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What does Mike Huckabee believe? Where the candidate stands on 10 issues

BY and   May 5, 2015 at 8:00 AM EDT  | Updated: Jul 2, 2015 at 1:29 AM
Republican 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 18. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

Republican 2016 presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 18. Huckabee announced his candidacy today. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

Mike Huckabee is a religious leader, talk show host, book tour veteran (a dozen in print), bass guitarist, weight-loss guru and was one of the longest-serving governors in Arkansas’ history. He broke 13 years of Democratic rule in his state and broke Mitt Romney’s heart by winning in Iowa in 2008. Here is where the presidential candidate stands on 10 issues.

Budget and Entitlements: Balance the budget. Consider raising retirement age for new workers.

Huckabee advocates a balanced federal budget and frequently points to his record of balancing budgets as governor of Arkansas. On Medicare and Social Security, in April he indicated he would consider raising the retirement age for young people just entering the workforce and keep benefits and eligibility intact for those closer to retirement.

Climate Change: Scientific predictions are inaccurate. But no hard, definitive stance.

In 2013, Huckabee wrote that climate change predictions have proved inaccurate, in a Facebook post that is no longer available online. He has not definitively rung in on whether humans have a role in climate change and questions its priority as an issue, comparing the problem to a sunburn on FOX News. In 2007, Huckabee told a climate change conference in New Hampshire that the nation has a responsibility to cut carbon emissions and that he then supported a “true cap-and-trade” system. In later years when asked about the comment, Huckabee said he supports a “voluntary” cap-and-trade system.

Education: States, not federal government, should set similar standards. Common Core was a good idea and has been misconstrued.

Known for his support of and within the homeschooling community, Huckabee believes that curriculum standards should be set at the state or local level. Huckabee outlined his philosophy in a 2008 interview with the conservative-leaning CNS News. He opposes federally-mandated testing but had mixed feelings on No Child Left Behind, which he applauded for empowering states and looking at students as individuals. His view on the state-initiated Common Core standards is nuanced. In June 2013, Huckabee wrote a letter to Oklahoma lawmakers endorsing the standards and insisting they are not heavy-handed. In December, Huckabee wrote on his blog that the term “Common Core” had been hijacked by some who had expanded the program too far. He concluded by saying he would like comparable standards for students set by and operated on the state or local level.

Guns: Allow concealed carry. Protect citizens who use deadly force.

A gun owner, Huckabee supports expansions of concealed carry laws and has written in the past that he believes they have saved lives. In 2006, Huckabee told a radio show that he supports the “Castle Doctrine” which states that people have the right to stand their ground and use deadly force when under threat.

Health Care: Repeal the Affordable Care Act. Government should subsidize those facing “extraordinary” costs.

Huckabee wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The former governor would instead focus on families and individuals with extraordinarily high medical expenses and set up a government mechanism to help pay for some of their costs.

Immigration: Require most immigrants here illegally to self-deport within four months. Waive deportation for those brought here as children.

Huckabee has opposed any comprehensive immigration plan that gives most undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. His 2007 immigration plan bolstered border security and required anyone in the country illegally to register with authorities and leave the country within 120 days. When it comes to immigrants who were brought her illegally as children, often called DREAMers, Huckabee believes they should have a legal status and be able to apply for citizenship.

Social Issues: Push for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision. Ban all abortions, except where life of the mother is at risk.

Huckabee voiced sharp opposition to the Supreme Court’s June ruling on gay marriage, writing that the prevailing justices acted as a “judicial tyranny” that must be resisted. The former Arkansas governor is calling for a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. He also opposes allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.

Huckabee would similarly turn to the Constitution on abortion, proposing an amendment to ban abortion, with an exception for the life of the mother. As president, he also would push for the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

Taxes: Eliminate income tax and the IRS. Replace it with national sales tax.

Huckabee proposes a national “Fair Tax.” The idea would eliminate income, corporate, capital gains and a number of other taxes and replace them with a single sales tax. He would also eliminate the IRS, arguing the simple system would make it unnecessary.

Iran and Israel: Contested territory belongs to Israel. No to a two-state solution with Palestinians.

Speaking in New Hampshire in April, Huckabee rejected the idea of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, saying contested settlement areas in Judea and Samaria belong to Israel.

On Iran, Huckabee would keep current U.S. sanctions in place until Iran dismantles its nuclear infrastructure. He has sharply questioned negotiations led by the Obama administration.

Islamic State: Nations in the Middle East region must do more to fight Islamic State, but the U.S. may have to put boots on the ground.

In a September Facebook post, the former governor praised President Obama’s decision to start airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group. In October, in another Facebook post, the former governor blasted Turkey and other nations for not committing enough resources to fight IS and indicated he thinks the U.S. may have to put boots on the ground.