Interviews

Huckabee: We Must 'Eradicate' ISIS

We have to kill it or it will kill us

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 5, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, you know, a lot of Republicans can dish it out, but when it comes ISIS, they really haven`t a clear, coherent, and cogent strategy for how to deal with it, do they?

Rand Paul is a very good example. Many of his critics say he is all over the map on it and is trying to justify what had been isolationist views only a few months ago to saying, no, this is what I meant all along today.

To former Republican Governor, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on ISIS first off and how you deal with them.

What`s your position?

FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, R - ARKANSAS: Well, I think you have to recognize that ISIS is a cancer.

If you have cancer in your body, you don`t say, doctor, I want you take it out, but not all of it. You know, leave a little there, because I don`t want to be unkind to the cancer. If it`s malignant, you get rid of it.

Now, if it`s benign, you might decide you can live with it. We have got to understand ISIS is not a benign tumor on the earth. It`s a malignant tumor and it is not alone. It`s metastasized. It`s really a part of the original tumor, the Muslim Brotherhood, that now has many points of where it has metastasized, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah.

CAVUTO: Well, if you were president, and this was festering under you...

HUCKABEE: Yep.

CAVUTO: ... what would you do?

HUCKABEE: You would go after it with everything you can, and that means not just airstrikes and going around and hitting a few targets.

But you`re going to have to take this all the way to them, because this is not an organization that stops until you stop them. If you don`t just completely eradicate them, they`re going to keep popping up.

CAVUTO: So, you don`t buy the president`s view that you can never do that?

HUCKABEE: You can`t contain them. You can`t contain something as evil, as insidiously evil, because these aren`t people who want a piece of real estate. They don`t want to -- just a control of a particular geographical region.

They really do want a global caliphate. And when you have that as your goal, keep in mind that I just got back this morning, 5:00 in the morning from Israel. Been there all week. I`m telling you, Israel is the outpost of terrorism. It`s where they want to attack, but it`s not where they would finish. If they annihilated it, you think they`re going to rub their hands together and say, oh, great, we`re done?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: No, I see what you`re saying.

Well, then what did you make of what Rand Paul said on this regarding Hillary Clinton and her separating herself from the president and about helping the rebels in Syria a year ago, had we done that, then we wouldn`t be in the fix we`re in now?

Paul argued, the senator argued quite the opposite. We would have put ISIS in power in Syria, and all these attack them, thirsty Republicans -- I`m not saying you -- but you would be getting and that opposite of what you wanted, you would have emboldened the real bad guys?

HUCKABEE: It depends on when you intervened in Syria, because the original Syrian rebel opposition was in opposition to Assad. They were a Syrian freedom movement.

CAVUTO: But they had ISIS elements.

HUCKABEE: Well, but what happened, ISIS saw this as an opening. Let`s get rid of Assad, we can take over.

So they in essence hijacked what was a freedom movement and it became an ISIS movement.

CAVUTO: Would you a year ago have done that?

HUCKABEE: Would I have intervened?

CAVUTO: Yes.

HUCKABEE: More like two years ago. You would had to have done it long before there was a definition...

CAVUTO: Before ISIS could have festered?

HUCKABEE: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Well, the reason why I mentioned to this particular issue, Governor, not to put you on the spot, but saying...

HUCKABEE: Yes. You want to put me on the spot.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, yes.

HUCKABEE: Yes.

CAVUTO: At 5:00 in the morning, you came in from Israel. And you outnumbered -- I figure you`re Silly Putty right now.

HUCKABEE: Yes. OK.

CAVUTO: I wondered about this because Chris Christie, too, has been beyond vague on, I think, just illegal immigration.

Do we have the bite or is just -- this is the quote: "I won`t have anything to say on immigration unless and until I become a candidate for President of the United States."

He goes on to say, "If that happens, then I will articulate a full position on it."

Are you kidding me?

HUCKABEE: I think he is buying himself some time, because this is a sticky wicket for anybody who talks about it. But if he is going to run for president, he better come up with an answer pretty quick because that one won`t work.

CAVUTO: Now, when you declared for president, obviously, you were governor of Arkansas. You had to now think national, global positions on issues. No one took your seriously when you first started, and then, boom, you come out with Iowa and everything else, you`re a serious candidate. What do you do?

HUCKABEE: I think one of the challenges when you`re a governor is that people assume that you only understand domestic issues.

What they don`t recognize is that you have probably run trade missions all over the world. You have dealt with not just as part of a group, but you have done deals with CEOs of multinational companies.

CAVUTO: Well, what do you think of what he is doing, Governor Christie in Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I assume he is probably doing a trade mission.

Governors do it all the time. It`s not uncommon. It`s not out of the ordinary. In fact, it`s a very ordinary thing for governors of all the states to do trade mission work, because most of them have businesses in their state...

CAVUTO: Right.

HUCKABEE: ... that have multinational connections. And it`s part of the job of being a governor.

CAVUTO: But governors are always judged -- there`s -- there`s -- particularly on something from the states they have -- "I have run a state" -- so you`re judged on how many jobs you brought, whether the unemployment goes down, things are improving.

Is -- forget Bridgegate or whatever, because many argue that is not going anywhere. Is that going to be Christie`s trouble, do you think?

HUCKABEE: I don`t think so. There`s never been any evidence that tied him directly to calling the order, calling the code red, as Tom Cruise might say.

CAVUTO: Right.

It might be -- I don`t think Bridgegate will matter. These other things might, the big macro issues going on in New Jersey...

HUCKABEE: Anything can. That`s the trouble with politics today. Something that doesn`t even look like it`s an issue can be the issue, and the things that you think are going to be big become small and nobody cares.

CAVUTO: Well, all of these guys who are now dancing around specific answers to issues, like Rand Paul on what he meant by ISIS and how to deal with them and how to separate himself from his father and libertarian, just hands off, Chris Christie on I will speak on these issues if and when I feel like it -- that`s not what he said.

How does that register?

HUCKABEE: It doesn`t register well.

And I will tell you what they`re going to find out. If you say something like that to the press, that`s like just tossing them a piece of red meat, and they`re going to chew on it until they`re down to the bone.

And so if you say, I`m not going to answer that question, then that`s the only question you`re going to get asked until you answer that question.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: That is true, isn`t it?

HUCKABEE: Guaranteed. That`s how it works.

CAVUTO: That is true.

HUCKABEE: Yes.

CAVUTO: Governor, it`s always a pleasure.

HUCKABEE: Thanks.

CAVUTO: You have had a long day. You`re like Jerry Lewis at the end of the telethon.

(LAUGHTER)

HUCKABEE: I should pull my tie off, yes.

CAVUTO: There you go. And you can catch him this weekend, the man who doesn`t sleep.

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