This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," January 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: We have the big winner tonight, the man of the hour, Governor Huckabee. He, of course, we all know he's the GOP winner with a grassroots campaign and that southern charm. The Arkansas governor who managed to woo the Iowa people, joining us live in Iowa, Governor Mike Huckabee. .
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you so much, Greta. It is a real pleasure. And I tell you, we're pretty wired up right now. I mean it's been a great night for us. But we think it's been a great night for this country. We think that this is an opportunity to show that politics doesn't have to just be about money. It really can be about the people that supposedly we're trying to serve.
VAN SUSTEREN: So now it's on to New Hampshire, and I don't mean to take away from your win here in Iowa, but you know you got to hit the ground running. I mean, you're — in fact, you're probably leaving tonight, leaving soon for New Hampshire.
What's the plan for tomorrow? Because it's a completely different voter base in New Hampshire.
HUCKABEE: It is a different voter base but they care about the same things. There's still a lot of anxiety in the middle class, small business which really drives the economy. This country feels sometimes neglected and knows that their biggest challenge is not just from the competitor next door but from their own government. That's got to change. And I think what we're hearing from people across this country is they want someone who has experience in actually changing government, making it work, governors have to do that. And that's one of the things I think we saw here in Iowa tonight.
SHEPARD SMITH, ANCHOR: We were — Governor, Shepard Smith, congratulations. We talked this afternoon. We were — during Studio B.
SMITH: .about what your plans are now. And this panel has pointed out tonight that they believe that maybe some Republicans are somewhat out of touch with what people out in the hinterlands are saying and that is we're worried about our economy, we're worried about our jobs, we're worried about our healthcare. And it seems that somehow here in Iowa, your message seemed to resonate. If you were telling your whole GOP what it is we need to do a little different, what is it?
HUCKABEE: You know, there's been a lot of anxiety about my candidacy from some of the.
SMITH: There still is.
HUCKABEE: .maybe establishment Republicans on the East Coast. There's been some anxiety from some of the folks maybe on the left on the West Coast. But out here in America, you know, a lot of people understand what I'm talking about. And I think what's happened, people are saying, how did Huckabee do this? And why is he resonating in states that aren't necessarily Iowa, Delaware, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, places all over this nation. I'll tell you why. Because if you talk to people and what they're discussing around their dinner table, it's not the same topics that may be the talking heads in D.C. and around those studios are talking about. That's what's going on here.
SMITH: The folks in your party, though, a lot of them will suggest behind the scenes, as kind of on the quiet, well, you know, he's got a bunch of home-schoolers and he has a bunch of people who are very serious religious people who like him because he's a Baptist minister and he's grounded, he has all these great little sayings, that — I mean people talk about that all the time. And he's got a great — but he can't really do this on the big stage. It's not ever going to happen.
How are you going to take this, with not a lot of money, not a lot of organization, and turn it into a campaign that gets you down to you and a Democrat for the presidency?
HUCKABEE: You know, it's interesting, for a year, an entire year, every month, somebody writes my obituary and I said I'm the only guy that's had an obituary written before he's had a birth announce. But here we are tonight, winning Iowa, doing it convincingly. And if you look at those poll numbers across the country, this is not just an Iowa thing. We're not a one-state wonder. But more importantly, all the people who said I wouldn't be here tonight, they're the same ones who were saying I won't be around in a month. Well, let's wait a month and we'll see.
SMITH: Is there money coming in?
HUCKABEE: Yes, it is. In fact, you know, we probably have more cash on hand than some of the other campaigns. The fact we didn't have money early on meant that we had to discipline ourselves to be frugal. We did something the federal government needs to do, we only spent the money we had, we didn't borrow into the future, and as a result, we actually have a balance going into this.
And I have a feeling that after tonight, we're going to see a huge surge in fundraising because up until now, people said, well, we would give to you but we're not sure you can win. Now they're thinking, he already has and he is winning. That'll have a big impact.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Governor, I'll bet with you on that one. I think you'll have money after tonight, too. You always get money after a big win like tonight.
Laura Ingraham, who is standing by right here says she has a question for you, Governor.
LAURA INGRAHAM, SYNDICATED TALK SHOW HOST: Governor Huckabee, first, congratulations, incredibly impressive victory by all accounts.
HUCKABEE: Thank you, Laura.
INGRAHAM: Governor, are you the person to carry on the Reagan tradition? Because there's some people out there who say, the Reagan coalition is gone and we shouldn't look for someone, whether it's Huckabee or anyone else to replace that Reagan tradition. I happen to think it's still important. But are you that person?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think, first of all, the Reagan tradition built around standing up for the middle class, standing up for small business, being very absolutely convinced that America need an exceptionally strong military and that we needed to have an economic system that empowered people at all levels, that you didn't tax people for their productivity. Nobody's speaking more to those issues, I think, across the board than I am.
And the fact is, if we really had a tax system that didn't penalize productivity but gave people a chance, if we built the policies that empowered small businesses to be able to make it rather than have to go out of business because their government was working against them with excessive taxation, regulation and litigation, if we stood clearly on those social issues that do bring a lot of people to the Republican Party, and whether it's the pro-life issue or the family issue or the Second Amendment, those matter to a lot of Americans.
I don't want to pretend that anybody can be Ronald Reagan. He was unique. But certainly to carry on his tradition — and one of the things we saw tonight, part of the tradition, that I believe, we needed to carry on is the 11th commandment, you don't speak ill of another Republican. We have kept it clean here. And I think as a result, it mattered and the Iowa voters rewarded us for that.
SMITH: It was not kept completely clean. I mean it just — it just really wasn't. And we know better than that. And I know you're keeping a clean face on as much as you can. But, Governor, I want to ask you very specifically, in this state tonight, there were 200,000 Democrats who came out and caucused and the people who work for FOX News and our friends at other organizations are talking all over the state tonight about how much excitement there was in Democratic caucuses and how it just didn't exist in the Republicans. Are you concerned about that nationally? Because eventually, this is going to be a two-person race. Are you concerned about that and what does the GOP need to do to get some excitement put into these campaigns?
HUCKABEE: Well, Shep, obviously, I think what they need to do is nominate me. And we've seen great excitement at our rallies. We had 300,000 people the other night in a Des Moines rally. Every where I've been these last few weeks, we've had standing-room only. Sometimes we've had more people who couldn't get in a building than could even get to the venue, and that's with taking all the tables and chairs out. So I'm seeing excitement. I think the Republicans around this country want to rally together. They do want to once again lead. But they want to understand that leading means you solve problems. You don't just get elected and then go opposite of what the Republican principles are.
You don't say, we're going to cut spending and then increase it. You don't say you're going to cut taxes and not do it. You don't say you're going to build a strong national defense and then leave the borders unchecked. Those are things that they expect us to get done.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Governor, it's Greta, one last question before we go to break. Your band, is your band going to be playing in New Hampshire between now and election next week?
HUCKABEE: Well, we probably won't between then. But we've had the band in New Hampshire a couple of times, and it hasn't cost us all the votes yet. So we'll probably be taking them to South Carolina and other states. You know, it's the only we get invitations, is me run for president and throw them out there. So you bet they'll be on the road.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. We'll be waiting to hear that band. I haven't heard it yet — Shep?
SMITH: Governor, great to see you tonight. Thank you so much. Did you think just a few weeks ago — be honest now — did you think a few weeks ago that this was possible? I mean really?
SMITH: You don't have the organization. You didn't spend any money.
HUCKABEE: I really believed we would do it, Shepard. I know people think, oh you didn't believe it. Look, I wouldn't have worked this hard for this long if it didn't it was going to end up with a victory. I know a lot of other people didn't believe it. But when I saw the enthusiasm of our supporters and volunteers and their commitment. I believed we would it.
SMITH: Governor Mike Huckabee, so good of you. Congratulations. Man, think about this, though, now.
SMITH: A small-state governor, lost 100 pounds, who runs for president.
ESTRICH: The Huckabee diet.
VAN SUSTEREN: I really think losing 100 pounds was amazing. Can I tell you losing that weight is extraordinary. I mean, what discipline.
SMITH: Do it or die is what the doctor told him. But he..I think that's quite an incentive. He chose to live. I supposed it is.
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