Mike Huckabee: Eastwood a better constitutional lawyer than Obama

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, 'YOUR WORLD' HOST: All right, we have got GOP presidential former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on all of this.

What do you think, Governor?

MIKE HUCKABEE, R, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's very important the court rule according to the law and according to the Constitution.

Presidents are limited by the constraints of the executive branch. This is a president who has showed his incompetence by not working with Congress and instead just going out on his own. You just can't do that. My gosh, Neil, if I had been able to do that as a governor and just do what I wanted to do, without having to deal with the legislature, my life would have been so much easier.


HUCKABEE: But I couldn't do that, because we have the law and the Constitution that tells us what our limits are.

Clint Eastwood is a better constitutional lawyer than Barack Obama, because at least he said a man has just got to know his limitations.

CAVUTO: OK, because I was thinking he had a couple of other lines from movies. I didn't know that one.


HUCKABEE: He had a few more.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you, Governor. The governor of Iowa, Governor Branstad, has apparently told people, look, you can look at anyone you want in the state running for president, but not this guy Cruz, saying -- and I'm quoting here, sir -- "He's heavily financed by big oil. So, we think, once Iowans realize that fact, they might find other things attractive, but he could be very damaging to our state.

Obviously, Mr. Branstad is referring to the ethanol dust-up and whether Ted Cruz would be supportive of that key industry in Iowa.

What are your reactions to all this?

HUCKABEE: Well, let's keep in mind and put it into context. Governor Branstad was talking about an industry that supplies 75,000 jobs to the state of Iowa, as well as other states across the country, agricultural states.

I come from an agricultural state, understand how valuable it is. He also wanted to make sure people understood there are billions of dollars of investment that have been made because the federal government mandated the RFS, the Renewable Fuel Standards.

Now, if the federal government comes back in, after creating the mandates, after the program has been a success, greener, cleaner energy, higher octane, use of all the products of -- of the agricultural products that are going into ethanol, then coming out and saying, no, we're going to get rid of it, that would be the classic government boondoggle to order something done, and when it works, then pull the rug out from under it.

CAVUTO: Do you think Senator Cruz is being a phony?

HUCKABEE: Well, he's changed his position on a number of things. That's just one of them.

I think people are beginning to see that, for the guy who bills himself as the consistent conservative, there's not much consistency, whether it's immigration, H-1B visa, whether it's ethanol, whether it's issues like birthright citizenship. The hits just keep coming.

And I think at some point, what I'm hoping is that people are going to say, you know, eight years ago, we gave record numbers of votes in the caucus to a guy that hasn't changed. He's still the same guy. And he's done nothing in eight that would cause us to be the least bit embarrassed.

He's not had to walk back his positions. And I think perhaps maybe they will be comforted in the fact that we can verify that I was born in Hope, Arkansas. And it is absolutely established, Neil, that a person can be president if he was born in Hope, Arkansas. We do have a precedent on that one.

CAVUTO: Many in your party have a problem with Arkansas, I guess, which is not fair or right.

But let me ask you, Governor. A lot of has been said. And you mentioned the whole citizenship issue with Senator Cruz. A lot of people say it's much ado about nothing, but they point as well to Donald Trump saying that Ted Cruz, he is not a likable person, that's he's hated in the Senate. Do you think this kind of stuff goes too far?

HUCKABEE: Look, well, I don't think there's any doubt about his citizenship. No question he's a U.S. citizen.

The question is over the natural born, what does that mean? I don't know.
I'm not a lawyer. I'm comfortable, in fact, I'm very proud of the fact of telling you I'm not a lawyer. I don't lawyer things to death. I tell it straight, and I tell it the same way.

CAVUTO: But you just planted a seed of doubt right -- you just planted a seed of doubt right there.

HUCKABEE: Well, no, I didn't. Well, it wasn't me.

Look, you have got some of the finest constitutional scholars in the country who are saying that this is an issue. Some are outright saying it's an eligibility question. Others are saying they don't know. It's not settled law.


HUCKABEE: I think just, whether I agree with it or not, it's a question that has come up and certainly needs to be resolved.

CAVUTO: You know, another blow, maybe to you as well, sir, is that Sarah Palin is going to be supporting Donald Trump. What do you think of that?

HUCKABEE: I'm not as surprised maybe as some people.

She's a very independent, very strong rock star within the conservative movement. And I congratulate Donald Trump for getting the endorsement.
She never had endorsed me before, so it's not, I think, a big challenge.
But she has endorsed Ted Cruz when he ran for the Senate. And that's got to be more of a blow to his campaign than it would be necessarily to me or one of the other candidates that she had not aligned with previously.

CAVUTO: I was thinking when you won Iowa eight years ago, and it can be a surprising state, never -- rarely, at least, how the polls go. No one saw Obama winning it. No one saw you winning it.


CAVUTO: No one saw Rick Santorum four years later winning it.

Certainly, no one saw the guy who started this big emphasis on Iowa, Jimmy Carter, winning it. So, do you think we're all getting it wrong, all we hot shots in the media are just getting it wrong, that the polls are missing something?

HUCKABEE: Well, Neil, I wasn't going to call you guys a bunch of hot shots, but, since you brought it up...

CAVUTO: If you could play along, though, I would like you to.


HUCKABEE: Yes, I think that...



CAVUTO: OK, good.

HUCKABEE: So, you're the hot shots in the media.

And, yes, I think you guys have based it on polls that were made with a few hundred people. Iowa voters -- and you just kind of went through the litany all the way back for the past 40 years -- Iowa voters always surprise people on caucus night.

CAVUTO: They do.

HUCKABEE: And if I didn't think that Iowa voters would surprise people, if I thought this thing was over and the polls were right, I guarantee you I wouldn't be scheduling 150 events in January in Iowa.

It's cold up here.


HUCKABEE: And I'm doing it because I think that there's a lot to be determined.

CAVUTO: All right.

HUCKABEE: You bet I do.

And you know what I think it is? People in Iowa, they care about a lot more than polls. They care about their position in life. And a lot of them are taking it on the chin. The economy is cruel to them. I talked to a guy in Davenport last week, and this guy makes $59,000 a year. You know what his health insurance is under Obamacare is this year? Twenty-eight thousand dollars.

Now, that -- that is a gut punch. And that's is what people are feeling out here.

CAVUTO: Governor, thank you very much for taking the time. We always enjoy it.

HUCKABEE: Thank you. Thank you.

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