Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who for six and a half years hosted a show on Fox News Channel, made a stop Thursday in Jefferson at the Pizza Ranch, where many on hand were fans of his Fox News show.Mike Huckabee shakes the hand Thursday of Pat McGinnis, of Jefferson, at the Pizza Ranch during a campaign stop.

Huckabee: I’ve beaten the Clintons before

’08 caucus winner tells local crowd he has what it takes to win


Mike Huckabee told voters crammed last Thursday afternoon into the Jefferson Pizza Ranch that he’s the only Republican presidential candidate who’s beaten the Clintons “and lived to tell about doing so.”

The former Arkansas governor — who shares a hometown, Hope, Ark., with former President Bill Clinton — touted the fact that he won and kept office in his home state in the shadow of a massive political apparatus built by the Clintons there.

Huckabee, who served as governor from 1996 to 2007, said both Clintons came back and campaigned on the side of every opponent he faced in Arkansas.

It’s a foregone conclusion by Republicans that former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential race.

The 59-year-old Huckabee on Thursday became the first of more than a dozen GOP presidential candidates to make the case for himself in Greene County.

With many in attendance telling Huckabee they were fans of his Fox News Channel show, the affable former Baptist minister didn’t disappoint during the event, which was attended by members of the national media.

Huckabee in 2008 won the Iowa caucuses in his first bid for the White House.

“I’m going to do something that Hillary hasn’t done a lot of in Iowa,” he said. “I’m going to take your questions.”

When asked the obligatory question about Obamacare, though, Huckabee didn’t just  automatically vow to repeal it.

He spoke of the need to focus, not on the treatment of health conditions, but on curing them altogether.

Huckabee said he would take a cue from President John F. Kennedy — who in 1961 vowed to put a man on the moon by decade’s end — and vow to eradicate heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes within 10 years.

Obamacare, he said, only benefits big insurance companies.

“Folks,” he said, “I’m a 59-year-old man. I have maternity coverage. Why? Because Obamacare mandates I must.”

Huckabee joked that he’s not worried about becoming pregnant, nor is he worried about paying for it should it happen — a reality TV deal alone, he quipped, would more than cover the costs.

Not surprisingly, the former pastor spoke of a need for the nation to regain its “moral clarity.”

He warned of “judicial tyranny” and alluded that, as president, he would ignore Supreme Court decisions on abortion and same-sex marriage, just as Lincoln had with the infamous Dred Scott decision, the court’s 1857 ruling that African-Americans were not, and could never be, U.S. citizens.

The Supreme Court, he reiterated, can’t make laws.

Throughout the event Thursday, Huckabee kept circling back to his support of the Fair Tax as a way to get the country back on solid economic footing.

“We need an economy that works for people who lift heavy things and sweat through their clothes,” he said.

The Fair Tax — in which a sales tax would replace income tax — would bring $11 trillion in offshore private capital back to the United States, he said. Multinational corporations, he said, were established in the first place as a way to escape the current U.S. tax system.

The Fair Tax also would ensure that people who don’t pay income taxes — “prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers” and “illegals” — begin to pay their share.

“When you go buy something, you pay the tax at point of consumption,” Huckabee explained.

Huckabee also continued his criticism of President Obama’s recent nuclear deal with Iran, saying it was like giving a bullet to a person holding a gun to your head.

All they have to do now, he said, is cock the hammer.

For decades, he said, Iran has promised to wipe Israel off the map.

“You do not beat a bully by being weak in front of the bully,” he said.

Huckabee — who’s far behind the likes of billionaire Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in national polls — is among the GOP candidates who will take part Aug. 6 in the first Republican presidential primary debate, hosted by Fox News and Facebook in Cleveland.

Other notable moments and quotes from Huckabee’s campaign stop Thursday in Jefferson:

• He promised not to touch Social Security and Medicare, unlike many of his fellow Republicans.

• “Prohibit nothing, disclose everything,” is his view on campaign contributions.

• Huckabee said he took his first trip to the Middle East at age 17 in 1973 and has traveled that part of the world extensively since.

• “America is the greatest country on Earth,” he said. “I don’t want America to just be ‘one of the guys.’ We’ve never just been one of the guys.”

• He wants the kind of military “nobody would ever be stupid enough to engage.”

• He’s against Common Core and wants the federal government out of education.

• He looks at the GOP presidential field as if they’re all trying out to be quarterback.

He said he wants to be quarterback because of the way he plays, “not because I broke the legs of the rest of the team.”

And that’s why he said he doesn’t talk publicly about other candidates.

• He’s never had even a sip of beer.

But it’s not a moral thing, he said.

He just remembers smelling beer once and being told you have to “develop a taste” for it.

He passed.

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