The conference call was wonderful! Over 6000 people called to listen in! It was so good to hear Gov. Huckabee's voice and be inspired and encouraged again by his vision! Here is a brief overview of the conference call. None of it is word-for-word...it's just a condensed version of the questions and answers that I was able to hear. If you would like to listen to the entire conversation, here is the link to the recording: http://www.charismamag.com/replay/huckabee/
Greetings and introduction of host Steve Strang and guest Mike Huckabee.
Strang: What’s next on the agenda for you?
Huck: Talks about the people who supported him in his presidential run and how they need someone who will continue standing for their conservative values. Talks about how he'll continue pushing the FairTax...the economy is suffering. Mentions that we need strong families...a breakdown in the family necessitates more government.
To answer the question, what’s next is to make sure that we don’t lose the momentum we conservatives gained in the past few months. We need to use our momentum to elect other conservative candidates this year.
Strang: agrees…says that’s why he endorsed Huckabee -- because he was the one standing for and articulating conservative principles and values.
Strang reads questions from viewers:
Christy: Disheartened by bias toward Huckabee from GOP elite. What is Huckabee's advice to those who feel that the party has left them?
Huck: My advice is to remain active, don’t give up, don’t be weary in well doing. If we give up, who will stand up for life, stand against racism and on and on? Don’t reflect on what we didn’t do, but what we did do. We outlasted the ones who the pundits said would win and supporters should feel proud. Dust yourself off, get back on your feet, and fight for another day.
Gail: Who do you believe is God’s choice for President at this time?
Huck: Never claimed to be God’s choice...every believer should hear from God on this issue. Personally will support McCain over Dems. Talks about how Obama and Hillary would raise taxes...the government is already taking too much. It's very important for all of us to work for state and local candidates who share our principles.
Carly: Would you be McCain's VP and is McCain open to that idea?
Huck: Doesn’t know, wouldn’t turn it down, doesn’t know if he’s on the list, isn’t expecting it.
Has volunteered to help and campaign for McCain and is waiting for instructions. Can’t apply for the job and personally thinks it’s rather unbecoming to say “Yeah, I’d like to be VP.”
Evan: Your views on healthcare, economy (he mentioned others that I didn't catch) were fresh to conservatives and were an appealing part of your platform. What will you do to highlight these more before 2012?
Huck: Too many people thought it was hard to define him and his record was distorted. Wants people to know where he stands, and believes these issues are appealing to a new generation of Republican voters. On the environment: as Christians, it’s a matter of stewardship. We have no right to misuse or destroy the earth, because we don't own it. It is sin to put self above others.
Eric: What do you think about how people are trying to remove God and Christianity from the public forum?
Huck: America is supposed to champion individual rights and freedoms. Doesn’t want a society that doesn’t respect Christians. It's not just evangelicals being attacked, but Catholics and Jews too. Talks about Catholics championing the rights of unborn. Now Muslims are getting more respect and religious freedom than Christians. Not being able to say "Merry Christmas" is absurd. Those who don’t like it can work on Dec. 25 if they don't want to observe a Christian holiday.
Valerie: Illegal aliens are causing problems and draining resources. How can we deal with the issue of illegal immigration?
Huck: The government has a responsibility to secure the borders and it has failed us. All other countries have secured borders, physical barriers, checkpoints and searches. Talks about his experience crossing borders in other countries and all he had to go through to get from one country to another. He didn’t mind because he was a guest. Our open borders make us not respected and people who enter the country without being under the law will live here without obeying the law.
To fix the problem we close the border first. Secondly, we have a process where illegals return home, fill out paperwork and only come back legally, pay taxes and live by the law. Immigrants can’t just walk in. They have always had to go through the front door, even back when we were welcoming immigrants at Ellis Island.
Greg: What can be done about the gas prices?
Huck: Gas prices are sky-rocketing, now averaging $3.28 a gallon. This is hurting all of us, but especially those who make their living driving or using gasoline. Their paychecks aren't changing to match high fuel costs. Air industry is really struggling.
To deal with this problem we have to become energy independent in ten years with renewable sources of energy. If we want to do it, we can! It can become reality if we will see it as a priority. Our gas dollars are going to pay both sides of war… it's absurd. Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia are not paying what they promised to help in the war against terrorism.
Halfway through call: advertisements for Charisma Magazine and some discussion about Gov. Huckabee's books.
Strang: Huckabee didn't have much money, and the key was his grassroots support. Why didn’t grassroots support turn into fundraising? Why is it hard for voters to part with funds?
Huck: His supporters were not the traditional establishment supporters who write checks for $2300. His supporters were the janitor who gave $20 and the lady in Michigan who couldn't give money but gave him her ring. He wouldn’t trade those small contributions because they’re more powerful than the $2300. His supporters sacrificed to give. Finds it interesting that when pundits started saying "This guy could actually win!" more money started coming in. It’s distressing to him that the political process (fundraising) has become more important than the principles. Many just wanted to support the winner. We should learn to help the candidate who stands for our values instead of the one who has the money. Talks about how the Christian leaders who speak about faith and miracles and Gideon, David and Elijah wouldn't have faith themselves. They worship at the altar of electability instead of supporting who they know they should support...their thinking is more secular than many in the world.
Strang: Mentions that the conservative leaders who failed to stand up and endorse a conservative candidate may not be considered leaders anymore.
How can we change the process so next time we have more money? How can we win local and state elections?
Huck: Positive thing was that people saw that their voices matters and that their efforts really had an impact. For example, homeschoolers from other states came to Iowa for 2 weeks and volunteered at the campaign headquarters. He doesn't have to convince them that they made a difference.
We didn't lose, the game ended before we got finished playing. It won’t have to be the same next time. Two important lessons for us: #1 - Every person and every dollar makes a difference. #2 - If you’re going to make a difference, do it EARLY. The Democrats have an organization called EMILY - Early Money Is Like Yeast. We need to get involved as soon as possible. He longs for the day when conservatives don’t wait for the trends and the polls to tell who’s doing well, but will make their decision early and base it on principles. A lot of people said they weren’t sure he could win, but if he could get some traction they’d help him because they really wanted him to be President. He says those people who think he'd be a good President ARE his traction! Those who believe a candidate is the right one need to step forward now and make their convictions valid!
Tom: (didn't get the question, but it was something about Huckabee being the only candidate to have a plan to change the tax code.)
Huck: One of the most troubling things in our society is the tax code. Congress and lobbyists have too much power because they get to manipulate the tax code and create winners and loser. What you penalize you get less of and what you reward you get more of. We need those who are productive. We are rewarding criminals and illegals by our present tax system and hurting our own businesses. The fairtax is structured, will bring jobs back, will encourage people to work, will help small business, and will have everyone paying taxes.
Lamario: African-Americans are normally conservative and family-oriented. Why isn’t the GOP getting more of the African-American vote?
Huck: This is one of the things that makes him frustrated with the GOP. They aren’t building relationships. He got 49 % of the African-American vote in AR, not because he stopped by in October to ask for their vote in November, but because he showed that he cared. We have to earn the votes instead of just getting them. Talks about working with African-Americans in Arkansas in areas like healthcare. He also showed equality in the criminal justice system. Says that GOP could be getting the majority of the black vote if they would care about them and reach out now.
Kendall: Will you run in 2012?
Huck: Flattered that someone wants to vote for him again, but not making premature announcement now. The immediate goal is the 2008 elections, but he will not rule out a run in 2012. Who knows? He noticed several times that he was the youngest guy in the Republican field.
Next Tuesday he will be launching new website and encourages everyone to check it out on April 15th. He is writing a new book and will be campaigning and speaking. You’ll find out more on April 15th.
He's realized that his supporters are not a campaign, but a community. A great lesson he learned from his campaign was that this is an amazingly wonderful country with some of the greatest people on earth. Was heartened by it and wants to see it continue.
Strang: Huckabee energized voters and restored our confidence.
Huck: Thanks to all. Encourages people, especially believers, to subscribe to Charisma Magazine.
To supporters: "God bless you all. I appreciate you more than I can say."