Interviews

Gov. Mike Huckabee's New Hampshire Forecast

The Former Governor shares his insight on the 2012 Republican landscape

 

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 6th, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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Now for the "Top Story" tonight, with us, Governor Mike Huckabee who just four years ago was celebrating his primary victory in Iowa. So he knows the Republican landscape. So would Rick Santorum who is in almost the exact same position you were in. I mean it's eerie, is it not?

MIKE HUCKABEE, HOST OF HUCKABEE: Well, one of the things you have to get used to when you're on is if you don't like the sight of your own blood, don't do this. And Rick Santorum has come up out of nowhere, nobody was paying attention to him. Now he -- really in one way you might say he won Iowa. He didn't. Mitt Romney won it. But he won it by greatly exceeding everybody's expectations.

O'REILLY: But -- but -- but here is -- here is the really spooky part. He's you. You are him. It's exactly --

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: Yes that would be really spooky to him, I'm sure.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Yes it's -- it's exactly the same. He got the Evangelical vote. You got the Evangelical vote. He came out of nowhere. You came out of nowhere.

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: Yes, I remember you lost a diner to Dick Morris because you said I would never get above 10 percent.

O'REILLY: I thought you were a draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when I first heard your name. Ok I -- I didn't know who the heck you were.

HUCKABEE: You still don't. But here I am.

O'REILLY: Now we're forced to know who you are.

HUCKABEE: Yes.

O'REILLY: But look, this is why I wanted you on the program tonight. You and Perry exactly the same. Now -- not Perry -- you and Santorum exactly the same. Santorum comes on the program earlier today -- earlier this week and I asked him about his social positions, which put him over the top in Iowa. Would you perceive that he ran as a social conservative.

HUCKABEE: It was a big part of it. It's not all of the story.

O'REILLY: No, but it's --

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: It's a major reason --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: No but if you have that component --

HUCKABEE: Oh absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: If he hadn't captured the Evangelical vote you would have been for it.

HUCKABEE: But don't rule out the pro-life Catholics and the populist part of the Republican Party that wants to know is there anybody out there that understands that we're losing the middle class.

O'REILLY: Ok, but that was divided among Gingrich and Paul and him. It was the Evangelical surge --

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: That clearly put him on there. And the activists that were behind him, many of them broke late for Santorum at exactly the right time.

O'REILLY: Right. So now he goes to New Hampshire, like you did.

HUCKABEE: Yes.

O'REILLY: And you got your butt kicked. Do you remember, I --

HUCKABEE: I did?

O'REILLY: I chased you down at a -- at a -- I think it was a Days Inn. We were dazed. I chased you down for an interview four years ago. I remember, it was like yesterday and you were a good guy, you were very accessible.

HUCKABEE: Yes.

O'REILLY: But you got your butt kicked because you didn't have any money. Right?

HUCKABEE: Mainly because -- let's remember who kicked my butt. It was John McCain who had already won there in 2008 -- in 2000 and was going to win again. And it was Mitt Romney who lived in the state part-time and was a governor of the nearby state. I never expected I was going to win New Hampshire.

O'REILLY: You just wanted to perform well.

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: And I came in third.

O'REILLY: Right.

HUCKABEE: Which I beat Rudy Giuliani there, which that surprised most people. What -- what really was tough was we didn't have enough money to answer the negative attacks that were thrown at me.

O'REILLY: Ok but isn't it spooky that Santorum is in exactly the same position?

HUCKABEE: Yes. It's a very tough spot for him.

O'REILLY: Right. He's going to go in there -- I don't think Romney is going to attack Santorum.

HUCKABEE: He doesn't have to.

O'REILLY: His PACs will, right.

HUCKABEE: Well, Romney doesn't have to. You never interrupt while somebody else is destroying --

O'REILLY: Well who did -- is Gingrich going to attack?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, you got Ron Paul going after him. You got the press going after him. The best thing of all to is let the press do it. Then you can stand back and say, isn't it awful what's happening to poor Rick over there? While they're just bleeding him to death.

O'REILLY: Ok. Now, I'm going to put you in the role of the Santorum advisor tonight, even though that's not your role. He has to recognize where he is. All right.

Then you open the "New York Times" and that was easy to predict. I'm no genius, but I knew the New York Times and the left wing media were just going to try to marginalize him as an extremist and that's exactly what they did today.

So he gets to debate forum over the weekend. He gets a shot on Saturday night, he gets a shot on Sunday morning. You tell Santorum to do what?

HUCKABEE: Don't get into the weeds of the little things people are going to try to get him into. In other words, he's going to be pushed with a statement that he made 15 years ago. Don't answer that. Back it up and look at the macro picture and give the big vision.

In other words, if somebody says, you said x about same sex marriage, don't defend the comment. Back up and talk about the importance of traditional marriage.

O'REILLY: So what do you do, you just blow off the question? You just go, look, I'm not going to answer that?

HUCKABEE: You just pivot. You don't allow yourself to get into the nuances --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But the moderators are going to say he didn't answer it.

HUCKABEE: Let them say whatever they want to.

O'REILLY: All right. But you just flat out refuse you don't answer it.

HUCKABEE: It's not that you don't answer it, you answer with a big picture, not a little picture. Always give the big picture.

O'REILLY: And correct me if I am wrong, Santorum's big picture to me is pretty much Gingrich's big picture, is pretty much Romney's big picture. They all want smaller government, they all want lower taxes, they all want less regulation. The only thing that separated Santorum from Romney in Iowa was his very conservative social belief system. That was all.

HUCKABEE: And it was a big part of what gave him the juice.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But now he doesn't have that because that doesn't play well in New Hampshire where everybody can vote.

HUCKABEE: But within the Republican primary, it still plays well not to get into, again, a lot of deep philosophical discussions, but the big picture. Do you believe that a child growing up with both a mother and a father in a --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But you just said don't get -- don't get bogged down with that.

HUCKABEE: That's not bogged down, Bill. That's the big picture. The little picture is some specific comment --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Oh I got you. Blow off the got you question and just go listen I believe that this is the right way to go about society and here is why and then next question.

HUCKABEE: Right. And then personalize it. Talk about a child and how important it is for that child --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: He's got seven of them. So he can do that.

HUCKABEE: Talk about his own kids, talk about the value of that.

O'REILLY: Do you think that it's going to be a gang up on Santorum?

HUCKABEE: Absolutely. There already is. Of course it's going to be.

O'REILLY: From the Republicans?

HUCKABEE: Sure they will.

O'REILLY: Yes.

HUCKABEE: Because they've got to. They can't let him continue momentum. That's the number one rule. Everybody --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But Gingrich is talking this week saying he --

HUCKABEE: -- has their turn in getting a political colonoscopy on national television. It's his turn now.

O'REILLY: Political colonoscopy -- but Gingrich is saying this week he wants to be an ally with him. He wants to be --

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: But then he turned around and attacked him this week. So you know he called him the junior senator. He said, well, he was kind of like a junior partner in this. So he was being dismissive.

Look one of the things you got to always understand, when people run for office, especially at this level, this is not a beauty contest so that the prettiest person left standing is the winner. This is the tough man competition and the baddest son of a gun in the room is the one who probably is going to still be on his feet when everybody else is carried away.

O'REILLY: All right. That question -- we're over a little bit. But it looks like Mitt Romney is pretty much unstoppable to me right now.

HUCKABEE: Yes.

O'REILLY: Do you get that feeling?

HUCKABEE: Not unstoppable. This thing could change. But I'll tell you Mitt Romney is the Denny's (ph) and I say this with great affection. This is not a bad statement. When I say that, he's the menu you know. You may go, tasting all these different places, but if they're busy, or you can't get in, you know what you do?

O'REILLY: You go back to Denny's.

HUCKABEE: You go back and get a grand slam.

O'REILLY: Ok.

HUCKABEE: That's what people are thinking about. He's a known quantity because he's already been vetted.

O'REILLY: All right. Governor thanks very much.

And we would like you to check out a Web site called LearnOurHistory.com where Governor Huckabee has some education DVDs for kids. The latest one on Christopher Columbus.

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