This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," February 12, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: We are live here, in the center of it all, Washington, D.C., with a special show for you tonight. The polls just closed here and in Virginia and in Maryland, and the Potomac primaries a big night for Senator Obama and more pressure on Senator Clinton. Senator McCain's strengthening his frontrunner status, but Governor Mike Huckabee says he is not giving up.
But don't take it from us. He's here to tell you himself. Governor Mike Huckabee joins us live in Little Rock, Arkansas. Governor, you're a fighter, so I assume that you take this in stride and you get ready for the future. But your thoughts tonight.
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we were doing well early on. When the rural votes were in in Virginia, we thought we were, you know, marching right along. A lot of urban votes, northern Virginia — you know, I've never lived in Washington, D.C. Senator McCain's been up there 25 years He's a hometown product in that area. I'm not.
But just a few days ago, last Friday, polls had us down 30 points. We saw some yesterday that had us within 11. We came a lot closer tonight than that. We march on. You know, it's always disappointing when you don't get the top slot. I called Senator McCain a little while ago and congratulated him, wished him well. He was very gracious, as he always is. And you know, we live to fight another day.
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious, have you heard from Governor Romney at all in the past couple days or tonight, by any chance?
HUCKABEE: I have not heard from Governor Romney. We talked. I called him after I learned that he had withdrawn from the race, and we had a very pleasant conversation, but that was the last communication that we have had.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Governor, I know how this works is you sort of dust yourself off after a little bit of a night like this and you hit the pavement running tomorrow. You'll do that. Senator Clinton's already in Texas doing that. So what's your plan now?
HUCKABEE: We're headed to Wisconsin tomorrow. We'll be up there for a couple of days. We'll kind of see where we're going to be over the weekend, then we'll be back probably in Wisconsin. A lot of our focus over the next few weeks is going to be in Texas, in Ohio. Those are two big states. Texas is a state that's obviously next to us, close to us. We've got a strong organization, a lot of supporters in Texas. It's a very conservative state, and I think that's where we're going to do well because Texas voters, like all the voters of America, they ought to have a choice. They ought to have an actual election and have a campaign, not a coronation. And we plan to give it to them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you done the crunching of the numbers? Because I know this should be about policy, but frankly, now it's really about numbers and delegates. Have you done that number crunching to see, you know, if you're still in the game?
HUCKABEE: Well, the game may be for us to go to the convention, if nobody gets 1,191 delegates, and that's still a possibility. Until someone gets that magic number, we still have an election process, and there is no nominee. Once that happens, we've got a nominee, and it's time to rally around him. And so if that's not me, then we'll rally around who it is. But if we don't have one and we go to the convention, then we'll make the decision at that convention, and the delegates will decide. I'll have as good a chance as anybody.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I'm a little bit curious about Wisconsin. It's my home state, where you're headed tomorrow. What do you think the issue there is in Wisconsin? And how do you look there?
HUCKABEE: You know, when — I've been in Wisconsin. I campaigned for President Bush there in 2000 and 2004. I've spoken there on several occasions and have found it to be a very pro-life state, a state where people really do believe that government shouldn't try to step in and mess up the efforts of small business owners.
That's one of the messages that is resonating with people. I think it's one of the reasons we're still on our feet. Nobody else is out there championing the value of small business operators, who make up 50 percent of our jobs and 80 percent of all the new jobs. People want to believe that there's somebody who's going to be a true, proven chief executive who's actually run a government.
You know, right now, the choice in the process is somebody with a Washington address or me, somebody who's been in the houses of Congress or me, somebody who has been a part of a large body of the legislature or one person who's actually been the chief executive of a government, and that's me. And I've done it more and longer than anyone else running for president, Democrat or Republican, in the field from where it started until now.
So that's why I think that a lot of folks are going to start realizing having somebody with the capacity to make the tough decisions, keep — make sure that America's on offense when it comes to terror, and also make sure that we have strong leadership of looking at the whole field of play — those are issues that I think people in Wisconsin will be hearing about over the next few days.
VAN SUSTEREN: I suspect that you took a look at what happened on the Democratic side tonight. What do you make of the race tonight on the Democratic side?
HUCKABEE: Well, Obama continues to show an extraordinary level of strength and momentum, and I congratulate him for that. I think, in many ways, I'll be the best candidate to challenge Senator Obama. We're of the same generation. Both of us would run campaigns about the future. I think we both have centered our campaigns around the whole idea of hope and optimism. And it would be a great race. So one of the reasons I feel like I need to stay in this race is to give our Republicans a point of rallying.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you saying that Senator Clinton is out? Because she's got those three big states coming up, and she's a little bit sort of in the situation you are. Actually, she's probably in a more favorable one when you crunch the numbers. But do you see her as out, or is she still in the...
HUCKABEE: No, not at all.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is she still in the fighting?
HUCKABEE: Oh, she's very much in play. I mean, this thing is not over for them by a long stretch. But I'm just looking at the momentum, and Senator Obama clearly has the momentum.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you, and enjoy Wisconsin. It's cold there tonight, sir. it's very cold.
HUCKABEE: Yes, indeed. Thank you very much, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Governor.
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