Presidency no job for rookies, Mike Huckabee tells S.C. Republicans

Huckabee

NEWBERRY — A confident Mike Huckabee spent Tuesday courting voters throughout the Palmetto State, promising to defeat the political machine of Hillary and Bill Clinton.

The former Arkansas governor made four stops on Tuesday, including one in Columbia, where he filed to officially appear on the South Carolina Republican primary ballot in February.

Huckabee is the 10th candidate to file; Carly Fiorina is expected to do so on Wednesday and Chris Christie later this week by mail. Huckabee’s last stop on Tuesday was at a Presidential Town Hall Series with the South Carolina Republican Party in Newberry. He’s scheduled for one more appearance on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., in Lexington, before heading to Georgia.

During at least two of Tuesday’s stops, Huckabee said he understood voters’ desire to elect someone who is an outsider instead of a career politician. But he warned that there would be consequences in having a rookie president.

“The presidency is not an entry-level job,” Huckabee said. “If America is looking for someone who has never done anything, I guess they’ll have some options. But if they’re looking for somebody who has actually accomplished something then I can give them some good reasons.”

Huckabee also said he had learned from his first go-around running for president, having lost South Carolina in 2008 to U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. He promised to spend an “enormous amount of time and effort” organizing in the state and to not come in second again.

“There is no prize for second place,” Huckabee said. “I’m in this to try to bring the kind of proper leadership to this country that I think you agree we really need.”

Huckabee has remained near the bottom of the polls, even after participating in the party’s two prime time debates. In a recent poll by CNN and ORC, 6 percent of likely primary voters support Huckabee, up from 5 percent earlier in the month.

Huckabee steered clear of the controversy surrounding comments front-runner Donald Trump has made concerning Muslims and Carly Fiorina’s face. He did, however, take a slight jab at everyone who is leading in the polls.

“Having been through this before, the one thing that I do know for certain is that the summer blockbusters are rarely the Oscar winners in the spring,” Huckabee said. “It’s just a matter of reality that if you’re hot when it’s hot, you’ll be cold when it’s cold.”