Family Research Council

10th Annual Values Voter Summit

Remarks by Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee


Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R),

Republican Candidate for President

Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Time: 2:52 p.m. EDT

Date: Friday, September 25, 2015

Transcript By

Superior Transcriptions LLC

(Cheers, applause.)

MIKE HUCKABEE: Thank you very, very much. It is a delight to be here at the Values Voter Summit, although I realized that my appearance is not the big news of the day. Boy, talking about getting upstaged. So, John Boehner has a private meeting yesterday with Pope Francis. And all the reports are that somehow the result of that meeting, he decides he’s quitting. (Cheers, applause.) Now, here’s what occurs to me. I wonder if we could get scheduled — (laughter) — a meeting with Pope Francis and the president, just the two of them, for a little while. (Cheers, applause.)

Some other news this day, one of the political magazines reports that the absolutely hideous, unacceptable, and untenable deal with Iran — that should have been a treaty; should never have been an executive agreement — but this horrible agreement, crafted by John Kerry, Energy Secretary Moniz and the Special Envoy Wendy Sherman — they were so excited about what they were doing that they sat around in Vienna talking about if a Hollywood movie was made about this process who would play each of them. And it was decided that — and I’m not making this up. This is not a joke. Ted Danson was going to play John Kerry. (Laughter.) Javier Bardem was going to play Secretary Moniz. And Meryl Streep would be playing the part of Wendy Sherman. I felt they have it terribly miscast. Given the agreement, they should have Larry, Curly and Moe. (Laughter, cheers, applause.)

But one of the things that has happened this week because of the Pope’s visit, we have had unleashed on us weapons of mass distraction, because this is a week in which people were only talking about a portion of what the Pope said, rather than talking about the fact that Hillary Clinton conveniently used this week, and all of the news going on, to quietly say that she would not support the Keystone pipeline, which is one more gut-punch to workers in this country and one more gut-punch to consumers in this country. We ought to be working on not just exploring the energy that we have under our feet — hundreds of years of it — but we ought to become the number-one exporter of energy and put Putin, the Iranians and the Saudis out of the energy business. (Cheers, applause.) We ought to be supplying Europe, Africa and Asia with Energy. (Applause.)

Because in doing that, we not only upset the balance of world power and make it where they don’t have the money to move into Crimea, Ukraine and build nuclear devices and fund madrassas to teach terrorists how to fly into buildings, but we start making it possible for Americans to have those energy jobs and not some Saudi prince getting filthy rich off of it. And another thing that happens, we make it so that a lot of Americans get the best pay raise they’ve ever had become some single mom out there who straps a couple of kids into car seats and drops them off at daycare and then has to go to work and go back and pick them up — if we could permanently get the cost of her gasoline from $3 a gallon down to $1 a gallon, we’ve just given her the biggest pay raise she’s ever had. (Cheers, applause.)

And the 84-year old widow living in South Arkansas on a hot August day when 105 degrees won’t have to swelter in the heat, she can turn on her air conditioning and get it down to 72 and enjoy a nice comfortable day in her home because her electric bill will finally be affordable. This is the kind of agenda that America needs to have, but Hillary Clinton has decided to side with people who are into cronyism and into a radical agenda that would bankrupt a lot of poor people in this country.

Now, I know something about the Clintons, because I’ve been fighting them all of my political life, over the past 25 years. (Cheers, applause.) Every election I’ve ever been involved in, they have been involved in. (Laughter.) From the time when I first was elected lieutenant governor, I ran against their hand-picked candidate, who had been former chief legal counsel in Bill Clinton’s governor’s office. All of his money was raised right out of the basement of the White House by White House staffers and longtime Clintonistas.

They were so excited when I won, because that never was supposed to happen. Republicans didn’t win. I was only the fourth elected in 150 years, first in 25 years. When I got to the capital, I was the only elected Republican in the building. And they hated me so much, and this is no joke, I’d get on an elevator and people would get off. They’d refuse to ride an elevator with me. (Laughter.) And that little video that you saw about the door being nailed shut, that’s not an apocryphal story. I went and got sworn in, I went down to open the door, and the door is nailed shut from the inside. John Fund from The Wall Street Journal was flown down from New York to see was it really true, because it sounds a little preposterous, doesn’t it? It sounds figurative.

Well, it was literal. The door was literally nailed shut. And it stayed that way for the first 59 days. That happened because Hillary’s former law partner, Webb Hubbell, called over to the capital and said, let’s make this guy feel welcome. I’m telling you, you’re going to hear a lot of people tell you they’re ready to take on this election. But there is only one person that’s going to be on that debate stage for the Republicans who have consistently challenged the Clintons, defeated the Clinton machine, and lived to tell about it. And that may be the most important of all. (Cheers, applause.)

When I got into office, corruption was rampant. I had the most lopsided legislature in the entire country. I know you may think it was Massachusetts or Oregon or Washington state, perhaps you thought it was New Jersey, New York or maybe Vermont of Maine or California. But it was not. It was Arkansas. More Democrats, fewer Republicans than any other state in the country — 90 percent elected Democrats to 10 percent Republicans, and about half those were kind of suspect, to be honest with you. (Laughter.) But I knew that the political machine of that state had chewed people up and spit them out. And we went to work to stop the corruption.

I opened up a toll-free 800-number and said call if you want to report some fraud, waste or abuse. And I thought we’d get a dozen calls. We had over a thousand. We hired a former FBI agent to sift through what people were giving us, and over the next couple of years over 15 different elected officials were indicted, convicted and many carted off to jail. (Applause.) You can’t fight corruption if you don’t take it out of the body. It is a cancer to our constitutional form of government.

And, folks, I want to tell you something. I want to come to Washington not to be part of it. I want to come here and do here what I did in Arkansas, and that’s go to work at burning down that which is corrupt but building back that which represents our constitutional form of government. And we give it back to the people where our Founders intended it to be. Nothing less than that is a worthy goal for the next president. (Applause, cheers.)

I’m going to tell you something. I’m out on the campaign trail every day and I understand people are angry. In fact, I tell people it’s not just anger out there. That’s not the mood. It is a seething rage.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, it is! (Applause.)

MR. HUCKABEE: This guy worries me. (Laughter, applause.) I’m only kidding. I love you, brother, because I agree with you. I agree with you. (Applause.)

I’m going to tell you something: If you think you’re angry, I’m going to tell you who else is angry. I’m angry! (Applause.) I went to 37 states last year campaigning for Republicans because I thought if we got the majority in the Senate, add to our numbers in the House, we’d have people that would stand up and do something. I thought we’d have people who would come and defend the Constitution and exercise the role of the legislative branch as a check and a balance against the over-reach of the executive. And I’m angry because I wasted a lot of my time last year traveling all over this country to get people elected, and after a few months I realized they’re not doing anything differently in the majority than they did in the minority. And it’s time that we get this country back on track. (Applause, cheers.)

But, ladies and gentlemen, the easiest thing in the world is to take a can of gasoline and a book of matches and burn the whole thing down. (Laughter.) It requires no skill whatsoever — none. A kid who’s 11 years old can do that. But it requires some skill to burn down that which is rotten and to build back that which makes for the kind of government you want to give to the coming generations after us.

I’ve got five grandkids now, five of them. I would love to show you some photos if you had the time. (Laughter.) I only have 3,216 on my iPhone, but — (laughter). People ask me every day — they ask my wife the same thing: Why are you guys doing this? And the answer is always the same because, as my dad used to tell me, son, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember what you said; you just tell it the same way the next time. (Applause, cheers.)

So here’s the truth: I’ve been blessed to live in this country. I’m grateful to God that I was born by His grace in the United States of America. And this country has been awfully good to me and I’ve been able to do things that my parents and grandparents never could conceive. The fact is I grew up, like probably some of you, dirt-poor. And my dad never finished high school. His dad didn’t. And his dad before him didn’t. I’m the first in my male ever to do — first male in my family ever to do that, much less going to college. I’ve lived the American dream. I didn’t just read about it.

But I also know this: that unless we make some significant, serious changes in the way we govern this nation, then I’ll be walking my grandkids through the charred remains of a once-great republic called the United States of America and say, here you go, kids, $20 trillion of debt, a country that no longer follows its own Constitution —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s right.

MR. HUCKABEE: — a government in which people are so committed to their own nest-feathering, but the fact is the bottom 90 percent of America’s workers have had stagnant wages for 40 consecutive years.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s right.

MR. HUCKABEE: Most American workers in this country have been punched in the gut by the economic policies that have happened, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, because it’s all about making sure that those in the Washington-to-Wall Street axis of power get their cut, whether you get one or not. (Applause, cheers.) I say it’s time to quit taking a punch in the gut and give this government a kick in the butt. That’s what we need to do in America now. (Applause, cheers.)

I hear people say we’ve got to have a fighter. I agree. But, folks, you’ve never seen what a fight is until you’ve had to fight the Clinton machine every single day of your political life, not only to get to office but, once there, to have to fight it every day because you inherit 100 percent of people in your 323 boards, agencies and commissions that have all been there as loyalists to the Clintons. When, every election, both Bill and Hillary Clinton fly in on Air Force One, get off and campaign for your opponent, that will bless you. (Laughter.)

I understand what a fight is, but I understand that a fight means that you fight to win, not just fight to fight. I’ve never had a Washington, D.C. address ever in my life, never lived here. I’ve never had a paycheck from this town. People say, we want an outsider. Well, you can have one — (laugher) — because I’ve never lived here, I’ve never worked here, I’ve never had a paycheck here, but I do understand that simply making a speech is not leadership.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s right.

MR. HUCKABEE: Simply proposing a piece of legislation is not leadership. I could say, I’m going to introduce a bill, I’m going to propose a constitutional amendment. Well, let me tell you something: Unless you bring it to the point where it gets signed and implemented, it’s nothing but talk. Leadership means you get the job done. We must begin to get the job done. I’ve heard enough speeches in America. I want some real leadership to change America. (Applause, cheers.)

Now, I know one of the biggest battles going on in this city right now, and it’s a worthy battle and an important one: Defund Planned Parenthood. (Applause, cheers.) But when I hear people act as if, if we could just defund Planned Parenthood, man, we could break our arms patting ourselves on the back for being such heroes of the life movement.

I’m going to just remind you of something. For 42 years we have lived under the notion that it is a human right and privilege to take the lives of an unborn child. Here’s what I’d like to propose: that we do something far bolder than simply cut out the funding for one agency that provides abortions, because as important as that is, it doesn’t end the nightmare, the scourge.


MR. HUCKABEE: It does not end this horrible, uncivilized, savage behavior. It just moves it over to let someone else do it. And it’s why I’ve said that, as president of the United States, I will raise this question: Is the unborn child a person or is it just a blob of tissue? And I believe with all my heart the answer to that question we all know. It is a person. None of your daughters and daughters-in-law — (applause, cheers). None of your daughters and daughters-in-law called you up and said: Congratulations. Guess what? I’m going to have a blob of tissue. (Laughter.) They called and said: I’m going to have a baby.

Now, I saw the 4D pictures of my grandkids, something that didn’t even exist when my wife and I had our three. We’ve been married 41 years. Those things weren’t possible. And so here’s the fact: I’m tired of hearing us say, oh, maybe one day we can get a constitutional amendment; maybe we can get the courts to overthrow Roe Wade. I’ve got a better idea. Since it is a human being, we already have the constitutional protection. (Applause.) It’s called the Fifth Amendment, that says that there will be due process before you deprive a person of life or liberty. As president, we will invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment. We will protect human life. (Applause, cheers.)

And let it be known — and I know that I’m held in contempt and ridiculed for it, but I’ve read the Constitution, something I think a lot of Ivy League lawyers never did, and here’s — this much I know: The courts cannot make a law. And I want you to know, and I serve notice today, that as president of the United States I will keep the oath and will not surrender the entire executive branch over to the judicial or the legislative, because I believe there are three branches of government equal — (applause, cheers) — and therefore the checks and balances to each other. And Kim Davis and people like her will never, ever go to jail one minute if I’m president of the United States. (Applause, cheers.)

Ladies and gentlemen, if you want someone who just wants to burn it all down, I’m sure there are plenty of people who can get their can of gasoline and a book of matches and they’ll be able to do it. You want somebody who just will introduce some bills and make some speeches? Well, we’ve had a president for eight years, made a bunch of great speeches. (Laughter.)

But if you want someone who, from day one, understands what the job of being the chief executive is and is prepared to do it and has had experience in fighting the corruption, in fact the very corruption that we’re most likely to face in this election, then I offer to you an option. And I hope with all my heart you give me the opportunity to serve this country, to serve you, because one day I want to walk with my grandkids not through the charred remains of a once great country. I want to walk into the best this country has ever been and say, it took a lot of hard work but we are leaving it in better shape than we found it. (Applause.)

God bless you. Thank you. Thank you very much. God bless. (Applause, cheers.)