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Huckabee on controversial diabetes cure: ‘I don’t have to defend everything that I’ve ever done’

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee greets supporters in Hope, Ark., on May 5, 2015. Huckabee announced last week that he is seeking the Republican nomination in the 2016 race for president. (Danny Johnston/AP)

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Sunday aggressively defended his participation in a controversial infomercial that peddled an all-natural cure to “reverse your type 2 diabetes," saying the treatment has been mischaracterized and stressing that he is no longer involved with the company.

“[T]he particular plan you are talking about is about the healthy eating, watching the kind of foods one takes in and — you know, I don't have to defend everything that I've ever done,” Huckabee, who has diabetes, told "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer on Sunday. “I am not doing those infomercials obviously now as a candidate for president. But if that's the worst thing somebody can say to me, is that I advocated for people who have diabetes to do something to reverse it and stop the incredible pain of that, then I am going to be a heck of a good president.”

Huckabee, who last week launched his second presidential bid, has been criticized for appearing in — and receiving money for — a "Diabetes Solution Kit" infomercial that makes medical recommendations to diabetics that are not supported by the American Diabetes Association. Schieffer, who said he, too, has diabetes, expressed skepticism over the claims about dietary supplements made in the infomercial.

Huckabee said, “One of the elements of the plan was dietary supplements, but it is not the fundamental thing. The fundamental thing is always, as both you and I know, is exercise, it's good eating habits, it’s maintaining sugar levels, it’s not eating a bunch of junk food, processed food, lots of carbs, sugar, those type of things.”

[The long, dorky history of politicians selling junk food, reverse mortgages and cures for diabetes.]

The Arkansas Republican also stressed his belief that the medical community should be focused on finding a cure for the illness rather than just a treatment plan.

Diabetes is “one of the four big things that are costing Americans in the health-care system, along with cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease,” he said. “If we approach this as I have suggested, which is looking for cures rather than just treatment, we then not only save lives, we start saving serious money. And that's one of the reforms we need to be talking about nationally.”