Huckabee Remarks on Loss to McCain, Romney in N.H. Primary
Tuesday, January 8, 2008; 9:33 PM
FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, R-ARK.: Thank you very much. Well, you may like me, but I want to tell you something: I love you guys. Thank you very much.
I have a great, great friend, who is a highly decorated Marine from Vietnam, and he made a statement once. He said, I've never lost at anything I've done. Sometimes the game ended before I got finished playing.
Tonight, I was able to call Governor Romney, Senator McCain, and congratulate them on finishing ahead of us, but, ladies and gentlemen, a few weeks ago, we were way back in not-so-even sixth place, and nobody thought that we would even be one of the contenders in New Hampshire.
But because so many people in this state just worked their hearts out -- and it wasn't like we had a whole lot of money to help you with, so you made up for it with hard work, phone calls, e-mails. Frankly, I'm not sure what all some of you did. I don't even want to know.
But thank you for getting it done, because tonight we're going to come out here with the continued momentum, and I want to just tell you from the depths of my heart that we thought that if we could finish in the top -- we kept saying four or five, we'd feel pretty good about that, knowing just how tough it's been to try to break through.
But, tonight, you've given us so much more than we could have imagined just a few days or weeks ago, and over the last few days, we've seen that momentum build and the excitement at our rallies and the enthusiasm of our people and the size of the crowds. And we just sensed that we were going to do better than a lot of people thought that this old unknown Southern boy could possibly do up here in New England.
Janet and I want to just pay special tribute to our leaders here. Fred Bramante and Cliff Hurst, our co-chairmen here, have been magnificent, and from the very first day they signed on. My heartfelt thanks to them for a great job of leading our campaign here.
Thank you, guys. Thank you.
And Fred does want me to remind everybody that today is Elvis's birthday, so I just wanted to throw that in.
To all these wonderful people on the stage with me from New Hampshire, who have given not just their time, but really they put their reputations on the line for us. And when they came onboard, you have to understand, people were saying, "You're going to endorse who?" And I want to say how much I appreciate the people in New Hampshire for standing with us. And it wasn't because that they could see a few weeks ago some obvious victory. It was because they saw in this country the opportunity to really bring the kind of leadership you and I all know we really need to take America up and not down, and that's what we're going to continue to do.
So many others. Senator Bob Clegg has headed up our legislative effort, and I hope Bob is up on this stage.
Thank you, Bob, for a great job. Where were...
But all over this state, people like you and others who couldn't even be here with us in Manchester tonight certainly recognize the incredible hard work that's been put forth. Ladies and gentlemen, we've had the time of our lives. If there's any sadness tonight, it's not where we finished, because, frankly, we're pretty happy about that.
But there is some sadness, and let me share with you what it is. Over the past year or so, I've had the incredible joy of making regular visits in and out of New Hampshire, and it got to be where I just knew I was going to be up here two or three times a month and I'd get to see what has become really not just some casual acquaintances and some friends, but people how have grown as close as family.
And I'm going to tell you something, I always had thought that Southern hospitality was extraordinary and special, and I thought that it was unique to those of us who lived in the deep South. You guys have proven to me that love, friendship, kindness, hospitality and family is not geographical. And tonight I want to express to you, from the depths of my heart, the appreciation that Janet and I feel for all that you have done to make us feel like we're part of you and you're part of us. And we're going to miss coming back over and over every month.
But let me tell you something. We're going to be back in New Hampshire, because after we secure the nomination, we've got to come up here and make sure we carry New Hampshire.
HUCKABEE: And I promise, we keep coming, I'll even learn how to say "chowder."
One final word. Deb Vanderbeek has been our campaign manager here in New Hampshire and has been more than magnificent. She put together a great staff and they did more work with fewer people than anybody's campaign could ever have imagined and hoped for.
I told her tonight before we came out, I said, "Deb, if I had it all to do over, I'd want you to make sure you know that I wouldn't ask anybody to manage this campaign in this state, other than you."
And I thank you so much, Deb, for a great job.
We may even get a halfway-decent night's sleep tonight. We sure are feeling better about you guys. And then from here, we're going to head to South Carolina. We'll be down there at Greenville, a big rally to kick off. In Michigan and South Carolina and Florida in the next three days, what you helped us continue will be carried right on through, and it won't be long, we're going to be able to secure this nomination and on to the White House and on to leading America.
Thank you, folks. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.