Mike Huckabee photo

Interview with Tim Russert on NBC News' "Meet the Press"

December 30, 2007

RUSSERT: Governor Mike Huckabee, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

HUCKABEE: Thank you very much, Tim. Pleasure to be back.

RUSSERT: You've dropped nine points in less than a month. What happened?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think the polls are all over the place. We have some that show us up eight points. This one that came out today shows us down nine. I don't think anybody has a clue. We'll find out Thursday night how they're doing.

RUSSERT: Do you think some of the commercials that have been on the air talking about your record have hurt?

HUCKABEE: Well, they may have. I mean, people in Iowa have been bombarded. I mean, bombarded. Not only on commercials, but in the mail, at a time when most people were kind of looking forward to going out to the mailbox and picking up some nice Christmas cards, instead they were finding out what a bum Mike Huckabee is. And I don't know what kind of effect it has. People of Iowa, I think, like a positive campaign. But the relentless attacks--and they have been relentless. And when you're outspent 20-to-1, as I have been here in Iowa, you know, I think it's pretty amazing that I'm where I am.

RUSSERT: But has Mitt Romney said anything that's untrue about you?

HUCKABEE: How long do we have on the program today? He's said many things that are untrue. He said that I reduced methamphetamine sentences in Arkansas. Truth is I signed a bill in 1999 that doubled those sentences. We did not reduce them. Our sentences were four times harsher than they were in Massachusetts. He said that I supported special breaks for illegal aliens. That's not true, Tim. We supported simply giving children who had earned a scholarship the same--it never happened, it didn't make the legislature. He made allegations that our increased spending by ridiculous amounts, and The New York Times came back and defended that, and said that's just simply not true. And they took him apart and showed that the increases in spending were, frankly, the same if not a little better than his if you took into consideration the accounting methods we changed in Arkansas, very modest gains in spending.

He made claims about things like tax increases, but he failed to mention that some of those were either court ordered or they were voted on by the people and approved by the people for things as roads. And I left my roads in great shape, took them from the worst in the country to what Truckers magazine said were the most improved. He left his roads in a mess in Massachusetts, with huge problems in the infrastructure. He claimed that he didn't raise taxes, but, in fact, he did raise taxes by half a billion dollars.


HUCKABEE: Fees. It's a tax. If you're a small business person and you pay more money than you paid last year to the government, you can call it a fee, call it a tax, it's a three letter word that means the same.

RUSSERT: But you raised taxes, and the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, gave you a D and an F for your tenureship as governor. So there have been some legitimate criticisms of you as a Republican for raising taxes and for spending money.

HUCKABEE: Well, I don't think they're legitimate criticisms when you improve education for the children of your state or when you build highways that give you economic incentives and capacities that, frankly, created the lowest unemployment numbers that our state had over had over a sustained period of time. We saw more new jobs created. That's what being a governor is about. It's about creating opportunities for the people of your state.

RUSSERT: Even if it means raising taxes?

HUCKABEE: Well, in some cases, you know, I cut 94 taxes. People forget what we did do on a positive nature: eliminated the marriage penalty, indexed the income tax for inflation so low-income people weren't paying high tax rates. So what we tried to do in tax policy by doubling the child care tax credit and by raising the threshold at which people paid, we untaxed a lot of the poor people and gave them a shot at actually making it up the economic ladder.

Now, when we raised taxes, it was one of two things, either to meet an educational demand--our schools were deemed by the courts to be unconstitutional. In Arkansas, we've been down the road of a governor defying the courts and saying, 'I'm not going to follow the court order.' Didn't turn out real well. I wasn't going to be the second Arkansas governor to do that. In fact, I'm proud of the fact that we raised teacher pay, proud of the fact that, in every year we tested kids, we saw vast improvements in their test scores, things were--got better, not worse. And education was my ticket out of the, out of the bottom of the economic spectrum. Education is a key for every child. And I want to make sure that if we're going to spend more money--and the court said we have to--then the next thing is, let's make sure we spend it well and we spend it wisely.

RUSSERT: Let me turn to foreign policy, specifically Pakistan. Do you believe that the government of Pakistan should postpone the elections in light of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto?

HUCKABEE: I think that's their decision to make. Clearly, January 8th coming so soon and--after the assassination, it may be problematic for President Musharraf to, to carry out the elections. Sharif has said that he's going to boycott the elections, so there is some question how much meaning and significance they will have. But I don't think it would be appropriate for me to try to weigh in on whether or not they ought to have the elections in their own country.

RUSSERT: Now, the Council on Foreign Relations published an article that you had written.


RUSSERT: And this is what you advocated for Pakistan: "Rather than wait for the next strike, I prefer to cut to the chase by going after al-Qaeda's safe havens in Pakistan. The threat of an attack on us is far graver than the risk" than "a quick and limited strike against al-Qaeda would bring extremists to power in Pakistan." How soon in your presidency would you launch such a strike?

HUCKABEE: Well, it would depend on how soon we had fixed a target. Back in 2005, Tim, we had soldiers in a C-130, parachutes strapped on their backs, ready to go in and take out Osama bin Laden. They believed that they had found him. And the strike was called back at the last minute, apparently fearing that if they didn't have the permission of the Pakistani government it would create huge problems. I think leaving key al-Qaeda leaders is the most important problem we face today. Taking those targets out is critical.

One of the things I want to point out about that article, I spoke about Pakistan extensively back in September, and a lot of people criticized the article, saying 'You talk so much about Pakistan, and you didn't speak as much about Iran.' You know, a lot of people have criticized my foreign policy views, but the fact is, in light of what's happened in the last week, some of my comments on Pakistan seem almost prophetic.

RUSSERT: But if, in fact, you went into Pakistan in order to take out al-Qaeda, couldn't you very well destabilize the Musharraf regime and help the Taliban take over Pakistan?

HUCKABEE: Oh, I, I don't think it would be an effort to destabilize the Musharraf government. I think what we do have to recognize is we've spent over $10 billion in aid, and the purpose of that aid in Pakistan was to fight terrorism. Now, as we kind of look at where that money's spent, we realize that not that much of it has likely gone to fight terrorism in Pakistan. A lot of it has gone to their military for reasons that didn't have to do with, with terrorism. One of the things that will happen, I believe, as a result of the week's activities is a greater accountability for the money. It is in our best interest for there to be some stability. Right now Musharraf, despite some of the concerns we have about him, represents at least some level of security, more so than if he were ousted immediately. And I don't think it's in the United States' best interest to try to get rid of him. I think Kayani now being in charge of the military is a good thing because, clearly, he's stable, he has a sterling reputation both as a military commander and as a person who is not so political, but I think will give an even hand to the military, which is something Pakistan has needed.

RUSSERT: But, Governor, you know how the man and woman on the street in Pakistan would react to a U.S. intervention into their country. Is it worth destabilizing General Musharraf in order to capture Osama bin Laden?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think the question is, would it destabilize him if we simply went in...

RUSSERT: Is it worth the risk?

HUCKABEE: If it saves American lives, if it potentially takes out al-Qaeda's number one operative, that's a decision that a president would have to make. And if I were sitting there as president, I would weigh all that information. But let me make sure that everybody understands the number one job for the American president is to protect this country, to do every and anything that it can do to make sure that we don't see skyscrapers tumble to the ground in major cities like we did on September 11th. Whatever we must do to protect our sovereignty against those whose ideologies are so extreme that they would do something so cowardly and so dastardly as to take thousands of innocent lives in that kind of terrorist action, yes sir, you better believe that I'll do anything necessary. I don't want to do it with disregard to what it might do in stabilization of a nation. But sometimes you have to look at all the risk and weigh heavily, but remember that your most single critical job is that of protecting and preserving the American people.

RUSSERT: After the assassination, you made several comments about Pakistan, used some inartful words, you got your geography wrong. The Washington Post wrote this editorial. "The assassination of Benzair Bhutto presented U.S. presidential candidates with a test: Could they respond cogently and clearly to a sudden foreign policy crisis? Republican Mike Huckabee, flunked abysmally.

"His first statement seemed really uninformed: He appeared not to know that Mr. Musharraf had ended 'martial law' two weeks ago. That was better than his next effort, when he said an appropriate U.S. response would include 'very clear monitoring of our borders to make sure if there's any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into our country.' The cynicism of this attempt to connect Pakistan's crisis with anti-immigrant sentiment was compounded by its astonishing senselessness."

Clearly, some of your words were in...

HUCKABEE: What do they really think, Tim? What did they really think in the editorial?

RUSSERT: Pretty specific. But let me ask you about it...


RUSSERT: ...because people your...

HUCKABEE: I do want to respond to the specifics of that.

RUSSERT: In this context. You were governor of Arkansas, you have no real foreign policy experience. Give us a sense of, of Pakistan. How would you describe that country to me?

HUCKABEE: It's 164 million people, 97 percent of them are Muslim. It's a country that does not have a long history of democracy. It's been a relatively unstable country, alternating between military coup. But, but let me go back to some of these issues.

RUSSERT: Primarily Shiite or Sunni?

HUCKABEE: It, it--it's primarily Sunni, and I think we need to recognize that what we have in, in the events that have been described in that editorial, first of all, when they say that about the border, that was taken completely out of, out of context. What I was speaking was how does this event in Pakistan affect people in Iowa? And my point was that a lot of people say, "Well, this is a terrible tragedy to have this terrible act against an outstanding and, and very charismatic leader." But it does affect us. Everything in the world affects us here in the United States. And what I was trying to point out was that our lack of control of our borders--and I quoted the Denver Post article that had 660 Pakistanis arrested, we don't know how many came, that's how many we were, we were catching. I said it was in a one-year period, it was in a four-year period.

RUSSERT: And there were several more other countries that had much larger numbers, according to our State Department.

HUCKABEE: But my point wasn't lost. My point is that if you don't control your borders, then it's not about people coming across from Mexico to pluck chickens and pick lettuce. We're talking about the potential of a person who can come across this border with a dirty bomb in his suitcase, somebody who can come across our borders who might be bringing a shoulder-fired missile. And if we don't have better control of our borders, it does affect the people in Iowa and the rest of America.

RUSSERT: I want to get to immigration in a second. But I want to go back to--stay on foreign policy for a second. And, again, your article in Foreign Affairs journal, you wrote this: "American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad." Give me an example of President Bush's arrogant bunker mentality.

HUCKABEE: When Donald Rumsfeld, despite all the military advice that said we needed 400,000 boots on the ground to be effective in bringing stability and order, arbitrarily said we're going to have 180,000 people there. I think Secretary Gates has done a much better job in, in listening to members of Congress and listening to...

RUSSERT: But that was the president.

HUCKABEE: ...the chief of staff.

RUSSERT: That's not the secretary of defense, that's the president.

HUCKABEE: But it's--but I'm--well, you asked me for a specific, and I'm giving you one. Our administration, led by Secretary Rumsfeld, was very specific in prescribing that we were going to have a light footprint, we were going to put a limited number of troops on the ground. And despite what the military experts were giving as advice, and all the Department of Defense models that spoke about what it would take to bring stability, we ignored those pieces of military advice. We didn't take the advice from the people, I like to say, with blood on their boots and medals on their chest. We made decisions that turned out to be the wrong ones.

RUSSERT: That's it? Arrogant bunker mentality?

HUCKABEE: I think in times we have also given the world the impression that you're either with us 100 percent or you're against us 100 percent. And, and you can't quite deal with foreign governments any more than you can deal with anybody, in that sense, in politics. Politics is about getting as much as you can as often as you can, but recognizing that while you may be against me on an issue today, you may be with me on an issue tomorrow. Try to keep the bridges going. Try to keep roads open as much as possible. And I do think that there have been times in which we have drawn a proverbial line in the sand and made it very clear that it's all or it's nothing. And I think that's what I'm speaking of.

And it's interesting to me that while a few weeks ago on this program Mitt Romney was very critical of me for making that statement, a few months earlier on MEET THE--rather, on "60 Minutes," he himself had talked about the major mistakes that had been made by the administration. He demanded of me an apology, but he did not demand of himself an apology for also being critical, as have most Republicans. Now, I think Republicans are big enough and maybe wise enough that we can be in disagreement with certain policies and still be behind our president and behind this administration in many of the things which they have done right. And I've been very complimentary of the president on the issues where I think he's been right. I stood by him in the war, I stood by him in the surge. I wasn't a latecomer like Mitt Romney was to believing that the surge was effective. And we've seen 76 percent decline in civilian deaths, 62 percent decline in military casualties since the surge began. It is working. We are finally beginning to see those signs of victory in Iraq.

RUSSERT: You're suggesting that Mitt Romney's not running an honorable campaign.

HUCKABEE: I've been very clear about it. Mitt Romney is running a very desperate and, frankly, a dishonest campaign. He's attacked me, and, and yesterday--or Friday, I guess it was, he launched then just a broadside attack against Senator McCain. Now, Senator McCain and I are rivals for the presidency, but I've said on many occasions, I'll say it again here today, Senator McCain is an honorable man, and I believe he's an honest man. I believe he's a man of conviction. And I felt like that, when Mitt Romney went after the integrity of John McCain, he stepped across a line. John McCain's a hero in this country. He's a hero to me.

And I just felt like that when Mitt Romney gets on your show and says that he had the NRA endorsement when he didn't; when he comes on and says he's pro-life and yet he signed a bill that gives a $50 co-pay for an elective abortion in his state's health care plan; when he claims that he's really for the Second Amendment, but he--on this show he talked about how he supported limitations and restrictions on lawful, law-abiding citizens having gun ownership rights, those are not the marks of a person who's pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. And then the things where he's made up these visions that he's had of marching with Martin Luther King and his dad marching with him. You know, Tim, what I've said, and I've been pretty blunt about it, if you aren't being honest in obtaining a job, can we trust you to be honest if you get the job?

RUSSERT: Let me ask you about immigration because it is your consistency on that issue, I think, that is going to be talked about. The debate in November, you were active--talked about shipping, sending illegal immigrants home, and you made this impassioned plea. Let's watch.


HUCKABEE: In all due respect, we're a better country than to punish children for what their parents did. We're a better country than that.

(End videotape)

RUSSERT: "We're a better country than punishing children for what their"...


RUSSERT: ..."parents did."

HUCKABEE: I still believe that, yeah.

RUSSERT: But a week later, after that comment, you came out with this: "The Secure America Plan."


RUSSERT: "Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship" "Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register" "return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply," "those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future re-entry for a period of 10 years." Children born here are American citizens.


RUSSERT: And you were saying that.


RUSSERT: "Don't punish those kids." A week later, you said, "No, no, no, send the parents home," and what happens to the kids?

HUCKABEE: They go with their parents. I mean, I can't imagine a parent not taking their children...

RUSSERT: But they're American citizens. Why do they have to leave the country?

HUCKABEE: Because they're--first, before they're American citizens, they're the children of their parents.

RUSSERT: But aren't we a "better country," to quote someone, than that?

HUCKABEE: Let me be very clear. I stand beside my statement, but here's what we have to do to fix the immigration problem. We've got to seal our border, something our government has been dysfunctional and failed to do. It's also very clear the American people are not going to tolerate people who have gotten here illegally to get in the front of the line. The only way they can get into the back of the line is to go back to the point of origin, to get behind that line, and then modernize that line so it shouldn't take eight years to process a piece of paper to get people the necessary paperwork to be able to do that.

RUSSERT: But, Governor, this is, this is important, because this is what you said back in 2005. "Responding to a question about illegal aliens, Huckabee said 'our economy would collapse' without them."


RUSSERT: Do you believe that?

HUCKABEE: I think it would be very, very difficult to do construction and agriculture without them. That's why we need a policy that puts everyone in this country in a legal position. And, Tim, let me, let me go further.

RUSSERT: But, this, this is...

HUCKABEE: Let me explain why.

RUSSERT: ...important, because your plan says send them all home.

HUCKABEE: No, I did not send them home. They will go home within 120-day window, and then they have the process of starting to return.

RUSSERT: But that's 15 million people. You're saying to do that would collapse the American economy, and now that's exactly what you're proposing.

HUCKABEE: No, I don't think it would collapse the American economy if people went back and did their process of becoming legal. And all of them aren't going to go back on the same day. There's going to be a window of time. How long it's going to take for them to come back, I don't know. But part of the process, the first process, if you read my entire plan, is seal the border. Seal the border. If you don't do that, then you don't have any control of who's here, why they're here and what they're doing. This process has to be modernized. It's our government that's been dysfunctional.

Tim, I stand by many of the state--all of the statements I've made, and one of them has been, let's thank God we live in a country people are trying to break into, not one they're trying to break out of. But let's have a rule of law. Let's make everyone live by it. And let me tell you why I believe my plan is not only a plan that respects the rule of law, but I think it's the most humane plan. Because nobody living in this country ought to live with his head down, ought to live in the shadows, ought to live in fear, ought to live every day looking if there's a police car or a border patrol, running and hiding. I want people to live in this country with their heads up. I want them to be able to, if they're going to work here, to work legally. I want them to be able to pay the same taxes, live under the same laws, and also to be able to have the kind of sense of liberty that this country is bound by. That's what we're trying to achieve. Let's not forget that our federal government has made a mess of this. As a governor, I had to deal with their mess, and I believe, as president, one of the highest priorities is to fix the problem.

RUSSERT: I want to talk about your past as a Baptist minister and your faith. You've talked about your faith being your life.


RUSSERT: You went to the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, and were asked about your political success, and you said, "There's only one explanation for it. It's not a human one," suggesting divine intervention. Then, here in Iowa, you have two ads are on the air. Let's just watch excerpts of both of those.


HUCKABEE: (From ad) Faith doesn't just influence me, it really defines me. I don't have to wake up every day wondering, "What do I need to believe?"

(From ad) At this time of year, sometimes it's nice to pull aside from all of that and just remember that what really matters is the celebration and the birth of Christ.

(End videotape)

RUSSERT: And you, you cut--you take that speech, Governor, suggesting divine intervention on your half in a political campaign, an ad where you describe yourself as a Christian leader, an ad where many thought a cross was imposed, superimposed behind your...

HUCKABEE: Which it is was not, it was a bookshelf. I wish we were so smart. I really do.

RUSSERT: And then, and then this comment. "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ." Where does...

HUCKABEE: Which was, by the way, that phrase was one I think was 1998, is that when it was? The 1998 speech?


HUCKABEE: To the Southern Baptist Convention. So it was a speech made to a Christian gathering, and, and certainly that would be appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists.

RUSSERT: But where does this leave non-Christians?

HUCKABEE: Oh, it leaves them right in the middle of America. I think the Judeo-Christian background of this country is one that respects people not only of faith, but it respects people who don't have faith. The, the key issue of real faith is that it never can be forced on someone. And never would I want to use the government institutions to impose mine or anybody else's faith or to restrict. I think the First Amendment, Tim, is explicitly clear. Government should be restricted, not faith, government. And government's restriction is on two fronts: one, it's not to prefer one faith over another; and the second, it's not to prohibit the practice of somebody's religion, period.

RUSSERT: So you'd have no problem appointing atheists to your Cabinet?

HUCKABEE: No, I wouldn't have any problem at all appointing atheists. I probably had some working for me as governor. You know, I think you got to realize if people want--say, "Well, you were a pastor," but I was a governor 10 1/2 years. I have more executive experience running a government. I was actually in a government position longer than I was a pastor. And if people want to know how I would blend these issues, the best way to look at it is how I served as a governor. I didn't ever propose a bill that we would remove the capitol dome of Arkansas and replace it with a steeple. You know, we didn't do tent revivals on the grounds of the capitol. But my faith is important to me. I try to be more descriptive of it. I just don't want to run from it and act like it's not important. It drives my views on everything from the environment to poverty to disease to hunger. Issues, frankly, I think the Republicans need to take a greater leadership role in. And as a Republican, but as a Christian, I would want to make sure that we're speaking out on some of these issues that I think we've been lacking in as a party and as, as a nation.

RUSSERT: Peggy Noonan, a woman of faith who writes for The Wall Street Journal, said that sometimes it appears your philosophy is "This is what God wants," and that doesn't encourage discussion, it squelches it. And, and this is what you wrote in your book, "Kids Who Kill," in 1998: "It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations--from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia." Why would you link homosexuality with sadomasochism, pedophilia and necrophilia?

HUCKABEE: Well, what I was pointing out is all of these are deviations from what has been the traditional concept of sexual behavior and men and women having children, raising those children in the context of a, of a traditional marriage and family. And, again, taken out of the larger context of that book, speaking about how so many of our social institutions have been broken down.

RUSSERT: But do you think homosexuality is equivalent to pedophilia...

HUCKABEE: Oh, of course not.

RUSSERT: ...or sadomasochism?

HUCKABEE: No, of course not. I didn't say...

RUSSERT: But this is what concerns people. This, this is what you did say about homosexuality: "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle." That's millions of Americans.

HUCKABEE: Tim, understand, when a Christian speaks of sin, a Christian says all of us are sinners. I'm a sinner, everybody's a sinner. What one's sin is, means it's missing the mark. It's missing the bull's eye, the perfect point. I miss it every day; we all do. The perfection of God is seen in a marriage in which one man, one woman live together as a couple committed to each other as life partners. Now, even married couples don't do that perfectly, so sin is not some act of equating people with being murderers or rapists...

RUSSERT: But when you say aberrant or unnatural, do you believe you're born gay or you choose to be gay?

HUCKABEE: I don't know whether people are born that way. People who are gay say that they're born that way. But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. We may have certain tendencies, but how we behave and how we carry out our behavior--but the important issue that I want to address, because I think when you bring up the faith question, Tim, I've been asked more about my faith than any person running for president. I'm OK with that. I hope I've answered these questions very candidly and very honestly. I think it's important for us to talk about it. But the most important thing is to find out, does our faith influence our public policy and how? I've never tried to rewrite science textbooks. I've never tried to come out with some way of imposing a doctrinaire Christian perspective in a way that is really against the Constitution. I've never done that.

RUSSERT: But you said you would ban all abortions.

HUCKABEE: Well, that's not just because I'm a Christian, that's because I'm an American. Our founding fathers said that we're all created equal. I think every person has intrinsic worth and value...

RUSSERT: But many Americans believe that that would be, that would be you imposing your faith belief...

HUCKABEE: But, no. It's not a faith belief. It's deeper than that. It's a human belief. It goes to the heart of who we are as a civilization. If I believe that your intrinsic worth is not changed by your ancestry, your last name, by your IQ, by your abilities or disabilities, if I value your life and respect it with dignity and worth because it is human, then that's what draws me to the inescapable conclusion that I should be for the sanctity of every and each human life. That's why we go after that 12-year-old boy in the woods of North Carolina when he's lost, not because he has greater worth than someone else, but because we believe he has equal worth as everyone else. I like it that in this country we treat each other--at least we should--with that sense of equality. Our founding fathers penned that in the Declaration of Independence when they declared...

RUSSERT: Some Americans believe that life does not begin at conception, and that it's...

HUCKABEE: Well, scientifically I think that's almost...


HUCKABEE: ...a point that you couldn't argue. How, how could you say that life doesn't begin at conception...

RUSSERT: Right. Do you respect that view?

HUCKABEE: ...biologically?

RUSSERT: Do you respect that view?

HUCKABEE: I respect it as a view, but I don't think it has biological credibility.

RUSSERT: And what would happen to doctors or women who participated in abortion?

HUCKABEE: It's always the, the point of trying to say, "Are you going to criminalize it?" That's not the issue.

RUSSERT: Well, if it, if it's illegal, it would be.

HUCKABEE: It would be. And I think you don't punish the woman, first of all, because it's not about--I consider her a victim, not a, not a criminal. You would...

RUSSERT: But you would punish the doctor.

HUCKABEE: I think if a doctor knowingly took the life of an unborn child for money, and that's why he was doing it, yeah, I think you would, you would find some way to sanction that doctor. I don't know that you'd put him in prison, but there's something to me untoward about a person who has committed himself to healing people and to making people alive who would take money to take an innocent life and to make that life dead. There's something that just doesn't ring true about the purpose of medical practice when the first rule of the Hippocratic Oath is "First, do no harm." Well, if you take the life and suction out the pieces of an unborn child for no reason than its inconvenience to the mother, I don't think you've lived up to your Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm.

RUSSERT: October you told me you're going to win Iowa caucuses. Are you?

HUCKABEE: Oh I hope so, Tim, I really do.

RUSSERT: No, you said you were.

HUCKABEE: Well, Thursday night I'll let you know. But let me tell you this, we're being outspent 20-to-1 here. If we do, you're going to have a political story like you've never had coming out of Iowa on Friday morning.

RUSSERT: Would it be a miracle?

HUCKABEE: By my definition?

RUSSERT: No, I'm just teasing.

HUCKABEE: Yes, it would.

RUSSERT: Governor Huckabee, thank...

HUCKABEE: I'm on record. Yes, it would.

RUSSERT: Thanks for joining us.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Tim.

Mike Huckabee, Interview with Tim Russert on NBC News' "Meet the Press" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/278260

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