… Let me tell you something, anybody who could carry out a death sentence and not feel deeply something within is a person I don’t want in any public office. Because I’ll tell you why it was hard – I knew when I put my signature on that piece of paper, that started that process in motion, that the net result of that was the end of the judicial process that involved all three branches of government, but that I as the chief executive of the state would have to carry it out. And it would mean that a human life would be taken. I’m gonna tell you something. It was not an easy decision. And I had to accept the fact that our legislature had passed laws to put this in effect, our courts had gone through a very thorough process of thoroughly adjudicating this individual, and it was a responsibility to do. I read every page of every file of every one of those cases down to looking at crime scene photos and reading the autopsy reports of victims. ‘Cause I wanted to see if there was anything in this entire case that warranted a different outcome than this. And that’s without a doubt the hardest decision. And I think anybody you elect to anything ought always to remember that it’s the life and death decisions that you hope they’re willing to make, capable of making, but God help us, if we ever elect people who make those decisions lightly, whether it’s going to war or signing the death warrant for somebody who has been convicted of a capital crime. [applause]
Question: …My question is regarding, “Why didn’t anyone do something?” It seems like in our government today there’s corruption or people who have different viewpoints. How as we as leaders of tomorrow make sure that we get the power to make sure things go the right direction, keeping people who already are in government who have the viewpoint of [garbled] self gain, make sure we keep it that right path instead of the wrong path which we’re going down right now?
Mike Huckabee: Well,…one of the things that has to happen is an informed voter. Voters who know what’s going on. They need to punch the people who mess up. That means throw ’em out of office. Corruption shouldn’t be tolerated of others. And when it is, then we deserve it. We deserve what we get when we allow people to do terrible things and we don’t seem to make ’em feel the consequences of it. One of the things that always amazes me is when we have an election about half the people who are eligible to vote don’t even register to vote. And of those who register to vote usually forty to sixty percent, depending on the intensity of issues, of the registered voters even go vote. So you have roughly twenty-five to thirty per cent of the eligible people who could vote who actually go out and do it. Which says to me that a lot of people just assume that it’s okay whatever the politicians gonna do is. And I think it’s a terrible thing. So one thing is, first of all, never ever ever miss an opportunity to exercise your constitutional right and responsibility to vote. Secondly, don’t just vote, but vote responsibly and with an informed mind. Don’t just believe something because it’s in a TV ad. It’s a terrible place to get information about a candidate. The great thing is the Internet. But be careful about the Internet. Remember that one of the things that used to happen is that newspaper and other forms of media had editors and they checked to see if the facts were right. Nobody edits the Internet, so you have to be your own editors. Somebody says, you know, Mike Huckabee bit the head off a live squirrel. [laughter] Just because somebody said that doesn’t mean it’s true. It was a rat, it wasn’t a squirrel. [laughter][crosstalk] Now the point I, just because somebody says they saw it on the Internet don’t take that at face value. Ask for what is the documentation. What is the source? How many reliable sources? And then, make your voice heard. Write letters, talk on the radio, talk to your friends. But, for heaven’s sake, vote. And that’s one thing you can do. And I’ll tell you if enough people did that we could, we really could change the nation. Okay? Here.
Question: …Many bands today which are more toward the liberal side of the spectrum, and vertical politics. Would you ever have like political conflicts with any of the bands you play with or cover for? And if you did, how would you overcome them? And how could we overcome them today?
Mike Huckabee: One of the things I love about music is it’s the great equalizer. I always say that there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no politics in music. And there is sometimes, but there shouldn’t be. And one of the reasons I enjoy music is because it gives me opportunity to build bridges with people who would otherwise never give me the time of day. And I’ve been able to make friendships and relationships with people who are my political opposites. But the foundation basis of our friendship or relationship wasn’t politics, it was music. It was the fact that we could respect and recognize each other as human beings that had something in common. You know if you ever can come to the fact, if you can have a sense of respect for another person then you can get past the things you disagree with. The main thing, it’s okay to disagree with people, but do it in a civil way. I don’t like to be surrounded only with the people who agree me one hundred per cent. I don’t learn much from folks like that. But don’t get me wrong, I like it when they applaud me and, you know, give me their kudos. But, the truth is, I like to have communications with people who are completely opposite, as long as it’s a conversation and not a screaming match. I don’t do that. Neither of us are gonna gain a thing. And when it comes to that you need to just walk away and say, “Hey. Enjoy it. Have a good day. Good bye.” But if you are willing to talk, for example, if somebody wants to challenge me [garbled] I’m pro life, hap, happy to have that discussion. If they want to talk to me about why I believe, for example in the complete overhaul of the tax system, happy to have that discussion. I’m not interested in screaming at people or having them scream at me. And yes, there have been a lot of times I’ve played with musicians and been on stage with people who certainly didn’t agree with me or I agree with them. But what I hope can be accomplished is that we accept that in this country there’s something bigger than our horizontal views. And that’s our idea that that America is a country we love. Let me give you one example, something that happened that was really a pretty amazing moment. I was invited to go to a big dinner in Washington called the Gridiron. And it’s a big black tie event in D.C. All the politicos and news people go to this thing. And I happened to be the guest of a news organization that’s really left of center. Very left of center. And so I’m sitting at this table with these people, I’m looking around, and basical
ly I’m the only conservative. All the others are harsh, hard core liberals. The Marine Corps band comes in to play the national anthem. Now we’ve had a very civil conversation prior to the dinner starting and it’s been adult and polite. But obviously sharp disagreements. The Marine Corps band is introduced, they come in and they play the national anthem. And it’s interesting to me, I took note of the fact that all of us stood, all of us put our hands over our hearts, and all of us sang the national anthem with great passion and zeal. And I was reminded in that moment that they, too, love their country. They may not love it in the same way I do, with the same beliefs that certain things would be better or worse for it. But I, I walk away saying, you know, it’s wrong for me as a conservative to assume that liberals hate America. It’s wrong for me as a conservative to say that liberals aren’t as American as me. I think they’ve got some really goofy ideas. [laughter] I’m going to do everything I can to overcome them and to limit. But to accuse them of lacking a love for their country I realize would be wrong because they were just as passionate about their hand over their heart and singing the national anthem as I was. So I guess what I’m saying all that, bring to close, have your convictions, stick by them, be able to defend them, but always have respect for the people on the other side and accept that they, too, may love the country. And the best way to get your point across is to show them the respect. But to keep giving them the intellectual capacity to your argument, not just what you believe, but why it is you believe it. I think that has more impact and power than just saying, “This is what I believe. And this, I’m believe more [garbled] than you believe yours.” This is what I believe. This is why I believe it. And let them take you on. You know I never felt as a conservative that I had to go around apologizing for my point of view. And I’ve never felt that I was somehow un, unable to defend myself because I lacked the intellectual capacity of argument to be able to defend myself against the other point of view. And I would say this. If you ever get to the place where you are afraid of somebody sort of taking your point of view apart [garbled] do some more research. All of us should. If we cannot defend our convictions, then maybe they’re not that strong. And true convictions are the ones we can and will defend. Anyway, thank you very much. [applause]
Question: …How did…your bob sled ride turn out?
Mike Huckabee: Oh. Bob sled ride. All those years of playing rock music affected my hearing. [laughetr] It really has. I came in second, behind Levit [sp]. He was the host governor and I think he cheated. [laughter] [crosstalk] Thank you.
Question: …If you were asked to run with John McCain and accept his offer what specific policy would you try to implement from your campaign into his?
Mike Huckabee: Well, I’m not sure how appropriate it is for a running mate to sort of push his own policies. I may have to make sure that the nominee, who gets to set the agenda, would be comfortable. Now, if I were told, “Pick anything you want.” One, it would be a human life amendment. Second would be a marriage amendment, and third would be, probably, the implementation of the fair tax which would eliminate all of the taxes on productivity. [applause] Those are the things that are very important to me. The first two because I think they set the moral framework for our civilization, who we are, how we live, and what kind of culture we’re really gonna have. And the fair tax because I think our economy is in serious trouble on a permanent basis. I don’t think it’s cyclical, I think it’s structural. I don’t think you can fix it by manipulating a few pieces of it. I believe [garbled] a total overhaul. And what we reward we get more of, what we penalize we get less of. When we look at our current tax system we penalize productivity and work and entrepreneurial risk. And we reward those who messed up. And whether it’s bailing out corporations, or bailing out individuals our country’s adopted the philosophy that we will bail you out if you fail. But if you succeed we’ll penalize you and make you wish you hadn’t. Now what you end up with when you push the top down and the bottom up you end up with across the board mediocrity, not the kind of productivity that we need. We should help people that can’t help themselves. We, we should always be merciful, kind, all, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying be harsh. But if you take a guy who’s working two shifts and you put him in a higher tax bracket and actually penalize him for the work he’s doing at second shift so he can get his daughter through college. But if he quits both jobs you’ll give his daughter a scholarship? You have rewarded his lack of work and penalized his work. That’s hardly the way to create a strong economy. So that’s, that’s what I’d do if given the opportunity. [applause] Thank you very much.