Meet the Press


Hey folks, Katherine McLane here, LAF’S Communications Director. Republican Presidential contender Mike Huckabee was on Meet the Press yesterday and got grilled about his stance on smoking bans. He originally went on the record with his views during last summer’s Presidential Cancer Forum co-hosted by Lance and Chris Mathews and has since faced criticism for what’s been characterized as a change in position. Check out this portion of the Meet the Press transcript and see what you think:

MR. RUSSERT: Since you started your campaign here in January of ’07, I’ve watched it very closely, and there are a couple issues where you seem to have changed your position or evolved or sometimes flipped. For example, back in August you were asked about this: “If you were president in 2009, and Congress brings you a bill to outlaw smoking nationwide in public places, would you sign it?” Huckabee: “I certainly would.” And then a few months later, your offices says, “The governor believes that this issue is best addressed at the local and state” level.

And then this…

GOV. HUCKABEE: Well, do you want me to answer that, or–OK.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, let me just go through a couple.

GOV. HUCKABEE: All right. All right.

MR. RUSSERT: This, when you were governor, wrote a letter to President Bush about Cuba: “U.S. policy on Cuba has not accomplished its stated goal of toppling the Castro regime and instead has provided Castro with a convenient excuse for his own failed system of government. I urge you to join with me in working to lift the failed embargo.” You then went to Florida and said no, the embargo should stay, and you said this, “What changed was I’m running for president.”

And then on taxes. I asked you specifically when you announced here, would you sign a pledge promising not to raise taxes.


MR. RUSSERT: And here was your answer.


GOV. HUCKABEE: I think it’s a very dangerous position to make pledges that are outside the most important pledge you make, and that is the oath you take to uphold the Constitution and protect the people of the United States.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: Thirty-three days later…


MR. RUSSERT: …here’s what I read. “Huckabee signed the Presidential Taxpayer Protection Pledge on March 2nd” the–“2007 during the Conservative Political Action Conference.”


MR. RUSSERT: It seems that political expediency got a hold of you several times during the campaign.

GOV. HUCKABEE: Now, let me, let me go through each of those. First, on the smoking ban, I was asked if that was presented to me, would I sign it. I signed a similar bill in my state which said that we are not banning smoking, we are protecting clean air in the workplace. I still believe that there is a fundamental right that people have to do damage to themselves, but they do not have a right to do damage to others in a workplace. That’s the basis on which I signed the state law and the basis upon which I would sign a federal. When I said that I still believe that it’s best handled at the state level. It is. But if…

MR. RUSSERT: But you would sign a federal law.

GOV. HUCKABEE: If it were about a clean air workplace, not about banning smoking. Because the point is, and I know it may sound trivial, but it’s, it’s important to me philosophically that you’re not telling an individual what he or she can’t do, you’re saying what you cannot do is to infringe upon the right of another to have clean air.

See the entire netcast

Read the transcript

See what the other candiates said at the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum


  1. Vicky says:

    I don’t think he [Huckabee] really cares. He just wants to be in the White House. I think showing up for the Presidential Cancer Forum was a way to look good. I mean seriously, a clean air workplace. What about restaurants, malls, parks, the side walks of main street and playgrounds. For example, here where I live you can’t smoke within 25 feet of the mall or food place entrance or a public park. Yet trying to get through that first 25 feet can mean a half pack of smoke in my lungs going in and again coming out. Clean air act my foot. Everywhere I go I deal with secondhand smoke and I live in Utah where the so called majority doesn’t smoke. As far as “A fundamental right to do damage to themselves” Who is he kidding? Why then do we put prisoners on suicide watch? Why is assisted suicide illegal? Come on people, why should I have to pay for someone to kill himself and someone I love along with them. And if they don’t die…I have to pay for their medical care. I all for a 100% ban on smoking and our next President should be as well.

  2. Clair says:

    I’m concerned about the candidates that are smokers themselves. What kind of message are they sending?

  3. Brian Dowd says:

    All candidates forget quickly things they say. We remember John Kerry who voted for it, but didn’t then changed his ming a few more times. It is a timeless act.

    Huckabee was probably said what he thought Lance and all the survivors wanted to hear on that day.

    We need to hold the candidates to their word. All of them are flawed, some worse then others. Let’s see how this plays out.

  4. Kathy Smith says:

    Katherine, This is exactly why we need to keep asking the questions and keep the heat on for the next 9 months. As Andy pointed out our ranks are on the rise and it is OUR obligation to those we have lost and those that will follow us to ensure that cancer becomes a National Priority. This election will set the path that Federal funding will follow for the next four years… maybe 8 so lets make sure that the person WE put in the White House hears those 12 million voices loud and clear….

  5. Joe American says:

    Huckabee is a good man who represents common folk. He believes in personal responsibility and is against the government mandating our every action. I believe he is someone who listens and has evolved his position.

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