The following is a rush transcript of the June 27, 2010, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: This week the New Yorker, of all magazines, raises the possibility that former governor Mike Huckabee is the GOP's best hope for the 2012 presidential nomination, so it seemed like a good time to have him on the program to talk some politics.
Mike Huckabee, a Fox News contributor, joins us from our New York studio.
And, Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, R-ARK.: Thank you very much, Chris. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: Before we get to 2012, let's talk about the election this November. How much trouble do you think the president and Democrats are in right now?
HUCKABEE: I think they're in a lot of trouble. The latest poll this week showed that there's a 60 percent dissatisfaction rate with the American people feeling we're on the wrong track. And when you have that overwhelming a number and the Democrats on the White House, the House and the Senate, that does not bode well for the elections.
And this year Republicans have a real opportunity if they put forth a good message and remind Americans they're not the party that is in power that's led them to that 60 percent wrong track answer.
I think it's going to be a terrific year. I think the Republicans get the House back and get real close if not overtake the Senate.
WALLACE: Well, let's take a look at that poll you're referring to. This is the Wall Street Journal poll that came out this week that indicates big problems for the president and Democrats. Take a look.
For the first time in this poll, more people disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing than approve. As you pointed out, 62 percent now feel the country is on the wrong track. That's the most since the 2008 election. And only one third think the economy will get better over the next year.
Why do you think, Governor, that people are losing faith in this president?
HUCKABEE: Well, they continue to look at the reality of numbers. Every month our job numbers continue to hover with about a 10 percent unemployment. We were told that if we did this ridiculous stimulus package and spent nearly a trillion dollars that we were going to keep unemployment below 8 percent. Well, that didn't happen.
And I think it also is indicative of the fact that people have lose confidence that this president is capable of the kind of executive leadership that we need in a crisis.
We're seeing what's happening on the gulf coast. It's not a pretty sight, and in part because there's no real clear command, control and communication going on. Those are the three fundamentals you've got to have in the midst of a crisis and a disaster. None of those things are really in clarity at this point.
People see that. They've watched this government take more than 60 days and still don't have a solid game plan of protecting the coast, which involves both the environment and the economy of the gulf.
WALLACE: Now, you just said a moment ago that Republicans have to remind the voters the fact that they're not in charge of the White House, the House and the Senate. Is that enough? Or do they have to affirmatively say, "We offer something different," and also that they have learned their lesson from the mistakes of 2006 and 2008?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think Republicans need to walk the sawdust trail. They need to repent for the spending that they were responsible for. They need to apologize and repent for the TARP bill which I still believe was a big huge mistake and only set up the further bailouts that happened when Barack Obama and the Democrats did take full power.
The Republicans can't rely on "we're not the other guys" as a reason to get elected. They do have to say that they will focus on getting rid of these runaway deficits, that they will begin to trim down the debt and not put so much of a burden on future generations and grandchildren.
We can't be the generation that does the polar opposite of our parents' generation, that we call the greatest generation, and we call them that because they sacrificed themselves so their kids would have a better life.
We're the generation that looks like now are sacrificing our kids so that we can have the best life and not have to pay for our own sins. That's just recklessly irresponsible and it's certainly un- American from the standpoint of our history as a nation.
WALLACE: Governor, let's turn to your political future. Where are you on the idea of running for president in 2012?
HUCKABEE: Well, as I've said to so many people — and I get asked the question — it doesn't matter where I am. I was even asked in Taiwan a few weeks ago when I was over there making a speech, and they said, "Are you running for president?" And I said, "Well, if I was, I wasn't going to announce it in Taipei." The fact is — I've said this repeatedly...
WALLACE: Yeah, but this isn't Taipei. This is "Fox News Sunday."
HUCKABEE: And if I were going to announce it today, I can't think of a better place to do it, Chris, than with you on the Fox network.
But having said that, I have been very adamant that no decision like this would be, should be, or could be made until after the 2010 elections. That's where our focus needs to be. What happens after that, God only knows and He hasn't told anyone yet.
WALLACE: But you — clearly, you're leaving the door open.
HUCKABEE: I haven't closed the door. I think that would be foolish on my part, especially when poll after poll shows that there is strong sentiment out there. I end up leading a lot of the polls. I'm the Republican that clearly, at this point, does better against Obama than any other Republican. You know, I'm not totally unaware of that.
But that's a long way from making a decision to run for president. You know, I've been there, done that, have a whole warehouse full of T-shirts to prove it. So it's not like I don't understand something about what this endeavor would take.
And just because some polls a year and a half out show that there's some strong support and there would be, you know, maybe some momentum, that's not reason enough. I still have some debt left from the last campaign that I didn't even know I had till it was well over.
So there's just a lot of considerations. But for me the focus is doing what I'm doing, trying to do it well. And one of those things is to enjoy what I'm doing, which I am wonderfully enjoying, doing television and radio and commentary. And that may be where I have (sic). But I'm not ruling anything out at this point.
WALLACE: In the aforementioned New York — New Yorker magazine article, you got into something of a dust-up with the gay rights community. In the article you say this about gay marriage, "We can get into the ick factor but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship — biologically that doesn't work the same."
A group called the Human Rights Campaign responded, "Ick is certainly an appropriate way to describe Mr. Huckabee's mind going into sex when all that we're asking for is our equality."
Your response, sir?
HUCKABEE: Well, that term actually comes from a gay magazine called The Edge in which the author, Joseph Erbentraut, interviewed Professor Martha Nussbaum from — one of Barack Obama's colleagues, University of Chicago. She uses a term projected disgust. He, in the interview, coined this phrase. It's in the article that he wrote in the interview with her. That phrase was not mine. It actually is a phrase that exists within the gay community. But somehow it's OK if they talk about it, but if someone else talks about it, it's off bounds.
And it's interesting. The American Spectator — I thought Joseph Lawler this week did a wonderful analysis of the hypocrisy and the duplicity of those who want to, on one hand, push this issue, but then they really don't want their own discussion to be brought into the public square. It's a little bit disingenuous on their part to make it.
It's not the big issue for me. But if I'm asked about it, I try to be honest that I'm standing where most of the American public stands, and that is for traditional marriage of one man, one woman.
And by the way, Chris, that's been on the ballot in 31 states and in every one of the states, including left-wing states like Maine and California, it's been affirmed when the people themselves had a chance to vote for it.
WALLACE: Governor, we've only got a couple of minutes left, so let's do a lightning round, quick questions, quick answers, about some of the other potential Republican candidates out there. Mitt Romney — you said recently he's always trying to figure out where he stands on issues.
HUCKABEE: Well, what I mean by that is even on the health care bill - - I mean, the Massachusetts health care bill essentially is the blueprint for "Obamacare." That's going to be an issue he'll have to confront.
There's no doubt in my mind that he's running, and I think he's a formidable candidate. I don't think anybody can dismiss him because he has the organization. He's got the money. He's got sort of the inside track with a lot of the Republican establishment.
WALLACE: Sarah Palin — and again, lightning round — does she have the experience, does she have the knowledge, to be president?
HUCKABEE: She's got the fire, the energy, and I think there are a lot of Republicans who love her, would support her, and she would be a very strong presence in a presidential primary.
WALLACE: Indiana governor Mitch Daniels — you didn't like it when he proposed recently a, quote, "truce" on social issues.
HUCKABEE: I'm a big fan of Mitch Daniels, and I don't want anyone to interpret that statement that I made is that I somehow think that he's lacking in presidential timbre. I think he could be one of our most qualified potential candidates. He's a great manager.
I just don't want him to back away from issues that will energize and have energized 40 to 50 percent of the Republican base. You can't do that and win the primary and win the general election.
WALLACE: And finally, Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, this week blasted President Obama for always blaming Bush's brother, President George W. Bush for all problems that Obama, quote, "inherited."
HUCKABEE: I love Jeb Bush. He's one of the smartest. He's one of the most articulate. If Jeb decided to run, I think it would be hard for anyone to overwhelm him. He is, in many ways, one of the best, most talented people we have in the Republican Party.
I don't know that Jeb wants to run. But I'll tell you this. If Jeb wanted to run, he's one of those people that rise to the very top because of his sheer brilliance and his ability to communicate it.
WALLACE: Governor, we're going to have to leave it there. Thanks for your comments about this November and November coming up in a couple of years. It's always a pleasure to talk with you, sir.
HUCKABEE: Thank you, Chris.
Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.