Two southern governors with more than 26 years of experience in elected office warned the audience at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines today not to put a political novice in the Oval Office.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee served 10-and-a-half years as governor of Arkansas after three-and-a-half years as the lieutenant governor of Arkansas.
“Frankly, I don’t think the presidency’s an entry level job,” Huckabee said. “I think it’s a little absurd that we would think that we would send somebody to the White House who has zero experience in actually being an executive and running a government.”
Huckabee did not directly mention Republican rivals Ben Carson and Donald Trump, neither of whom has sought political office before, but Huckabee compared electing a political outsider as president to having someone with no experience fly an airplane.
“I think we might ought to realize that asking a person to sit in the Oval Office is probably a job that requires some preparation, some maturity, some seasoned judgment and I don’t think that is not a disqualification,” Huckabee said. “I think it is a true qualification.”
AUDIO of Huckabee’s remarks to crowd, 10:00
Republican presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal served four years in congress. In January, Jindal will wrap up his eighth and final year as governor of Louisiana. During his speech to the crowd of 1600, Jindal suggested as he often does that rivals like Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are “talkers rather than doers.”
“We’ve already got a great speaker in the White House today, a first-term senator,” Jindal said of President Obama. “We can’t afford four more years of on-the-job training.”
AUDIO of Jindal’s remarks to crowd, 11:30
During a news conference about half an hour later, Jindal challenged Cruz to a one-on-one debate on the topic of ObamaCare. Jindal has not garnered enough support in the polls to be invited to the main stage for any of the televised candidate debates.
Huckabee — who participated in the three previous prime-time events — has been demoted to the so-called “undercard” debate next week in Milwaukee. Huckabee told reporters the process of deciding who’s in and who’s out of the prime-time debate is “flawed”, but he’ll “show up” and may “actually get some time to talk” in the earlier debate.
Both Huckabee and Jindal were asked about news reports indicating Ben Carson did not apply for admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point, contradicting an account in Carson’s book — “Gifted Hands” — that he “was offered a full scholarship to West Point” after meeting with a prominent, Vietnam-era U.S. general.
“Dr. Carson’s a smart man,” Jindal told reporters. “He can speak for himself, so I’ll let him explain his own comments.”
Later, Huckabee was asked by a reporter “what counsel he would give voters” in analyzing the story.
“Vote for me,” Huckabee said. “I never said I went to West Point.”
The Carson campaign has criticized Politico’s reporting on the matter. Carson’s business manager told CNN Carson has always been clear that he did not apply for admission and “gracefully” let West Point recruiters know medicine was his calling, not the military.