CPAC2014: Mike Huckabee Wants to Talk About Benghazi, Not Lewinsky

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 7 2014 11:32 AM

CPAC2014: Mike Huckabee Wants to Talk About Benghazi, Not Lewinsky

Monica who?

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—It was an invite-only press conference for Mike Huckabee, the once and possibly future presidential candidate. Shortly after 10:40, when he reached a small, guarded ballroom, Huckabee was met with an audience that was half conservative blogs and half the mainstream press. The conservatives asked Huckabee to talk about the GOP's economic message and reaching "independent women." The press had a few questions about Hillary Clinton.

For example: Was Huckabee at a disadvantage if Clinton ran for president in 2016?

"Would I be at a disadvantage because I know her better than anyone else?" he asked, quizzically. He didn't think he would.


CNN's Dana Bash started to ask Huckabee whether the 2012 attacks in Benghazi would be the focus of a 2016 campaign. "Get me right this time," Huckabee told Bash. "Don't tweet out."

He was referring to a month-old incident, when Bash tweeted a Huckabee line about Democrats seeing women only for their libidos. But he answered her question anyway.

"It's a rallying cry for every American who's concerned about why four Americans were murdered and we didn't send anybody in there to rescue them," Huckabee said of Benghazi.

Would it be an issue?

"God help us if it isn't."

ABC's Jeff Zeleny asked Huckabee to respond to Rand Paul, who'd been deflecting any question about Clinton or a "war on women" by calling Bill Clinton a "sexual predator." Huckabee didn't want to go there.

"Bill Clinton is not going to be on the ballot in 2016 or 2014," he said. "It's very possible that his wife will. What she said, what she did, how she has served both as a senator and a secretary of state, I think that's all fair play. I personally don't like to see us get into the personal issues of candidates, because once you go down that road it's hard to go into reverse."

Huckabee took one more question, about whether young people were growing up less socially conservative, and headed for the exits. Steve Deace, an influential Iowa conservative radio host, got right next to Huckabee and asked about 2016.

"It's not a decision I've made and it's not one I'll plan to make until we get past the 2014 elections. Am I open to it? Yeah, I've made that clear. I think it's a very different place for me than it was before. I came to the conclusion in 2012 that I could not see a pathway through the primary. I also wasn't sure it was going to be possible to unseat an incumbent president who had an incredible machine, both money and organization. The timing just wasn't good for me."

Deace wanted to follow up the question. The rest of the press was ushered away. The Iowa radio host was beckoned to follow Huckabee.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.