Huckabee: We have to tell them, look; we're not going to be here indefinitely. What we're going to expect of you is, you're going to have to get control of this sectarian violence, this civil war that is just ripping this whole thing apart. Because the American people are not going to stay indefinitely.
Now, when I say a timetable, I want to be very careful that you don't just say, OK, December 31, that's the last day; we start pulling out the helicopters and fly away.
Stephanopoulos: But you know, realistically, aren't we really on a timetable because of the political situation here at home?
I think about -- we're, what, 11 months or so away from the New Hampshire primary.
If the situation in Iraq doesn't improve by the time voters here go to the polls, won't they be clamoring for anti-war candidate?
Huckabee: It all depends on how things go over the next year. If things continue to go with the sectarian violence, and the Sunnis and the Shias are just at each and bawling (ph) each other up, I think we're in for a very, very rugged season.
And it's going to be tough, if somebody takes any position other than what, just, cut our losses and go.
Stephanopoulos: Let's talk about immigration. I was struck by something in USA Today this morning, a headline that says, "Immigration Becomes KKK Rallying Point." You've said that you believe that there is some racism behind the immigration debate today.
What did you mean by that?
Huckabee: Well, first of all, I didn't mean that everybody who has some anxiety about immigration is a racist.
And that was one of those things that suddenly blew up and people said, "Oh, he accused us all of being racists."
Absolutely not. There are a lot of people who are concerned. I'm concerned.
I'm concerned that our borders are porous and we're allowing people to come in and out without any real check as to who they are, where they're going, why they're here, do they have a communicable disease or a criminal background?
We need to know those things.
I'm not as worried about somebody who's coming across to pluck a chicken or pick a tomato or make a better Laquinta.
I'm particularly concerned about somebody who might cross this border with a shoulder-fired missile.
But even those people who are coming to pluck chickens and pick tomatoes, frankly, I want them to come in an orderly way. I want them to cross the border legally.
When I go to the Little Rock airport, I have to go through all kinds of hoops just to get on the airplane.
Now, they know who I am. They all call me by name, but I still show a photo I.D. I take my shoes off, I take my computer out and I put on a different little basket. I get my jacket off and the whole deal. I don't mind that because that's the way I'm supposed to get on the plane.
But I go through several layers of security and authenticate my personhood with the proper documentation.
I'm a taxpaying U.S. citizen. I'm a person who's been a public official, but I go through those layers...
Stephanopoulos: But you've also said we're going to be judged by how we treat the illegals who are here right now.
Huckabee: We shouldn't have amnesty where we just say, "Fine, everybody's good, we're going to let it go." We should have a process where people can pay the penalties, step up and accept responsibility for not being here legally.
But here's the point. The objective is not to be punitive. The objective is to make things right. Right for us. Right for them.