Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he wasn’t prepared to endorse any of his fellow Republicans in the 2012 presidential race on Sunday, a day after he announced on his Fox News show that he would not seek the GOP nomination.
“Frankly, my feelings and my whole emotions are still a little raw from the process, because up until just a few days ago, Chris, I honestly thought I would be in it,” the 2008 presidential candidate told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “And more and more, the signs were pointing that way, the objections were moved out of the way, and I could see a pathway to getting the money that I never thought perhaps I could. And, you know, things began to unfold.
“But it was almost as if the more that all of the external things began to materialize, the less the internal things began to crystallize for me. So, I need to kind of process my own feelings,” he added.
He was upbeat about the potential GOP field.
“There are some great candidates. Most of them are very dear friends of mine,” Huckabee said. “That would have made it a little difficult in the primary, because I would have found it hard to challenge some of them in some maybe significant way personally. There may be a point in which I endorse, but right now, I’ll see how the race unfolds and listen carefully to how they develop their message.”
He listed former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as other potential GOP candidates who share his viewpoints on social and fiscal conservatism.
But he added that he would also support Republicans who aren’t totally aligned with his ideology.
“You know, I’m going to support the Republican nominee,” he said, clarifying that he would withhold his support if “a person is way out there and is not clear on issues that to me are non-negotiable like the sanctity of life.”
Huckabee said he taped two endings for his show, saying in one that he would run in 2012 and saying in the other that he wouldn’t. He didn’t tell his executive producer and staff which ending to air until the final moments before the show, he said.
“I think that I would have made a fine president. ... You know, you look at all the political possibilities. And, frankly, I don’t think that I’ll have a better chance, but I don’t rule anything out for the long-term future,” he said. “But I just somehow believe deep within me that it wasn’t the right time and it wasn’t to be.”
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.