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Huckabee touts self as family values candidate at Newton stop

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared at Park Centre in Newton on Saturday afternoon. About 30 people attended the meeting. Andy Karr/ Daily News

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee sees himself as a presidential candidate with strong, consistant family values and touted the need for strong marriages and families in maintaining a healthy nation. A Republican, Huckabee stopped in Newton on Saturday afternoon and spoke to about 30 people at Park Centre. Talking about his Pro-life and traditional marriage stances, he emphasized that he has never changed his values. “You’ll never find a Youtube moment of me saying that I believe that life began any other time than conception,” he said. “I’m not pro-life because I got into politics. I got into politics because I’m Prolife.” “Government can’t force people to be together, you know, that’s not something you can do, but you can establish it as a priority,” Huckabee said. To this end, he noted that as governor, he signed a covenant marriage law whereby those entering a covenant marriage agree to work out marital problems before pursuing a divorce. Another law allows judges to insist on arbitration when children are involved in a divorce. “That gives children a greater level of protection,” he said. Hailing from Hope, Ark., the former governor cracked several jokes about his hometown producing President Bill Clinton. “Please don’t hold that against me,” he said to chuckles from the crowd. “I’m not responsible for another, once unknown obscure governor who ran for president who hailed from Hope, Ark. He only lived there six years, then he moved to Hot Springs. If he had lived there as long as I did, he’d have turned out better.” Huckabee touched on the Maytag closing and said that he was familiar with what Newton was dealing with. Searcy, Ark. lost several hundred jobs when Maytag’s plant was shuttered there. Huckabee sees the loss of American jobs as a product of an unlevel, unfair trading arena. “If somebody in the presidency doesn’t begin to understand that we can’t have free trade if it’s not fair trade, we’re going to continually see people who have worked for 20 and 30 years for companies one day walk in and get the pink slip and told ‘I’m sorry but everything you spent your life working for is no longer here.’” After the meeting, Huckabee talked about the Iraq war and what he sees as mistakes in how it has been handled to this point. “What I think we failed to do is we didn’t listen to our generals, the ones who had mud and blood on their boots and medals on their chests. We listened to a bunch of civilians in silk suits and ties that had this great idea that we could go in there and do it on the cheap with 180,000 troops when all the Department. of defense people were saying we needed 300,000,” he said. But Huckabee sees victory as the only way out of Iraq and supports the president’s call for more troops. “We all want to get out of Iraq, we want to get it over with but we can’t do it dishonorably. The cut and run strategy of the Democrats is a disaster. To say that we’re going to put a date certain on the calendar and that’s when we’re leaving is tantamount to a high school football team saying they’re going to play on Friday night until 8:30, but then they’re going home no matter what the score is or what quarter they’re in.” “We’ve got to support that (troop surge) plan until we find it doesn’t work,” he said. Huckabee knows he has a big hill to climb if he wants to catch up to the frontrunners before the Aug. 11 straw poll, but he believes he can gain support in Iowa. “I’d like to prove that this presidency is not going to be just up for sale. If that’s the case, let’s just put it on eBay and be done with it.,” he said. “I’d like to think it’s going to be more about our principles, not just our pockets.”