Mike Huckabee, former Republican presidential candidate and Governor of Arkansas, discussed the possibility of seeking the Republican presidential nomination once more in 2016 while speaking at the Institute of Politics Monday evening.
“Honestly, I just need to see, politically and financially, a viable path to the nomination,” Huckabee said. “And if I feel like there is, I feel like I have ideas that belong on the national stage. Maybe I’ll give it a shot.”
The event was moderated by IOP Director C.M. Trey Grayson '94, with conversation mostly gravitating towards Huckabee’s early political career, the operation of his state government, and the difficulties of running a national campaign.
Huckabee was first elected to office after a special election for lieutenant governor in 1993, when former United States president Bill Clinton left the position for the White House. Huckabee spoke about the 12 years he spent in the pastorate prior to seeking public office, which he described as a detour that nearly became his final career choice.
After the discussion, Huckabee fielded questions from the crowd on topics including gay marriage, abortion, and the future of the Republican party. When speaking on the vital role that compromise plays in quality government, he criticized the hostile nature of the Washington political theater.
“The atmosphere [in Washington] is so polarized,” Huckabee said. “Both sides have decided that they want everything and they want it now, and if you want everything and you want it now, you’ll get nothing and you’ll get it forever.”
He also said he was disappointed in both President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for deviating from the positions they took against gay marriage in 2008.
Huckabee’s comments elicited several combative reactions from one audience member, who interrupted the governor several times, also questioning Huckabee's comments on gay marriage.
Huckabee is the first of three conservative heavy-hitters to appear on campus in the coming weeks. 2008 GOP presidential nominee and Arizona Senator John McCain will speak at the IOP next Wednesday, and former GOP presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will be on campus next Friday.
—Staff writer Conor J. Reilley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @c_reilley.