Mike Huckabee said President Barack Obama needs to find agreement with the Republicans on the small issues as the two sides continue to try to hammer out a solution to the “fiscal cliff.”
Huckabee was at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Bowling Green on Saturday evening to sign copies of his latest book, “Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett: A Grandfather’s Thoughts on Faith, Family, and the Things That Matter Most.”
Huckabee, dressed in a dark blue jacket emblazoned with the seal of The Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, was an hour late to the book signing, having visited an emergency room earlier in the day.
He told people that he was fine and was energetic as he chatted amicably with patrons, taking pictures with people of a wide variety of ages, perching the youngest ones on a desk. A small child at first cried and then managed a wan smile during one photo session. As the child lurched forward, he and the parents reached out to grab her. “I would have caught her,” he said with a reassuring smile.
Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, said after the signing that as a Republican governor working with a Democratically controlled legislature, he found ways to effect compromise.
He said Obama is approaching the negotiations over the fiscal cliff like a car salesman, offering one thing, then once the deal appears to be done, changing the numbers.
“You have to be in the room and you have to be serious about it,” Huckabee said. “He (Obama) needs to be personally involved. You can’t negotiate on the front page of The Washington Post.”
Huckabee appreciated three women from Russell County who traveled an hour and a half to see him in Bowling Green. Tammy Pickett, Hailey Arron and Tori Arron wore shirts that said, “I’m for Huckabee vs. Hillary for President in 2016.” The three women were waiting out front of the bookstore when Huckabee’s bus pulled up, and he signed each of the T-shirts on the shoulder in black ink.
“You can see you guys in the dark,” Huckabee said of the florescent green attire. Asked later about the message on the shirts and a possible contest with Hillary Clinton for the nation’s chief executive, Huckabee said he is “stunned” by the number of people who still tout him as a presidential candidate four years after he finished second to John McCain for the Republican nomination.
“It’s encouraging that people take such stands,” he said. He said he hasn’t made up his mind yet on the important decision to run again.
Justin Wilkins, an optometrist from Franklin who has an office in Bowling Green, and Jason Scruggs, a Bowling Green resident, said they were at the book signing because they like the stand that Huckabee takes for their Lord Jesus Christ. Both said they raced to the back of the store hours before to be the first in line.
“I list two heroes – Mike Huckabee and Tim Tebow,” said Wilkins, who was first in line to get his book signed. “Both of those guys are Christians and they are not ashamed of it,” the optometrist said. Scruggs, who met Wilkins for the first time Saturday night, agreed. He was wearing a cast on what they’ve told him is a broken ankle.
“”That’s why I’m No. 2 (in line) and he’s No. 1,” Scruggs said with a laugh and smile. The signed book is a planned Christmas gift for his mother, Wanda.
Later in the evening, Scruggs said it was painful to stand on the ankle, which he said he rolled the other day. “It was worth it,” he added.
The line at Barnes & Noble snaked around the edge of the main floor, reaching back to the cookbook section on the far wall. Huckabee apologized more than once to patrons for their wait and in turn was greeted with smiles and handshakes.
Audrey Wilson of Bowling Green, the third person to receive a signature from Huckabee, said she admired him.
“He teaches people to do the right thing,” she said.
At one point in the evening, 7-year-old Drew Givens of Bowling Green appeared with his mother, Andrea. Huckabee asked him if he was a member of the faculty at Western Kentucky University since he was wearing a WKU sweatshirt.
Givens said later that Drew at age 2 1/2 would look at the television and yell “ ‘Mommy, Mommy, Huckabee’ so I could watch him on television.”
Jennifer Bailey, community relations manager at Barnes & Noble, estimated the crowd at more than 200 people.
Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. He replaced a governor who resigned, then was elected to a full, four-year term in 1998. At that time, he attracted the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, according to his website, mikehuckabee.com. That election was followed by election to another four-year term in 2002.
When Huckabee was elected lieutenant governor in Arkansas in a 1993 special election, he was only the fourth Republican to be elected to statewide office since Reconstruction following the Civil War.
He was the youngest-ever president of the Arkansas Southern Baptist State Convention. He served as a pastor and denominational leader and also spent time in broadcasting and advertising.
He’s host of the weekend show “Huckabee” on the Fox News Channel and also host of “The Mike Huckabee Show” on Cumulus Radio Network.
He and his wife, Janet, live in Florida. They have three children and two grandchildren, according to the website.