll tell you what I can tell this country. If they want a president who doesn’t believe in God, there’s probably plenty of choices. But if I’m selected as president of this country, they’ll have one who believes in those words that God did create. And in the words of Martin Luther, ‘Here I stand. I can do no other,’ and I will not take that back.
QUESTION: The specific question is, Do you believe literally it was done in six days and it occurred 6,000 years ago?
HUCKABEE: I did answer that, Wolf. I said I don’t know. My point is I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But I believe whether God did it in six days or whether He did it in six days that represented periods of time, He did it and that’s what’s important.
But you know, if anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to do it. I don’t know how far they will march that back, but I believe that all of us in this room are the unique creations of a God who knows us and loves us and who created us for His own purpose.
QUESTION: In your opinion, what is the most pressing moral issue facing this country today? And if you’re elected president, how would you address that issue?
HUCKABEE: Well, it looks like I’m getting all the moral questions tonight, and I guess that’s a good thing. That’s better than getting the immoral questions, so I’m happy to get those.
I really believe that if you define in a moral issue, it is our respect, our sanctity and our understanding of the value of every single human life because that is what makes America a unique place on this planet. We value every life of an individual as if it represents the life of us all.
Many of us who are pro-life, quite frankly, I think have made the mistake of giving people the impression that pro-life means we care intensely about people as long as that child is in the womb. But beyond the gestation period we’ve not demonstrated as demonstrably as we should that we respect life at all levels, not just during pregnancy.
We shouldn’t allow a child to live under a bridge or in the back seat of a car. We shouldn’t be satisfied that elderly people are being abused and neglected in nursing homes. It should never be acceptable to us that people are treated as expendable, any people. But the unique part of our country is that we elevate and we celebrate human life.
If you look at us with a contrast to the Islamic jihadists, who would strap a bomb to the belly of their own child, march them into a crowded room, set the detonator and kill innocent people, they celebrate death. We celebrate life. It’s the fundamental thing that makes us unique, and it keeps us free. I pray we never, ever abandon that basic principle.
National Education Association annual meeting
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia
July 5, 2007
HUCKABEE: One of the achievements that I’m proud of as a governor is that when I went into office we had some of the lowest teacher pay in the country; when I left office, especially if you account for per capita income, we had some of the highest.
My predecessor had vetoed a 28 and out retirement bill that I helped push and pass because I believe that we ought to make teaching as attractive as possible and we ought to pay people for the professional preparation and development that it takes not only to get there, but what a lot of people fail to understand is the extraordinary professional development and ongoing education that it takes to stay there. And teachers ought to be compensated for those areas in both salary and benefits.
And then there’s one intangible. In addition to the tangible benefits of pay and insurance and retirement benefits, there ought to be a new level of elevating the profession of teaching as we recognize that is in fact the most vital, important profession if we truly do expect to train our replacements, that next generation coming in after us.
And that ultimately is the purpose that each of us have in life, is not just to live life, enjoy it, use up all the resources, but to leave those resources in better shape than we found them and to train the replacements so that hopefully they will do even a better job than us.
I want to believe that the greatest generation is not necessarily the generation that has lived and is about to die, but that the greatest generation is that generation that is yet to even be born.
Compiled by Will Hall, executive editor of Baptist Press, and Erin Roach, BP staff writer.