Huckabee Rips Bush, McCain and Chris Matthews

Feb 26, 2009 4:39pm

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley reports: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., spoke to conservative activists at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference, in Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2009.
Ferdous Al-Faruque/ ABC News Before an audience of conservatives on Thursday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took aim at the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former President Bush for supporting the government’s purchase last October of $700 billion in bad mortgages and debt held by struggling U.S. financial institutions. He also suggested McCain might have won the White House last year had he staked out a position in opposition to the bailout. "We can’t blame all the current situation on the Democrats. It was our Republican president and Republican Treasury secretary who said that the world would come to an end if they did not get $700 billion right now to buy up troubled assets. And sadly, the party of Ronald Reagan suddenly became the party of Chicken Little," he said. Several Republicans offered less-expensive rescue plans, "but they were spurned by both President Bush and Sen. McCain," Huckabee said. "With all due respect, Sen. McCain dramatically suspended his campaign, flew back to Washington, not to champion those congressional Republicans, but to join meekly Barack Obama in voting for the bailout, a bailout that most Americans opposed." Had McCain opposed the Wall Street bailout last fall, it might have even set him on a path toward winning the presidency, he added. "It would have been our best shot at winning the White House — a chance to offer a true, authentic conservative choice rather than a big government echo with a ‘me too’ way of doing things. We missed our chance." Huckabee, who was beaten by McCain for the GOP nomination in 2008, is thought to be a possible White House contender again in four years. The former governor didn’t just fire shots at fellow Republicans, he also slammed left-leaning MSNBC host Chris Matthews for saying "Oh, God" on the air as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took the podium for the Republican response to President Obama’s Tuesday speech. Huckabee, who has a talk show on Fox News Channel, noted his rivalry with Matthews before ridiculing the "Hardball" host and the cable network. "And of course now I’m in a different kind of competition. There are those other cable channels. There’s the one that just this week finally got religion. You know which one I’m talking about. The one we now call the ‘Oh, God’ channel after Chris Matthews finally realized there was a God and called him out just before Gov. Jindal’s speech the other night," he said. "Some of us call that the … not the MSNBC, but the M-S-B-S channel." Huckabee spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual Washington, D.C. gathering of conservative activists.

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