Huckabee Not Running For President
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) announced Saturday that he won't run for president in 2012, removing a strong contender from the field and underscoring the volatility and wide-open nature of the Republican nominating contest.
"My answer is clear and firm. I will not seek the Republican nomination for president," Huckabee said Saturday evening.
Huckabee said that despite external pressure to run, and supreme confidence that he could win the Republican nomination, he couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger. "All the factors say go, but my heart says no," Huckabee said. "And that's the decision that I have made."
Huckabee announced his decision live on Fox News during the 8 p.m. time slot for his popular cable show, "Huckabee."
The live announcement of Huckabee's decision came at the end of his hour-long program, which included a bizarre blend of news analysis and 1990s pop culture. Huckabee followed segments on torrential flooding and Osama bin Laden's death by interviewing former "Saved by the Bell" star Mario Lopez, who's hawking a new book, and rocker Ted Nugent, with whom Huckabee gleefully performed "Catch Scratch Fever" at the show's conclusion.
The network did not have a statement on Huckabee's decision.
Huckabee's decision not to to run isn't entirely unexpected. He has a lucrative contract with Fox News, which has enabled the Baptist minister who grew up poor to build a Florida mansion. He acknowledged several times during his recent book tour that financial considerations could keep him from running, noting that "If I run, I walk away from a pretty good income."
Yet speculation around Huckabee's potential candidacy heated up several weeks ago when Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) made the surprising decision not to seek the GOP nomination, leaving a vacuum in the Republican field for a southern conservative with populist appeal. Huckabee's ability to fill that void, and connect with evangelical voters in Iowa and South Carolina, rekindled speculation that he could mount another presidential run.