As noted here, Mike Huckabee, after first claiming during last night’s debate to have reduced taxes in Arkansas, later ducked the issue of whether taxes rose substantially while he was governor by stating (in part) that he had taken a pledge not to raise federal taxes. Fred Thompson replied:
I know the governor is pointing out that he signed the tax pledge. Earlier this year on Tim Russert’s show, on another network, he said it’d be a dangerous thing to make a tax pledge because you couldn’t foresee what was going to happen in the future.
Thompson then moved to other subjects, including welfare reform which he had backed as a Senator.
Because Thompson had brought up Huckabee’s change of position on the tax pledge, Chris Wallace gave him the opportunity to respond on that point. But Huckabee, having been caught in a flip-flop, decided to respond instead to Thompson’s discussion of welfare reform:
Senator Thompson, I appreciate you and the other members of Congress passing welfare reform, but it was up to the governors to make it work. And as a governor, we made it work in my state and took half the people off welfare and got them into jobs.
During my tenure, we had the lowest unemployment records in the history of our state and we created a record number of jobs, and jobs that paid more money than the jobs they replaced.
It’s easy to be in Congress and pass a bill that maybe will change some mandates to the states, but those of us who had to govern at the state level were forced with something that members of Congress didn’t have to do. They actually had to make it work.
More slippery candidates than Huckabee may have sought the Republican nomination in recent years, but none comes to mind. To paraphrase Jackie Mason, even Nixon had the decency to sweat when he obfuscated.
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