Republican Convention 2012

Mike Huckabee on Ron Paul, Libertarianism, and Gary Johnson

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Tampa—Mike Huckabee has said some really caustic things about libertarians in the past.

In 2011:

To the contrary, the governor gave an all-out defense of his tax hikes while governor of Arkansas on the grounds that they were the only responsible course of action to repair state roads. He snorted with derision at "libertarians" who fail to recognize that "we don't have a health-care crisis in this country, but a health crisis." He spoke with passion and knowledge on the need for preventative care to bring down exorbitant costs.

In 2010 on how CPAC is awful because of libertarians:

"CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn't go this year," Huckabee said in an interview with Fox News, where he is a paid analyst and has his own show.

In 2008 in his book Do The Right Thing:

The real threat to the Republican Party is something we saw a lot of this past election cycle: libertarianism masked as conservatism. And it threatens to not only split the Republican Party, but render it as irrelevant as the Whig Party.

Yet when Reason caught up with Huckabeee on an escalator at the Tampa Convention Center earlier today, he turned out to be surprisingly neutral on the subject of libertarians.

Asked for his view on the topic of Ron Paul supporters and other libertarians feeling like they've been pushed out by the GOP, Huckabee said, "I don't think they been disrespected. Elections are about numbers. I lost four years ago. I didn't feel disrespected as much as I felt defeated. You have to accept that the voters make a choice and the voters made a choice."

What about Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson? "I like Gary, he's a good guy, he's good friend of mine," Huckabee declared. "We were governors together. All I can tell you is if he gets enough votes he wins, if he doesn't, he doesn't. It's a math issue."