Mike Huckabee on Deadly Tornadoes

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 6, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Arkansas, which is the home state and the state governed by Mike Huckabee.

The governor joins us right now on the phone.

Governor, what's the latest you can tell us?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Neil, I'm picking it up kind of like you are, from news reports.

But, obviously, we had a really devastating storm that came through, reminiscent of storms that I, you know, remember very well during my 10-and-a-half years as a governor. It's always one of the roughest times that you experience in governing a state is dealing with a crisis that comes from one of these killer storms.

It not only destroys property, but, obviously, takes people's lives and devastates miles and miles of terrain. And you walk through that, and you are just amazed that as many people lived through it as did.

CAVUTO: You know, Governor, in your experience as a governor there, I keep hearing from people who know the region well, lived in the region, that this is very unusual this time of year to see this type of thing. Is it?

HUCKABEE: Well, generally, the tornado season comes later, March, April, even into May. But we have had killer storms.

January 21 of 1999, a very, very serious storm came through, actually destroyed a lot of downtown Little Rock and devastated the grounds of the governor's mansion. We had one on March 1, 1997, was a terrible storm, killed 27 people in Arkansas, 250-mile path of terror.

So, we do have them. I remember December tornadoes. They can come at any time. You always kind of know. I have been through two of them myself personally, one when I was 11 years old, and then the '99 tornado that I was actually in.

You never forget the experience of right before it happens. It feels as if the oxygen out of the atmosphere has just been sucked out, and you have to gasp for breath. Everything gets very quiet, and then that low rumble that you hear about that some people describe as a freight train. That's the closest thing to it, but it has a sound unique to itself. You know then you're in a tornado.

And it's just one of the most horrifying experiences, because it happens so very quickly.


HUCKABEE: And what is good for us, Doppler radar has saved the lives of many people. And, every time we have one of these, I always am reminded that, when people turn to their local weather stations, and they see the Doppler radar, they can pinpoint it to neighborhoods, and that has been a lifesaver, along with early-warning systems.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you, Governor, while I still have you, if you don't mind my indulging in a political question. There is a lot of heat you're getting from the Romney camp today that you and Senator McCain struck some sort of a deal in West Virginia to award that state to you,and that set up the stage for people thinking that maybe he was in some trouble, and all those victories you racked up.

What's going on here?

HUCKABEE: Well, there was no deal between Senator McCain and myself.

It was an honest situation at a convention, where people, after the first ballot, could go where they wanted to go. My understanding was that some of the Ron Paul people, in fact, had talked to our people, not to me, but to some of our supporters, and said that they would vote for me if their guy didn't get in. That seemed to have happened.

You know, I hear these reports. You know, it was interesting. The day before that, Romney was telling me that I needed to just quit whining. And, the next day, whining was OK. So, he has now taken both sides of the whining issue, yesterday, was against whining. Now he is for whining.

And he lost the convention vote. I know he wanted it. He spent a lot of money in West Virginia. We didn't. But his soap just isn't selling. That's what it comes down to.

CAVUTO: All right.

So, let me ask you, Governor, there was no talk between you and Senator McCain, no deals were made, no discussion of the vice presidency, none of that?

HUCKABEE: Oh, good heavens, no. No.

I mean, Senator McCain is running against me. I'm running against him. We're cordial. I think we have a very civil and decent relationship. We even, I think, would like to consider ourselves friends.

But, also, we are, you know, both going after the same job right now. So, this talk that we're somehow sitting around plotting to take over the world is pure nonsense. You know, I think people are so maybe unaccustomed to seeing a civil race between two decent people, that they try to find something nefarious in it.

But it's truly, I think, a matter of both Senator McCain and myself believing that politics doesn't have to get into the gutter. You don't have to go dumpster-diving every day in order to try to disable your opponent, and that maybe it would be great to just say, here's what I'm about. Let my opponent explain his own record.

CAVUTO: Well, are you — you're not saying that Governor Romney is dumpster-diving, are you?


HUCKABEE: Well, I would say that he did a little bit of that in Iowa against me and in New Hampshire against Senator McCain. And it was just fascinating.

You know, we had millions of dollars spent against us by the Romney campaign, distorting records. And, you know, I was called a liberal, for heaven's sakes.


HUCKABEE: Of all the things I have ever been called in my life, that was the last thing. I mean, I'm pro-life. I'm pro-Second Amendment — I have a much better record on it than Mitt Romney — cut taxes, held spending, raised per capita income.

CAVUTO: But could you see, Governor — I'm sorry, sir, but could you see that there might be logic to people saying you and Romney divide the McCain opposition vote, and McCain just waltzes in?

HUCKABEE: Sure. I see what they are saying.

I guess what I don't understand is, why is it that Romney gets to say that I'm taking his votes? Would it be just as fair to say he's taking mine?

CAVUTO: All right. Very good point, Governor?

HUCKABEE: Would it be just as appropriate to say that, maybe if he dropped out...


HUCKABEE: ... I would have all those conservative votes?

And you know what?

CAVUTO: All righty.

HUCKABEE: Looking at those numbers last night, the conservatives were with me. That's where they are in the Deep South.

CAVUTO: OK, Governor.


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