Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a 2008 Republican candidate for president, announced Tuesday he is running for the GOP nomination again in 2016. At an event in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas, Huckabee hit on populist and social conservative themes, repeatedly entreating voters to join him on a "journey from hope to higher ground."
Huckabee's announcement was heavy on policy prescriptions. As president, Huckabee said, he would fight for veterans' health care, protect Social Security and Medicare from cuts, and "conquer" jihadism. On Iran, he said, "Hell will freeze over before they get a nuclear weapon." With regard to immigration, Huckabee said reform should start not with "amnesty" but "by taking control of our own borders." And he criticized those who would "tinker" with the tax code.
"As president, I'll work to pass the Fair Tax, which would no longer penalize people's work," Huckabee said. "We would finally rid ourselves of the biggest bully in America, the IRS."
Huckabee, who left office in 2007 and won the Iowa caucuses a year later, also focused on his 10-year tenure in Little Rock that he says helped "working-class" Arkansans, and his pitch at time seemed directed at blue-collar workers. "We need to be promoting the maximum wage," he said. "We will never break the cycle of poverty by pushing people to their minimum wage."
The former Fox News host also pointed to his outsider status. "I will never be the favored candidate of those in the Washington to Wall Street corridor," Huckabee said.