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Read excerpts from Kim Lawton’s August 15, 2008 interview in Washington, DC, with former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee about the McCain campaign, Republican platform issues, and the convictions of the candidate:
I think the Republicans are going to see increasing numbers of people rally around John McCain. They’re comfortable with his own depth of personal character, his faith, his honor, and they know that his positions really do reflect more of what they believe to be important, on the issue of life and traditional marriage, and he’s not been mean about it. He’s been very clear about it. And I remember seeing Senator McCain even going on the Ellen show and, with great respect and with even great admiration for her as a person, take a principled stand on what he believed marriage was, and it wasn’t confrontational, but it was spoken out of real conviction.
I know that some people would like to see the political process like a buffet where you go and put exactly on your plate what you want. Doesn’t work like that. You have a process, and that process ends up resulting in a nominee, and then you rally around that nominee. You support him. And when you look at the nominee of our party versus the nominee of the other party, I think for most of us it’s real, real easy to get enthusiastically behind Senator McCain because he so much more accurately represents and reflects things that are important to me-lower taxes, a commitment to life, a commitment to traditional marriage, and a commitment to national security and a knowledge of the world stage. Those are all issues, I think, that people who are Republican are going to have to say the choice is real clear.
I think certainly the party platform needs to reflect what we have historically held, and that is that life is precious, begins at conception. It ought to be protected. I think any attempt to weaken or water that down would be met with extraordinary resistance, and it would be a big mistake, but I don’t hear any talk whatsoever that there would be some type of diminishing of the Republican platform on those key issues.
Parts of [the religion and politics discourse] have been healthy; some of it hasn’t. I think there’s been a healthy portion when we’re actually open about saying let’s talk about faith and how it influences our values system and what kind of judgment we have. It’s unhealthy when we start wanting to delve into every little doctrinal quirk of a person’s faith, because that may not be relevant to that person’s service in public office. If the question is whether we should talk about faith or not, yes, we absolutely should. Should faith be the only criteria by which we decide whether we vote for somebody? Of course not. We want competence, too. If I’m going to have an operation, I’d like for that doctor to be a person who prays and is in touch with the Creator of my body and my future. But if the choice is between an incompetent surgeon who’s a wonderful Christian or, you know, a great surgeon with very skillful hands and lots of experience who hadn’t been to church in thirty years, my attitude is I’ll do the praying and you do the cutting and maybe between the two of us this thing will turn out okay.
[McCain] can’t be phony. He can’t come out and start saying something that he’s not comfortable with. I just happen to know that there’s a comfort within his own soul and heart. He is a person who has deep, spiritual, faith convictions. This is not a man who has run away from God or is afraid to embrace his own faith and who he is. But, you know, there are many Americans, not just John McCain, who don’t necessarily want to talk about it as blatantly and openly. Some of it has to do with the way that we were brought up. But it doesn’t in any way diminish the authenticity of his faith, and frankly I’d rather have a person who lives faith and doesn’t talk about it than somebody who talks about it and doesn’t live it. And I think John McCain is a person-if you look at his voting record-is consistent with what he does, in fact, does profess.