Former Arkansas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says it’s important for the GOP to appeal to "ordinary Americans" who "fired" many Republican politicians in the last election.
"Certainly I’ve been to Iowa — this is, I think, the ninth time — but all the other times were to talk about other candidates or to promote the party," Huckabee says. "This is the first time I’ve been to Iowa for the sole purpose of actually looking people in the eye and telling them, ‘I’d like to be your president. Will you help me get there?’"
For Republicans to "get there" and recapture the White House in 2008, Huckabee suggests the GOP must learn the lesson of the 2006 election. "If we don’t learn from that and we make the same mistakes and ignore the people of this country, we won’t deserve to win in ’08," Huckabee says.
Huckabee cautions that does not mean open criticism of President Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq. "I do think the American people are going to give (Bush) this one-more chance," Huckabee says. "And it really has to work."
A few Republicans in the U.S. Senate, notably Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, have openly criticized Bush’s plan to send over 20,000 more troops into Iraq. Huckabee says American voters are looking for someone who will offer answers not only about Iraq but on issues like education, the environment and health care. "A person who ignores those issues and tries to be an ideologue or tries simply to act like they can ‘out-president’ the president on any issue — whether it’s the war or how to handle the economy — I don’t think’s going to have a lot of credibility," Huckabee says.
Huckabee made his comments during an interview with Radio Iowa. You can read more about it on the Radio Iowa Blog.