SOUTH CAROLINA—GOP presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee attended a town hall event in Anderson, South Carolina, where hundreds of people attended, including Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
Gowdy was welcomed by a standing ovation and introduced Scott to the crowd, saying Scott was the “most hopeful voice” he has heard in politics.
Scott also received a standing welcome when he introduced Huckabee—who also brought the hundreds of supporters to their feet—saying Huckabee’s “an amazing performer” and “a governor who knows how to play,” referencing Huckabee’s musical talents he often showcased while a host on Fox News.
“It is a delight to be here – I’m delighted to be your first victim of the presidential series,” Huckabee joked to Scott who is hosting a presidential candidate forum series.
Huckabee did well previously when he came in at a close second in the GOP primary eight years ago in South Carolina.
Huckabee was asked how he as a former governor can separate himself from fellow GOP presidential candidates.
“We need somebody who has actually governed, someone who has had the chief executive experience, someone who has done it in the context of a very hostile legislative environment. Mine was the most lopsided partisan in America,” Huckabee said. “Most people don’t think of Arkansas that way, but I was only the fourth Republican elected into state office in 150 years.”
Huckabee said running the government is like running a business, but more complex, because a leader must be able to work with both sides to get the job done.
Having run against the “Clinton machine,” Huckabee said, “Every race I ever ran was against the apparatus that they so skillfully put together over their 25 years in Arkansas politics.”
He said people question how the GOP can challenge the Clinton political machine, but Huckabee answers that he’s the man to do it.
“There’s one person in the race that has not only done it and repeatedly won against it, but even lived to tell about it, so here I stand.”
Unlike Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who takes few questions from voters and media, Huckabee took press questions prior to the event and questions from voters read by Scott and Gowdy.
Huckabee made it clear that as president he would stop federal overreach from interfering with states’s rights.
“I’m a 10th amendment guy – I really believe that if it’s not outlined in the constitution its left to the states,” he said.
One issue Huckabee wants to leave to the states and out of the federal government’s control is education.
“There is no federal role in education,” he said, which received loud cheers and whistles from the crowd.
He said he supports term limits for both the legislature and judicial branches.
Huckabee also commented on the Iranian deal negotiations, saying, “Iranians will be sucking sand” and not taking a good deal for them, and a bad deal for the United States.
He addressed the issue of immigration saying if he was elected president, “Within a year, we’ll have our borders secured.” He also said the fair tax would help in terms of the issue of illegal immigrants not having to pay taxes.
Huckabee concluded by saying a leader must be a voice of common sense and morality.