Huckabee's Take: The Last Presidential Debate

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 15, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has been in his share of debates. In fact, he has debated Senator McCain many times. The governor joins us live from Little Rock, and you can also see the governor every Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on his brand new show "Huckabee" right here on FNC.

And, governor, I guess I know how you figured out the name of your new show, but we'll leave that one for another time.

Governor, I understand, though, this new show that you have a guest. You're going to have Joe the plumber.

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: We've got Joe the plumber booked for Saturday. I don't think when we booked him we had a real understanding that he's going to be the hottest person in America. But for people who want to get a real insight into what he's thinking and how he's looking at this newfound celebrity, they can tune in Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 Eastern and see us talk about it. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I'm excited about having him on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, do you have any thoughts on how we can measure, because we got this big voodoo trying to figure out who won, who lost, and what impact? Do you have any thoughts on how we access what those undecided in the battleground states, because those are the ones -- those are the ones who will now pick our president?

Watch Greta's interview with fromer Gov. Mike Huckabee

HUCKABEE: I got to be honest with you, Greta. Sometimes it's amusing to me after the debate in the spin room and you know, the Democrats think they got one. The Republicans will always say they got one.

My prospective is this. If this were a bowling match, Senator McCain needed a strike. He left a seven and 10 pins, and while it's a hard pick up, it's not impossible.

And here is what I would tell you about Senator McCain, and I have debated him. Don't ever count this guy out. He didn't have the kind of performance tonight where everybody goes, oh, wow, that did it. But what he did was to stay in the game, and for him, he has a remarkable capacity to surprise people at the end.

Tonight wasn't a game-changer. I think anybody who says that it was just isn't being honest about it. Here's what was interesting to me.

I thought Senator McCain stayed in the shallow end of the pool when he should have gone deep. He had a couple of opportunities to go really after Obama, whether it was on Ayers or ACORN. And the truth is Sean Hannity has done more and effectively to expose the Bill Ayers connection than John McCain was willing to do in his own debate tonight, and that's one of those missed opportunities.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you say stay in the game, but the problem is staying in the game was really important if it weren't for the fact, at least for Senator McCain that he is so close up to the election. I mean, it's not enough to stay in the game for me at this point. At least if you -- if you look at the numbers, and I realize that they're all within the margin of error.


VAN SUSTEREN: But he's at the lower end of the margin, you'd rather have the upper end. So, how does he change that if indeed he's going to by Election Day?

HUCKABEE: Well, by staying in the game, he still needs some remarkable sort of last moment close. But what I'm saying is John McCain has been counted out so many times, and then something amazing happens right there at the end, and it gives him just what he needs.

So that's why while all the polls and all the trends and all the prognostications would clearly indicate that this is Obama's to lose and it's certainly breaking his way, I would just say based on my own unfortunate personal experience, don't count John McCain out just yet. But I was also honest in saying the debate was not the game changer tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I certainly didn't mean (ph) but you have to be pragmatic about these things and say that, yes, don't count him out. I would never count Senator McCain out. He has proven us wrong so many times before, but still the clock is running, and something at least has got to change -- is got to tip in his favor.

HUCKABEE: Well, he might want to let Sean Hannity go out, because Sean has -- you know, I keep bringing him up --- but he has made a very effective case about particularly Bill Ayers, and John McCain has just not been willing to take that same direction. Maybe he will, but I don't think that's really going to affect him. And I believe it was Jonathan Martin who just said, and I agree with him, that it's too late for this, or maybe it was Dick Morris. At this point, he's got to show, here's why I would be a better president. Here's what I'm going to do to change America's future, not its past.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. 8:00 this weekend. Don't miss it with the governor. Thank you, governor.

HUCKABEE: Thank you. Be sure to watch Joe the plumber on Saturday with us.

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