Press Release - Huckabee On Cruz: Country Needs A Good Leader Not A Lawyer
By Kathy Bolten, Des Moines Register
WASHINGTON, Iowa — Mike Huckabee didn't shy away from an opportunity Tuesday to set himself apart from one of the Republican presidential front-runners.
"Look, Ted's a great lawyer," Huckabee said Tuesday about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. "But I don't think American needs a good lawyer right now, it needs a good leader. My question to you would be can you name me what efforts (Cruz) has been a leader in ... He's been a senator. He's been a lawyer and a lobbyist … What has Ted Cruz done in his life that prepares him to be president of the United States?"
Huckabee's comments came during a 12-minute exchange with Joseph Brown, pastor of Marion Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, Iowa. Brown, who started a coalition of Iowa pastors who support Cruz, began the conversation with a question about why the candidate has said Cruz tailors his comments about same-sex marriage to the audiences he addresses.
"He's saying the same things you are saying," Brown said.
Huckabee politely disagreed.
Cruz has said "he would leave marriage issues up to the states and therefore would not support a federal marriage amendment," Huckabee said. "He knows, like good lawyers do, how to say things that sound almost the same as something else."
During a question-and-answer session with New York donors in December, Politico reported Cruz as saying, "People of New York may well resolve the marriage question differently than the people of Florida or Texas or Ohio. ... That's why we have 50 states — to allow a diversity of views." The comments were recorded and provided to Politico.
Huckabee supports passage of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Huckabee rarely criticizes his Republican rivals by name.
But in front of about 25 people gathered at The Coffee Corner, Huckabee pressed Brown several times to explain when Cruz has been a leader. Brown cited Mojave Memorial Cross, a case Cruz argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. "He fought and won that issue," Brown said. "He's stood up for the Second Amendment."
Replied Huckabee: "Sounds like he'd be a great lawyer ... I'm asking you, what has he done that gives you reason to believe he would be a great executive, which is a very different job than a lawyer."
Answered Brown, who caucused for Huckabee in 2008: "That's what I like about you — you've been an executive for 10 years."
After the exchange, Huckabee and Brown shook hands and talked privately for about 5 minutes.
Huckabee said later he didn't know whether Brown had been swayed. But while many Iowa pastors support Cruz, he said, many continue to support him.
"Some of the most prominent pastors are still with us and a lot of the rank and file people still are," he said.
This story ran in the Des Moines Register as well as USA Today.
Mike Huckabee, Press Release - Huckabee On Cruz: Country Needs A Good Leader Not A Lawyer Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/316541