Few Republicans know the Clintons as well as Mike Huckabee, former governor of their home state. Governor Huckabee joined me in the first hour of my program today to discuss Hillary’s presser:
HH: I’m joined now by the former governor of Arkansas, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Governor, welcome back, always a pleasure to talk to you.
MH: Well, thank you, Hugh, great to be back.
HH: Governor, you’ve known Hillary Clinton how long?
MH: Well, I guess I’ve known her for 25 years or more, actually more than that, because it really goes long before my time as, even as a political candidate, and that’s 25 years ago. So probably back into the 80s. I knew her husband better, but I’ve known her for many years and have interacted with her, ran against the political machine that the Clintons built every time I was on the ballot, and found that it was a very formidable and sometimes ominous undertaking to challenge this incredible political machine. I think people underestimate the political strength of this couple.
HH: Did you watch her press conference today?
MH: I did. Yeah, I did, and I felt one of the things most interesting, and I can’t believe none of the reporters challenged her when she made this whole issue about not wanting to carry two devices, because she wanted to be able to only carry one. Well Hugh, anybody with an iPhone who paid their bill last month should know that you can have one device and multiple accounts that will come to that device. The notion that she had to have more than one physical device in order to have more than one account to which she could access is on its face ludicrous.
HH: It is, and she may have confused the Steelers fans, Governor, but I look at the online reaction to this, and it’s overwhelmingly negative. So I want to put it to you baldly. Do you think Mrs. Clinton was lying today?
MH: Boy, that’s a tough word. Let’s say she is incredibly either uninformed about the realities of technical equipment, or it would be fair to say that she is memory-challenged, maybe truth-challenged would even be more fair.
HH: Truth-challenged and lying, that’s a fine line. Why are you reluctant to say? You’re willing to say she’s truth-challenged, but you’re reluctant to say she’s lying?
MH: Well, because I don’t know what she knows. I just can’t believe, however, I mean let me put it this way. It stretches any level of credibility on her part to believe, to make us believe that she truly believed she was following all the rules, all the laws, and that she did not realize that she could have both her personal and State Department accounts coming to her one device. And by the way, there’s already a video that’s surfaced where she just two weeks ago admitted that she had both an iPhone and a Blackberry. So apparently, I don’t know how long she’s had both devices, but she claims now that she has had both devices, or at least two, when at the press conference, she pretended that she only had one. I’m telling you, the more that she talks, the more troublesome this becomes for her. And I find it entertaining to watch the Hillary supporters, the Clintonites, the Clintonistas as we called them in Arkansas, to trot and out and try to defend this. And even they are having a hard time. I think they found it easier to defend Bill in the Monica Lewinsky situation than they are defending Hillary with this.
HH: Now Governor Huckabee, I’ve been following the online reaction to this as well. And folks like Ron Fournier and folk like Jake Tapper, who was just on, and Ryan Lizza, they are all deeply troubled by this. It’s not a conservative Republican attack machine that is mounting this. It’s sort of basic journalism 101 that you keep your government work separate. Does she, is her campaign imperiled, in your view?
MH: I think it really is when you have the mainstream press that are piling on. Now my advice to those of us who are conservative is let’s not overplay our hand here, and here’s what I mean by that. There’s an old saying that I paraphrase. When your opponent is self-destructing, don’t get in her way. And I think in many ways, the smart play on our part is to just watch this unfold and let the mainstream media have their day with her, because if it looks like this is really being driven by her political opponents, by the people who are potential candidates for president, or members of the Republican House or Senate or conservative talk show hosts, any of the above, and it looks like we’re driving this message, then I think people start saying well, wait a minute, we don’t want to be part of this vast right wing conspiracy. I think we say look, let’s let the chips fall where they may. But as Ricky Ricardo so brilliantly said to Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.
HH: Let’s go to question and answer number 4. This is really the heart of the matter. It goes to the national security aspect of this, Governor Huckabee. She’s asked did you delete any government emails, and who looked the server, and here is the former Secretary of State’s rather lengthy response, number 13:
HRC: We did not. In fact, my direction to conduct the thorough investigation was to err on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work related. That doesn’t mean they will be by the State Department once the State Department goes through them. But out of an abundance of caution and care, you know, we wanted to send that message unequivocally. That is the responsibility of the individual, and I have fulfilled that responsibility, and I have no doubt that we’ve done exactly what we should have done. When the search was conducted, we were asking that any emails be identified and preserved that could potentially be federal records. And that’s exactly what we did, and we went, as I said, beyond that. And the process produced over 30,000, you know, work emails. And I think that we have more than met the request from the State Department. The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met my responsibilities, and the server will remain private, and I think that the State Department will be able over time to release all of the records that were provided.
HH: Do you believe her, Governor Huckabee?
MH: I have a hard time, and let me tell you why, Hugh. One of the things that I find just remarkable is she essentially is saying just trust me, I’ve given everything over that they would possibly want. Let me ask this. How many Americans would like to live by this standard when the IRS audits them?
MH: If they just tell the IRS you know something? You can trust me. I mean, if you can trust Hillary, you can trust me. I’m going to audit myself. And I’ll let you know if I find anything that you guys need to come after. Then tomorrow, I’ll call you and say by golly, I’ve done a darn good job, I’ve checked it all, I’m clean as a hound’s tooth, and I’m good to go. You don’t even have to come down to my house and look through all those pesky records in the shoebox. We’re all covered here. My gosh, Hugh, none of us get to do that kind of self-investigation when the government wants to know something. And we’re not talking about issues of national security. We’re talking about whether or not we actually had a meal at the Waffle House, for gosh sake. And Hillary expects us to just go ahead and accept that she’s gone through these records, and anything that we should have, we’ve gotten. And if we don’t have it, then we don’t need it. And no, I don’t want her yoga schedule. I don’t care about the plans for Chelsea’s wedding. But this is an issue of she was the Secretary of State privy to the highest level of national secrets, and I think it’s problematic that she was holding communications in a personal, private server, because we have no idea what kind of firewall, what kind of security measures were in that server. It’s just a remarkable thing.
HH: I’m going to play for you her last response, Governor Huckabee, so the audience can hear it if they didn’t hear it earlier today. It’s cut number 15 when she’s being asked whether it’s appropriate to have her own server and the effect on her presidential campaign. Here’s her answer.
HRC: The system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service, and there were no security breaches. So I think that the use of that server, which started with my husband certainly proved to be effective and secure. Now with respect to any sort of future issues, look, I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters. And I feel that I’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails. They’re going to be in the public domain. And I think that Americans will find that interesting, and I look forward to having a discussion about that.
HH: Now Governor Huckabee, this is flabbergasting on many levels. One of them is the word Stuxnet comes to mind, which is our secret assault on the Iranian nuclear program, that they did not know we put into their computers until it attacked. She wouldn’t know if there was a security breach. We’ll never know unless the server is given over to competent professionals at the NSA. Do you think she’s dumb? Or do you think she knows she cannot afford to give that server over?
MH: Well, I mean, this is a lady who claims that she didn’t realize you could have two accounts coming into one device. So maybe she didn’t realize that someone can put a virus on your computer, or they can breach the security, and they don’t put a pop up window saying congratulations, you’ve just been popped. I mean, it’s not the way it works. That’s the whole point of internet cybersecurity problems is that my gosh, we know the NSA has been peeking in on what we’re doing. How many people knew that until Edward Snowden came along and revealed it to us. Most people didn’t know that our emails were privy to somebody else taking a peek at them. And so I do think it’s problematic, and one of the things that I find when she keeps using the word she took unprecedented steps, I’d say that’s probably one of the few correct things she said. It’s just that she took unprecedented steps to remain as oblique as possible when it came to what those records were. I think this is problematic for her, but as I said earlier, I think that at this point, the real challenge she faces is not going to be from people like me. Everyone expects me to be critical and to raise the issues. It’s going to be from the mainstream press, from the New York Times, the Washington Post, from the Associated Press. I just think she’s going to have a hard time defending this.
HH: Last couple of questions, Governor Huckabee. This is a very cavalier, at best, it’s a very cavalier approach to national security. Do you personally, as Mike Huckabee, think it should disqualify her from the presidency?
MH: Well, I think there are a lot of things that probably should, but this is very problematic. And if she is this naïve about the nature of cybersecurity, then I’m not sure that we want her answering the phone at three in the morning, or for that matter, three in the afternoon.
HH: And a last question, this goes back again to your long association with knowledge. I’m sure you’ve been at more events with Hillary Clinton than pretty much anybody else in the country who’s not part of her family or her inner circle, given your Arkansas overlap. Why do they act this way? When did they become so entitled to the two rule set? Because it’s clearly one set of rules for Mike Huckabee and Hugh Hewitt, and the rest of the country, and another set of rules for the Clintons.
MH: People forget that the Clintons have been on the ballot somewhere almost every two years since 1974. That’s 41 years. Think about that. Every, almost every other year, there have been a couple of occasions where Bill Clinton had four years terms, but for the most part, Bill or Hillary, almost every two years since 1974. What happens when you are in office that long, and you’re in politics that long, you really do begin to feel a sense of empowerment and entitlement, and people treat you in a deferential way. And you begin to feel like I’m treated this way because I deserve it. And the rules are the rules for them, but they’re not for me, because after all, I’m in a position that puts me above it. I don’t think it’s intentional. I don’t think it’s what people want to do. I think it’s the danger of having people making a career out of politics. It’s one reason I’m such a strong proponent of term limits, that people would serve, then they would get back out in the private sector where they drive their own cars and wait at traffic lights, and wait their turn in the grocery line. And if they go back, then they take a little bit of reality with them.
HH: Mike Huckabee, it is always a pleasure, Governor, thanks for joining me today.
MH: Thanks, Hugh, great to talk to you.
HH: Good to talk with you.
End of interview.