Huckabee offered few clearly formed policy positions while fielding questions from reporters at the Christian Science Monitor event. On the war in Afghanistan, for example, he said his perspective has been shaped by a personal visit in 2006.
“You go to Afghanistan, you look around and you think, ‘My gosh, am I in a country or the surface of the moon?’ You honestly could not see what it is that can happen here,” he said in an unusually harsh assessment of a country where American troops are still on the ground.
Asked what he thinks the U.S. should do there, he said: “I don’t know. The honest answer is that I don’t think any of us knows exactly.”
Meanwhile, in his Washington tour, Barbour largely avoided controversy over his recent racially charged comments related to growing up in the South. Instead, he steered the conversation to the economy and criticism of the Obama’s policies.
“Their policy is to drive up energy prices,” he told a dozen reporters gathered in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Now, how is that good policy at any time when energy security is supposed to be a priority, but particularly at a time of turmoil in the Middle East in the oil-producing states?”
There’s time, of course, for both men to reverse course.
Huckabee said it would be “stupid” to jump into the race too soon, largely because the sooner a candidate jumps in, the sooner he has to pay for the related campaign apparatus.
He acknowledged that he’s often asked why he’s waiting so long, and counters by asking reporters which other candidates have announced. The answer, of course, is none. “I don’t get this whole thing that I had to make some decision about this today,” he said.
Until he decides, Huckabee’s prominent role on television and radio will ensure he is not forgotten. He can’t wait too long, however.
The first presidential debate is less than two months away.