Oct 16, 2015 10:24 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
CONCORD – Mike Huckabee acknowledges that “fundraising is always a hurdle,” but says he runs a “frugal” campaign.
The former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate, who Friday made his first trip to the Granite State in six months, also told NH1 News that “we hope to spend more time in New Hampshire.”
And Huckabee criticized GOP nomination rivals who are calling for cuts to Social Security, saying “if somebody wants to go out there and be the champion of cutting the benefits for seniors, let them be. I’ll be the champion to fight to keep those benefits because I recognize who paid those benefits in.”
Huckabee spoke one-on-one with NH1 News on Friday afternoon in Concord, about an hour after Huckabee took part at a housing summit that attracted seven presidential candidates that was held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
This is Huckabee’s second bid for the White House. He lasted deep into the 2008 primary and caucus calendar against eventual nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona. One of his hurdles in 2008 and again in 2012 is fundraising. He raised just $1.2 million in the last three months, and has less than $1 million cash on hand.
“Fundraising is always a hurdle. But more importantly is making sure that you live within your means. Because one of the things that I’ve always acknowledged as a candidate is I operate the campaign like people wish the federal government would operate the federal treasury. I don’t spend money I don’t have and I never borrow money because you never know if you can pay it back,” Huckabee admitted.
But he remains optimistic, adding that “we’re on our feet. We’re always looking for more contributions but we're in it for the long haul and that's because we run a very frugal operation and we'll still be on our feet when others burn through all their cash."
Friday’s swing through the first-in-the nation primary state was Huckabee’s first since attending the New Hampshire GOP’s convention back in April. Huckabee, a minister who has strong support among values voters, has been spending most of his time campaigning in Iowa and South Carolina, the early voting states where social conservatives have much more clout than in the Granite State.
Asked why he hasn’t spent much time in New Hampshire, Huckabee said “there's so many of us who are candidates and everybody has to sort of plant a flag and decide which early states we can win. And we evaluate that every month and determine if this is the right place for us to put resources right now.”
“The one thing I know is that you gotta win some early contests and it doesn’t matter how great the national polls are, this is the NCAA March Madness tournament. If you don’t win early games, you aren’t in the final four,” he added.
Huckabee slams rivals willing to cut Social Security
Huckabee opposes cuts to Social Security benefits and has been outspoken in his criticism of rivals for the nomination who advocate cuts to entitlements.
Asked about Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s comment at a recent Fiscal Fridays forum hosted by NH1 News that a voter need to “get over” cuts to their initial Social Security benefits, Huckabee said “why should people ‘get over it’ if they’ve paid in their entire lives. The government didn’t ask if I wanted to contribute. The government took that out of every American workers’ paycheck. The fact is the government has an obligation to fulfill its promises to the people who’ve paid in all this money.”
“I say don’t ask the American public who have worked their rear ends off their whole life ‘to get over it.’ I tell Congress ‘you guys get over it.’ Figure out a way to clean up the mess you made by spending the people’s money on things other than on what you promised it was going to be spent for,” he continued.
Huckabee went on to say “how utterly indefensible is it for Republicans, any Republican to want to pretend that he’s going to fight for the people and he’s willing to steal the money right out of their paychecks that they paid in all these years.”
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