Huckabee Talks Campaign and Radio Days on Letterman

Jan 8, 2008 10:11am

ABC News’ Kevin Chupka Reports: Trying to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time in a week, Mike Huckabee took to the late night airwaves to talk small the night before a major vote. 

The Republican presidential candidate chartered out of Concord, N.H. Monday afternoon, taped an interview for the "Late Show with David Letterman" at the Ed Sullivan theater, and was back in New Hampshire for a rally Monday night.  Last week, he came under a bit of fire for flying from Iowa to Burbank, Calif. to tape an interview with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show."

"If I win New Hampshire, it’s because I did this show. If I lose New Hampshire, it’s because I did this show." Huckabee quipped to Letterman Monday night.

The conversation was a bit more political than Huckabee’s time on Leno’s couch last week.  Letterman asked about his preparedness, and the former governor of Arkansas used some familiar language from his stump speech:

"Well, I’d say to think governors have actually run something. They’ve run a government. They’ve run, in essence, a microcosm of the federal government," Huckabee said, "Every agency that’s at the federal level is at the state level. And you’re job is not making speeches, it’s making decisions. Every day, you make dozens and dozens of decisions and I think that’s what a President does."

Letterman also asked the question Huckabee has been getting from the pundits ever since he won the Iowa caucus last week — whether or not New Hampshire and Iowa voters really are that different.

"Everybody tries to make that, but, at the end, what I find is, everybody’s an American." Huckabee said,  "And I don’t care who they are and what they are, they want this country to quit fighting each other politically, and it’s what I call the difference between horizontal and vertical politics."

Huckabee added, "So many times, people get totally wrapped up in left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, and one of the reasons that I ran was I’m convinced that a lot of people are ready for leadership to come vertically."

It wouldn’t be late night without a little levity though and Huckabee, whose first job was in broadcasting, told the story of his early days in radio:

"I opened up the station and I had signed on at 5 o’clock in the morning. I had done two hours worth of news, weather, sports, played records – everything’s going great. Phone lights start ringing because you don’t have an audible phone, it’s a light. I picked it up, the lady says, ‘How come y’all aren’t on the air this morning?’ I said, ‘Ma’am, we are on the air.’ She says, ‘No, you’re not, not at my house.’ And I thought, ‘What a nut,’ and I hung up the phone. About that time, I looked up at the transmitter and realized I never turned it on."

(audience, Dave laugh)

"You know what was sad, though, Dave?" Huckabee said, "The bad thing was not just that I’d failed to turn the transmitter on – in two hours, only one person noticed."

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