Pres. kicks off campaign as jobs report sparks new worries

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee reacts


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 4, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Well, all of this as the president prepares to officially kick off his campaign tomorrow. Stops are planned in Virginia and Ohio. Those are two swing states where the jobless rates are dropping and their rich electoral votes are certainly inviting. They also happen to be Republican by run governors.

To Mike Huckabee on if the GOP then is unwittingly helping the president? I mean, if things are improving, I mean, you heard from Governor Kasich in Ohio, who was on this show and others, saying, well, if the net is it helps him, fine. I am more interested in helping my residents.

That was your argument certainly when you were running Arkansas.


CAVUTO: But it is a little weird.

HUCKABEE: Well, these governors have got to put first and foremost making sure people in their states are going to a paycheck, not a welfare check every week. So that is good news.

If it helps the president, it helps him. But I think that the bigger issue, even in states like Ohio and Virginia, is that just because the unemployment rate is down, it doesn’t mean that all the people who want to be fully employed are employed.

It simply means that there is a number of them that are, but there are a lot of people that just quit looking. And that’s why these numbers, even the 8.1, doesn’t really reflect the true unemployment.

CAVUTO: Right.

HUCKABEE: And far more objective sources than me -- I am not objective -- I am very partisan -- but Gallup and others are saying that the real numbers are up in the upper teens, 16 percent to 20 percent actual unemployment.

CAVUTO: Right, if you include all the frustrated workers.

HUCKABEE: Exactly.

CAVUTO: You’re right about that.

But let me ask you, though. I am curious. If we have an environment right now where the president is looking nationally, and says, all right, well, this unemployment rate is really not budging much, the jobs gains are not really that noteworthy, but I could cobble together a strategy for Ohio, for Florida, for some of these states where things are turning around, and grab just enough electoral votes to pull a victory out.

HUCKABEE: That is how you win an election.

It is not all about the national message. It is going to be the decided in a handful of states. Probably five or six states will actually determine the outcome of the election, because most of the states are going to clearly tilt one way or the other, and the candidates are not going to spend a lot of time in places like Texas, because they don’t have to.

The Republicans...

CAVUTO: But what is your understanding, Governor, when -- you know, running for office and being...


CAVUTO: Ultimately, things are good in a state. Do they say, all right, we have a great governor? Or do they say, no, we have a great president, regardless of parties?

HUCKABEE: They said that in Arkansas the entire I was there...


HUCKABEE: ... regardless of how things went.

CAVUTO: No, you always have to bear some of the responsibility, whether it is real or whether it is even just because somebody has got to be blamed for it, and you happen to be the guy on the job.

CAVUTO: Conversely, though, if it’s going well?

HUCKABEE: You get some credit.

But here is what the Republican can do. And this is the benefit to Mitt Romney’s campaign. Rather than give Obama credit for it, when you can say, look, nationally, things are not going well, but in Virginia or in Ohio things are going well, not because of Obama, but because of Republican governors who have led pro-growth policies, who have put a lid on spending, who have kept taxes low, and invited business back.

That is the counterargument that I think can be very effective...


CAVUTO: So, if you were in a debate with President Obama, that is what you would do. You would say, well, don’t you find it curious that in these states with this type of environment, unemployment rate going down, jobs picking up, GDP improving, states where none of that is not occurring, just the other way?

HUCKABEE: That is exactly what you do.

You point out that...

CAVUTO: Yes. Mitt Romney doesn’t do that. HUCKABEE: Well, he will by November, or we will have four more years of Barack Obama.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised then the tightness in the polls, even with the slowing economy?

HUCKABEE: Not really, because I think we have remember the election is really decided by a handful of people in the middle. People who think like I think can’t believe that people would vote for another four years of Obama.

But then I go talk to people on the streets and they’re just thrilled to death because Obama is going to give them a free house and a free car and free food, and they want to be Julia (ph). they want to be that person who, from cradle to grave, is able to be always counting on people for...


CAVUTO: Well, we’re going to be going into that.

But do you think that the fact that so many are living off the government dole, and more than half the people in this country now pay no federal income tax, that that could be a built-in base?

HUCKABEE: You bet it is.

People vote for themselves. They do not vote for the bigger good. I wish I could tell you, oh, yes, they do. But, oh, no, they don’t. They vote -- if they’re doing well, they don’t mind the people still staying in office. If they are not doing well, they will vote against their own party.

CAVUTO: Well put. Well put.

Governor, thank you very much.

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