ABC's Roberts: 'Fundamentalist Christians' Gave Huckabee the Win
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts used the label "fundamentalist Christians" to describe the Iowa supporters of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. During an interview on Friday's program, she also noted that America "saw, there, in your offices in Iowa, right before the caucuses, people praying there in your, in your office."
The ABC journalist also grilled the '08 contender, fresh from his caucus victory, on the subject of creationism and evolution. Citing a new National Academy of Sciences report, Roberts asked, "Do you agree with that, that creationism should be kept out of our classrooms?" After Huckabee stated that, as governor, he never dealt with the question, the host repeated her question: "Should creationism be banned from the classroom. Yes or no?"
On the subject of religion, Roberts, in a May 27, 2007 interview with CNN, told Howard Kurtz of her own religious faith and how "very fearful" she was about expressing it in a newsroom. She added, "You're not supposed to, we're not supposed to talk about faith."
It should be noted, however, that Roberts did offer a gushing introduction to the segment on Friday. She told viewers, "In his victory speech, GOP winner Mike Huckabee said...politics is not just about raising money, it's about raising people's hopes and dreams, which apparently is what he did in Iowa..."
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:12am on January 4, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Want to know about that bounce, perhaps, going to New Hampshire. In his victory speech, GOP winner Mike Huckabee said it is not-- politics is not just about raising money, it's about raising people's hopes and dreams, which apparently is what he did in Iowa where he beat Mitt Romney by a solid nine percentage points. Recently, actually just moments ago, I had a chance to speak with Mike Huckabee who had just arrived in Manchester. Governor Huckabee, you said before the caucuses in Iowa that if you looked up the word underdog in the dictionary that people would see a picture of you. Well, this morning, next to your picture are the words Republican front-runner. How did that happen?
MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, it's an amazing journey. And I think it started because the people of not just Iowa but the country are looking for real change. I think when they say change, they want somebody who embodies who America really believes. And that is, that this is still a place of hope and optimism. It's a place where we don't just focus on what is wrong, but what could be right. I talked about the problems, but I talked about how we can fix them. And I think the background that I have as governor is perhaps what connected with people. There, you build roads. You fix schools. You make health care better, because that's your job every day.
ROBERTS: Looking forward to New Hampshire where you are this morning, and as we've heard that the two front-runners there are McCain and Romney and that you are some 20 points behind. So how do you keep the momentum going?
HUCKABEE: Well, the momentum starts today. We're coming out of Iowa like, you know, a house afire and I think that's a good thing for us. Now, do we catch up to the first place? I don't know. That might be a little much in five days. But I think we're going to do well enough here. We certainly are still going to be on our feet. And we go to South Carolina. We're in first position there, strongly. And then we go on to Florida. We're running first in the polls there. I think people who thought of our campaign as sort of a one-state wonder may be -- haven't really been really watching carefully what's going on in these other states. So, we're pretty pumped about the next few weeks.
ROBERTS: In Iowa, the majority, over half, of the Republican caucus goers, fundamentalist Christians. And people saw, there, in your offices in Iowa, right before the caucuses, people praying there in your, in your office. But how do you get that message to translate nationwide? Because that's not the situation in New Hampshire and other places across the country.
HUCKABEE: My coalition wasn't about just evangelicals. It was people who supported the fair tax, which is, really, a really total overhaul of our current tax system which, by the way, 80 percent of American people think we need an overhaul. And I think if they understand the fair tax, many of that 80 percent would be with us. There are a lot of people for whom the Second Amendment is an important issue. Others who are pro-life, who may not necessarily be religious about it. And then are people who just believe we need a different tone of politics.
ROBERTS: But, however, you base continues to be evangelicals. And today the National Academy of Sciences has a new book out which says that evolution, overwhelming evidence of evolution, and that creationism has no place in the classroom. Do you agree with that, that creationism should be kept out of our classrooms?
HUCKABEE: In ten and a half years as a governor, never touched it. It's not an issue for our president. It wasn't even an issue for me as a governor. And governors do deal with education, but not the curriculum. It's about making sure that we have a broad enough curriculum. My focus has not been on issues like that, it's been on music and as and education. What I really fought hard for was that every student have an access to the creative side of education so every student would be able to develop both the right and left sides of the brain.
ROBERTS: Should creationism be banned from the classroom. Yes or no?
HUCKABEE: Banned? Well, banning sounds like sort of a censorship. I don't think most people agree with censorship. Should we teach it as a doctrine? Of course not. Should we teach that some people believe it, some don't? I think that's academic freedom.
ROBERTS: Governor Mike Huckabee, thank you very much for getting up and joining us this morning. We certainly do appreciate it and we'll look forward to you in New Hampshire. Thank you, sir.