Mike Huckabee on Super Tuesday

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 4, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is still in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But his polling looks to be a bit soft right now. He joins us from Little Rock.

All right. After all the polls from the 22 Super Tuesday states, you are competing well in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee right now. So how do you see this whole thing?

MIKE HUCKABEE, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day, but not the end of the story. Somebody has to get 1,191 delegates. It's all about delegates, not states. We think those states you just mentioned, add Oklahoma and Arkansas, good states for us. And West Virginia.

And so we believe we'll be still in the race after tomorrow based on the fact that nobody's going to have enough delegates to call it a day.

O'REILLY: OK. Now McCain does well tomorrow — and I just want to cite Oklahoma. You got — this is the Sooner poll — got McCain 40, Romney 17, Huckabee, 10. That's what the Sooner poll has. West Virginia, we don't have any polling out of there.

But let's say McCain does well, and you pick up a couple of states, and Romney does OK in three or four states, and McCain doesn't have enough. Yet he has the money coming in. He looks like the front-runner by a wide margin. Why then would you stay in if you couldn't really overtake him in delegates? Why would you stay in?

HUCKABEE: Well, because I just don't believe in giving up just because it looks like something. You know, it looked like the New England Patriots had the Super Bowl wrapped up. Everybody thought they were on the way to a perfect season. The Giants had a different idea about it. There are always those moments in which the horse in front that's way out front can stumble and fall and break his leg. So the one thing I know is that if I leave the field, I can't win.


HUCKABEE: That's what I know.

O'REILLY: Well, it's an interesting thing, sure. Anything can happen at any time. And if you're there, and haven't withdrew, then you're still a player, whereas a guy like John Edwards and a guy like Rudy Giuliani withdrew, they're out of it forever.

Now, there have been people to complain that you have siphoned off support for Mitt Romney, that you guys are dividing the conservative vote leaving the field up open for McCain, who picked up the Giuliani delegates. And you say?

HUCKABEE: Well, I'd say that's ridiculous. First of all, what an arrogant presumption that if people don't vote for me, they're going to vote for Romney. I'm consistent on the Second Amendment, and he's not. I'm consistent on pro-life; he isn't. I'm consistent on the marriage amendment; he's not. I've been consistent about the surge and consistent about the Bush tax cuts.

Take any issue. He's had several sides of it. I think if people want a conservative candidate, they've got one. I'm their choice. You know, I think it's ridiculous for Mitt to try to suggest that...

O'REILLY: Well, I didn't say he suggested it.

HUCKABEE: Well according to the Associated Press and CNN and some other networks, he and his surrogates have suggested....

O'REILLY: Yes, I don't know if I would believe those. Governor, with all due respect to you, you're a much smarter guy than I am. Don't believe the press unless you hear it here, OK? Unless you hear it from me, don't believe them. Because these people all have agendas all day along.

HUCKABEE: Well, here's another way to look at it. Could it be just as fair to say that Mitt Romney is taking votes from me?

O'REILLY: Yes, absolutely can say that. I mean, he's running a bit ahead of you in delegates and a bit ahead of you in the polling. But absolutely that's a fair question.

Now John McCain, we pointed out at the top of the program, was dead in the water in the summer; made a stunning comeback. If you had to point to one thing that has propelled his comeback, governor, what would it be?

HUCKABEE: I think it probably was South Carolina. I think his edging us out ever so slightly there was what gave him an extraordinary...

O'REILLY: OK, but that's the vote tab. But I mean in the psyche of the American public, was there a certain turning point issue, certain thing he did to get himself back into the fray?

HUCKABEE: No, I don't think so. I mean, as I look at the race, and believe me I'm looking at it everyday...

O'REILLY: Yes, I know.

HUCKABEE: I think it was more that the media had come to this conclusion that he was the inevitable. He was the guy who was just unstoppable. And that's one of the frustrations.

The media shouldn't be picking the president, you know. The New York Times today did a piece on the CNN debate and the fact that they specifically locked the cameras on two candidates, showing that the media can very much influence the perception.


HUCKABEE: And that's really what it means.

O'REILLY: But everybody knows that, governor. I mean, McCain has gotten much more favorable media coverage than you or Romney has. Everybody knows that.


O'REILLY: But believe me, if McCain is the Republican nominee, the same media that's giving him good coverage now are going to turn and try to cut his throat because the media in America wants to elect a Democratic president. Eighty percent of them are actively working to do that. You're absolutely right. That is a perversion of our Constitution. It should not be happening, but it absolutely is happening.

I'm going to give you the last word, governor. You are nice enough to come on on Super Tuesday eve. We appreciate it.

HUCKABEE: Well, the reason I want to do your show is I feel like I'm going to get a fair shake. And that's the reason that I like going on Bill O'Reilly. You're going to let the people make the decision. You haven't picked a candidate and gone out there and tried to promote one over another. I think people listen to you because you let your guest actually present his own case.

People are looking for leadership; people who have the experience. And Bill, I think when they look at all the factors, they need somebody who has the vision, the stamina, the background to say I know how to make decisions and to make them work in a practical way. I'm still looking for a smooth stone tomorrow against the giants, and I believe it'll happen. And I'm looking forward to being back on the show to talk to you about that unexpected victory.

O'REILLY: No, absolutely. You're always welcome, governor, even if it doesn't go your way. You're always welcome. And I appreciate the compliment very much. Good luck, sir.

HUCKABEE: Thank you very much, sir.

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