Mike Huckabee Seems Like a Reasonable Dude

| Thu Mar. 20, 2008 4:22 PM EDT

huckabee-hands.jpg No, not on AIDS patients or environmentalism. He's pretty nutty on that. I mean on the importance of race, pastors, and surrogates in a campaign:

HUCKABEE: [Obama] made the point, and I think it's a valid one, that you can't hold the candidate responsible for everything that people around him may say or do. You just can't. Whether it's me, whether it's Obama...anybody else. But he did distance himself from the very vitriolic statements.
Now, the second story. It's interesting to me that there are some people on the left who are having to be very uncomfortable with what Louis Wright said, when they all were all over a Jerry Falwell, or anyone on the right who said things that they found very awkward and uncomfortable years ago. Many times those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon. Sermons, after all, are rarely written word for word by pastors like Reverend Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you'd say "Well, I didn't mean to say it quite like that."

That explains why he wouldn't release his sermons to us. More Huck after the jump. Plus video.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But, but, you never came close to saying five days after September 11th, that America deserved what it got. Or that the American government invented AIDS...

HUCKABEE: Not defending his statements.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Oh, I know you're not. I know you're not. I'm just wondering though, for a lot of people...Would you not guess that there are a lot of Independent voters in Arkansas that vote for Democrats sometimes, and vote for Republicans sometimes, that are sitting here wondering how Barack Obama's spiritual mentor would call the United States the USKKK?

HUCKABEE: I mean, those were outrageous statements, and nobody can defend the content of them.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But what's the impact on voters in Arkansas? Swing voters.

HUCKABEE: I don't think we know. If this were October, I think it would have a dramatic impact. But it's not October. It's March. And I don't believe that by the time we get to October, this is gonna be the defining issue of the campaign, and the reason that people vote.

And one other thing I think we've gotta remember. As easy as it is for those of us who are white, to look back and say "That's a terrible statement!"...I grew up in a very segregated south. And I think that you have to cut some slack -- and I'm gonna be probably the only Conservative in America who's gonna say something like this, but I'm just tellin' you -- we've gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told "you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus..." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.

MIKA: I agree with that. I really do.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: It's the Atticus Finch line about walking a mile in somebody else's shoes. I remember when Ronald Reagan got shot in 1981. There were some black students in my school that started applauding and said they hoped that he died. And you just sat there and of course you were angry at first, and then you walked out and started scratching your head going "boy, there is some deep resentment there."