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Mike Huckabee's Caribbean excursion

We speculated earlier that Mike Huckabee was continuing his all-but-hopeless presidential quest with an eye on his political future. David Sanders, a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau who knows the state's former governor far better, also offered some conjecture in a Wednesday column and came up with a more monetary motive.

From "Day 1," Sanders wrote, "the Huckabee campaign hasn't just been about running for president. It has also been a means by which to advance his career and relevance. Hefty speaking fees, handsome book deals and perhaps his own television show all lie ahead.

"So why should he drop out when momentum is now shifting his way, even though math proves he can't win? Well that's easy. There is still so much at stake."

We're not so sure about that momentum part. And Sanders' assessment struck us as a bit harsh.

Still, it came to mind with the news Wednesday evening that Huckabee will be taking a detour from the campaign trail in Wisconsin (site of a primary next Tuesday) to deliver a paid speech (amount unknown) to young professionals confabbing in the Cayman Islands.

Huckabee will leave the frigid Upper Midwest sometime on Friday and give his speech on Saturday. He promised to be back trolling for votes sometime Sunday. And he got somewhat defensive when pressed by reporters in the Badger State about ...

temporarily suspending what he has billed as a principled effort to ensure voters -- especially conservative ones -- keep having a choice in the Republican race.

The Times' Jim Rainey was there, and he reports that Huckabee insisted his brief side trip demonstrates what he's long been saying -- he's the one candidate who truly understands the economic crunch facing many Americans.

The reason for his trip, he said, is "real simple -- because I am the only person who doesn’t get paid by the taxpayers to campaign. Sen. [Barack] Obama, Sen. [Hillary] Clinton, Sen. [John] McCain campaign every day and I am paying for their campaigns. I’m paying because I am a taxpayer and I have to pay for their Senate salary, even if they are not on duty. The taxpayers aren’t paying a dime for me to campaign."

He went on: "I have to make a living. I do that through my writing and through my speaking. I’ve been doing that for quite some time. ... I'm not independently wealthy. I wish I was.” "

For more than 10 years -- until the end of 2006 -- he also was drawing a governor's check from Arkansas taxpayers, but that didn't come up.

Asked if it bothered him that, with his campaign in its last-gasp stage, he would be out of the country for close to 48 hours, Huckabee continued to flash heretofore hidden resentment toward the other White House contenders:

"It bothers me more that I'm having to go out of the country to make money to pay for the other guys, ... that you and I are having to fund candidaters who get a federal taxpayer paycheck whether they show up for the job and vote or not. I still have to pay my bills and I have to pay theirs. ... I'm subsidizing my opponents in that way."

Presumably, his mood about his gig will improve, once he gets in front of his sun-soaked audience.

-- Don Frederick

Comments () | Archives (9)

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huckabee running off the campaign trail trolling for dollars lol
quite a sad tale but it's the american way no? get it while you can

Typical, the newspaper tries to make a scandal out of nothing. Huckabee is a normal working person like the rest of us Americans, he has a mortgage and bills to pay. Huckabee does need money from time to time just like any average American..Now thats a big scandal...Wonder what would make you media folk feel better, if Huckabee took money from his campaign to pay his bills..I am voting for Huckabee, he at least can understand my financial struggles......

Huckabee is being dumped on for working? Oh the gall of Huckabee, to actually take the opportunity to earn some cash to pay his bills. Huckabee does not have a steady job because he is campaigning all the time. He needs to do speaking here and there to earn money for his family. Mrs. Huckabee worked at a full time job too before taking a leave of absence to go on the campaign trail. Not sure what America has come to when you write snotty news articles because a guy is trying to make a living.

Huckabee is not rich like the other candidates, he actually has to work to earn money...

What's the fact that Huckabee was drawing a salary from the state of Ark while serving as Governor have to do with anything he is stating?! Don't you get his point, that they are senators who get paid to serve as senators not travel around the country campaigning for President? While he was Governor he got paid for acting as Governor not campaigning for another job. Point in fact a very important bill was voted on this week for the taxpayers and where were the senators? Traveling and campaigning. How about them withholding their salary when they are campaigning and not doing their elected job?! I could never get my employer to pay my salary while I took an indefinite leave of absence from my job, could you?!!

"For more than 10 years -- until the end of 2006 -- he also was drawing a governor's check from Arkansas taxpayers, but that didn't come up."

Well, Mike Huckabee wasn't running for President in 2006. So, he is absolutely accurate in making that statement - I am the only person who doesn’t get paid by the taxpayers to campaign.

Perhaps we should have a law requiring any sitting officials to resign before s/he can run for another office. OR, we need to demand them to be in their office and WORKING.

How is this news? Seriously.

You're writing a column and getting paid to do so. Mr. Huckabee is giving a speech, to an assembly that he's spoken at before - btw - and getting paid for it.

Senators McCain, Clinton, Obama and Paul are running for office and getting paid as Senators. They don't have to take time off the trail to do their job, heck their job's in Washington - automatic free publicity. Mike, on the other hand, does need to work, as well as campaign. I'm glad to see it. All along the way, he has earned his way and his campaign has earned its way. That's fiscal responsibility. I understand it's a foreign concept in today's political landscape, but there it is.

His salary as Governor didn't come up, because he isn't drawing it anymore... Do I really have to point that out?

Mike Huckabee is a sincere, conservative candidate. He lives a real life, has real bills and isn't taking money from his campaign, and yet he is campaigning tirelessly. I hope he gets some rest in the Caymans and comes back to an energized base and a rally against the established Republican elites!

I apologize if this message gets sent mulitple times, I'm having issues with my server.

Someone who has to work for a living to pay his bills wants to be president of the United States . . . the gall of it!
Only rich folks can be president - that way they're insulated from the trivial little life challenges faced by real Americans everyday.
To the vast herd of you "sheeple" who will vote to promote a legislator to lead you: No whining when you get what you asked for. Which, by the way, will be a country unbound by your needs unless you are part of a politically influential "special interest". What about the plain old "regular" interest of wanting a federal government that can actually function.

Oh, please. Spare me. This is yet another ridiculous anti-Huckabee story.

So, he and his wife are going on vacation so that he can speak to a youth group--which he planned months ago.

Mike Huckabee is the best candidate of any of the ones running in either party. He is an authentic conservative, and he has to earn a living like the rest of us, unlike those fed with a silver spoon all their lives.

He is prolife, profamily, and in favor of tax reform. He has more executive experience than any other candidate running in either Party. He was immensely popular when governor of Arkansas, as again evidenced by his huge margin of victory in that primary (compared to considerably less impressive victories by some of his fellow candidates in their respective states). He is a great communicator, is very intelligent, and is the ONE candidate who would really bring positive change to the White House.

My wife and I will be voting for Mike Huckabee when Texas has its primary!

The witer's jab at Huckabee regarding his salary as Arkansas's governor is unnecessary as well as irrelevant. It misses the point of what Gov. Huckabee is saying- that we, the taxpayers, are essentially paying all of these senator's salaries while they are campaigning for president rather than working. Gov. Huckabee did NOT campaign for presdient while he was in the governor's office. He served as governor for 10 1/2 years, left office due to term limits in early 2007, and began his presidential bid after that. Now that he is no longer governor, he has the gall to actually earn a living in other ways in order to pay his bills,. The nerve of that man!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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