Mike Huckabee Calls Himself 'Paradoxical Republican'

Stephanopoulos: You haven't been shy about taking on pop culture.

And I was just wondering, what did you think when you saw all these headlines this morning about Anna Nicole Smith?

Huckabee: Tragic story. Two tragedies: One is a life of a person who obviously struggled for significance and found it in, really, the realm of pop culture.

The other tragedy is that it, sort of, took everything else off the front pages and took all the oxygen out of the room.

Here we are in the midst of Iraq and immigration and all the issues that people face, with whether they're going to have a job at the end of the week and whether their pension's going to be eaten up by some time white-collar criminal who will rob the company of the money and leave people with nothing who have built the wealth. And what's everybody fascinated by? How Anna Nicole Smith died.

And it's a point of curiosity and I feel terrible for her family.

Her life story is one that's filled with tragedy.

But I'm not sure that it's the number one news story on the planet Earth today.

Stephanopoulos: You really became known on the national scene when you lost 110 pounds.

Huckabee: Yes.

Stephanopoulos: It was some claim to fame. Right now, Barack Obama is trying to quit smoking. So what advice can you give him?

Huckabee: It's about the discipline and focus of saying, "This is good for me and it's also an example for others."

I've never smoked, so I don't understand the nicotine addiction. I know it's real. Too many people I've known who have been smokers said it's more difficult than anything they've ever dealt with.

But, boy, it's a deadly habit. And there's not a thing about it that is healthy, good, wholesome or that brings about any sense of value.

So it's something I hope that he will do, not just for himself and his family, he's got kids, so he needs to do it for them?

But it'd be a great thing to do for the country to say, "I kicked it, so can you." I hope he does.

Stephanopoulos: You said you had to learn to look at a plate of fried chicken and say, "That's a threat, not a pleasure."

Huckabee: Yes, and it sort of erased all the things I'd grown up with because when you grow up in the Deep South and you have food, kind of as your only major source of comfort, it's your security when you don't have many other points of security.

It's real difficult and you have to break away and mentally understand what it is that drives you to those comfort foods.

And once you realize it -- and that's really was for me, the breakthrough -- then, you can say: "You know what? I don't have to have that anymore. There are better ways to be secure."

Stephanopoulos: You probably know the Clinton's better than any other candidate in this race.

How do you assess her candidacy so far?

Huckabee: Republicans underestimate Hillary Clinton at their own peril. She's a brilliant woman, brilliant intellectually, and she's brilliant politically.

And I think, when I hear Republicans say, oh, I hope Hillary's the nominee, oh I hope Hillary's the nominee -- boy, will it just...

Stephanopoulos: I'll bet you don't. I've seen polls that show her beating you in Arkansas.

Huckabee: Oh, on any given day. I think I would win in Arkansas.

But you know something? I will tell you that Hillary Clinton will be a very strong candidate across America because she knows how to win. She's been through struggles. She has overcome many things. And she is absolutely a brilliant human being.

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