Mike Huckabee Says He's Still Running Because 'The Game's Not Over'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: We get right to our top story tonight, Super Tuesday II is just four short days away. Could this be the end of the road for Mike Huckabee? He joins us now from Houston, Texas, where he is still campaigning. Governor, good to see you.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Sean. Good to talk to you tonight.

HANNITY: All right. Look, first of all, you said, and one of the things I want to get to tonight, is that one of the reasons you are staying in the race at this particular point is because Senator McCain may run afoul of the Federal Election Commission, and be unable to pay for his campaign for the rest of the year. What did you mean by that?

HUCKABEE: Well, if the ruling holds that is a part of his own law, it could be that he has pretty much spent all of the money that he can spend from now until September, when he becomes the nominee if, in fact, he gets the 1,191 delegates.

The real issue is, what I have said is: until somebody gets those delegates, Republicans ought to continue to have a choice, a voice, and a vote. I think it's absurd for us just to assume let's call the game because someone is close to the finish line. Wait until they get to the finish line until we call it a day.

HANNITY: That's been your argument all along, governor. I'm not here to tell you to get in or — to stay in or get out of the race here. But let's look at the polls. For example, we have the latest Zogby poll, as it relates to this race, and as it relates to you and Senator McCain. He has 53.4 percent. You have got 26.8 percent. He is ahead in Ohio. He is way ahead in delegates. If these numbers were to hold on Tuesday, would that, in any way cause to you reconsider?

HUCKABEE: Well, if those numbers hold and that means he gets enough delegates to claim the nomination, of course it would. That's what I have said. I have never changed my story. You know, the thing I have had to deal with every day is being asked not once but about 10 times a day, "how come you are still in the race?" I give the same answer every time. I still get the same question. The answer is the game over.

What is so hard for people to understand? Why would we be quitters? Republicans are not quitters. We get in this thing to win. We get in it to fight. We get in it to take a stake on our positions. I'm not arguing with you, Sean. Because, honestly, you have not asked that question as much as I'm getting it out here in the field.

My point is, right now I'm the only candidate in this race that supports the Human Life Amendment, the only one that supports the Fair Tax, the only one that supports the Federal Marriage Amendment, the only one that supports a real plan for border security, that ends amnesty and builds a literal fence. We have seen Congress goof that up this week with another 88 million dollar disaster. We need some leadership.

HANNITY: Look, I agree with you on a lot of those issues, including the fair tax, which I think would be the best thing for our economy, governor. I agree with you on immigration. We have debated the issues where I have had some disagreements with you when you were governor.


HANNITY: That's not the point. I think what a lot of people are saying here is that Senator McCain has such a big lead, that Governor Romney still has more delegates than you have at this point, and he has been out of the race for quite a period of time. And I guess what people are wondering is, you know, should the party now unite around the person — you know, mathematically when you just look at the numbers you have to win about 85 percent of the remaining delegates. Governor, that is daunting task. There is no nobody that thinks mathematically that's possible. That's why the question keeps coming up. So, in fairness to the media coverage—

HUCKABEE: Sean, let's talk about the math.

HANNITY: Governor, in fairness to you, can I say one thing? You have run a great campaign. You started with nothing.

HUCKABEE: Thank you.

HANNITY: You had no money. You were going through airports by yourself on commercial airlines.

HUCKABEE: That's right.

HANNITY: So I think you ought to be proud of where you are. I really mean that.

HUCKABEE: Well, but let's talk about the math for a minute. When people say, look, the math isn't working; it's interesting that not two of the networks have the same delegate count. I think there is some math for somebody to figure out. If it's such an exacting science, how come no new two networks, no two news organizations can give the exact number of delegates?

And the fact is that if no one gets those 1191 — that's possible — then it's highly possible that this could go to the convention. And the convention delegates would decide. Now, my big question is, what is the big hurry? What difference does it make if I were to stay in this race through Texas, and give the people of Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont a chance to vote? You know, one of the things that I want to point out, Texas is the largest Republican state in the country. Why should the people of Texas have their votes determined before they even get a chance to vote by people that live in New York, New Jersey, and other places?

HANNITY: Governor, look, I am looking at the numbers and often polls can be wrong. If you win all four states on Tuesday, you have every right to stay in and I would argue that, at that point, you are a competitor. But if you lose all four states on Tuesday, which is a possibility, and the polls are not showing that you are doing that well right now, it becomes a different story, and then I think there is going to be a lot more pressure for you to pull out.

HUCKABEE: I'm sure there will be. If John McCain gets 1191, there won't be a lot of pressure, because I have said that once he gets to that — by the way, it needs to be that those numbers get consistent somewhere, because they are not right now by anybody's count. When they are, I have said, you know, I'm going to accept that the people have spoken. But they haven't spoken yet, Sean. That's what I don't understand is why everybody is in such a rush to get this settled in March. You know, we have only been in this election process about six, not quite eight weeks yet. We have got six more months before we even get to the convention.

ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm glad you are in the race. Good to see you. Thanks for coming on the show.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Alan.

COLMES: Does John McCain have a problem, we touched on this with Sean on the issue of funds, if he sticks to federal matching funds, as he has once said he would do, based on a law he co-wrote, he is going to have a problem between now and the convention, and doesn't that open the door for you?

HUCKABEE: It very well may. And, again, the only way that I know that I can absolutely lose is to quit. The road to victory is very complicated and very, very challenging and daunting for me. I fully understand that, but I know what the road to defeat is. All I have got to do is quit. That I understand very easily.

COLMES: Are you offering Republicans a choice in that your path and your presidency would be very different than a John McCain presidency?

HUCKABEE: Well, it would be different. I would push for a Human Life Amendment. I think that that's an important issue for Americans to settle, just like slavery was 150 years ago. I would push for a border fence. I would make sure that we actually dealt with this problem and didn't let it linger like Congress has.

I'd do something in Washington that they haven't done that I did as a governor. I would balance the budget. I would push for the Fair Tax. I wouldn't just say I hope it happens. I would go out and sell it. There are some things that I think would help this economy. People in America are in trouble today. Nobody's got any ideas coming out of Washington that aren't just piddling ideas. We need something bold and the Fair Tax is a bold idea that would revitalize American economy.

COLMES: Just yesterday, John Hagee endorsed John McCain. I understand you were disappointed by that. You have preached at his church. Yet, he has come under fire by Bill Donahue of the Catholic League for what he is claiming are anti-Catholic statements, calling his religion the great whore, an apostate church, the anti-Christ, and a false cult system. Bill Donahue of the Catholic League and other Catholics are quite upset by that and says John McCain should renounce that endorsement. Where do you stand on that?

HUCKABEE: I have a lot of support from Catholics. In fact, my campaign manager, campaign chairman, policy director, about half my senior staff are members of the Catholic Church. So nobody can even think for a moment — plus, I have extraordinary support from Catholics, because I'm the only true pro-life candidate in this race. So I do get, I think, exceptional support. I'm not going to get into the issue of Reverend Hagee and Senator McCain. I was disappointed that he didn't support me. I think he should have. But those are his decisions.

COLMES: So you would want Hagee's endorsement. John McCain had to come out today with another statement that he does not agree with everything Hagee said, but he didn't renounce it in the same way that Barack Obama renounced the support and endorsement of Louis Farrakhan.

HUCKABEE: Well, look, you know, I'm not in a position right now where I'm renouncing anybody's support, Alan. I'm glad to get every vote I can get. But I don't have to agree with people who support me. That doesn't mean that I support everything they stand for. Now, if you want me to renounce something John Hagee said, let me renounce something. I renounce his endorsement of John McCain. I think that was something that I can easily repudiate. That's an easy one.

COLMES: You don't renounce statements about Catholic Church.

HUCKABEE: I absolutely disagree with John Hagee on his view of the Catholic Church. I have never heard him personally express it, but I have heard from others that he has. He is wrong about that. The Catholic Church, I believe, represents a moral center. I'm very grateful for the leadership they have given on the life issue. Frankly, my own denomination, the Baptists, had to take their cues from the Catholics. We came dragging along in the late 1970s. We should have been at the forefront, instead of the back side of that. I'm grateful for their leadership, consistency and tenacity.

COLMES: Governor, thank you for coming on our show once again.

HUCKABEE: Thank you so much.

COLMES: Thanks very much.

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