Thursday, March 8, 2007

Newsweek Profile on Huckabee

Newsweek have done a detailed interview with Mike Huckabee. It's the national attention that Huckabee needs at this point. It's worth a read.

March 5, 2007 - Mike Huckabee is in an unusual situation for a politician. He doesn’t have to pander to his base. A former Southern Baptist preacher, he starts his 2008 presidential bid well to the right of his party’s most serious contenders. His long-held pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-gay marriage agenda would seem to be music to the ears of conservatives unhappy with the fact that social-issue moderates like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and (at least until recently) Mitt Romney are hogging the headlines. So why isn’t the governor of Arkansas and current Republican presidential candidate, stuck around two percent in recent polls, catching fire among religious conservatives? Huckabee has a plan to fix that—and it starts with this interview. NEWSWEEK's Susannah Meadows talked with the other guy from a place called Hope about gays, hell and donuts.

You recently lost more than 100 pounds. Are the people you meet on the campaign trail more interested in talking about your weight than policy?

Huckabee: It certainly is a point of fascination. It’s one of the rare times a politician enjoys talking about losing. It also segues into talking about not only the health issue, but the fact that 80% of Americans’ health-care costs are caused by chronic disease. And most of that is due to over-eating, under-exercising, smoking.

Would you put America on a diet?

A lot of people want this to be a simple solution: more P.E., less vending machines. There is an entire cultural shift that has to take place. What has to happen is that we change from a culture of disease to a culture of health. The government can’t do it for people, but there is a role government can play. In Arkansas, we created incentives. For example, you got discounts on health insurance if you didn’t smoke. [In this country] smokers can take breaks and smoke on company time. If you want to exercise, we say you do that on your lunch hour. People who are healthy pay high premiums for those who are not. There’s no incentive in the system.

I heard fried Twinkies used to be one of your favorite foods. Do ever indulge anymore?

The food that I used to crave, the amazing thing is, I often find it repulsive. Something dripping in grease, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I would be better off eating the sack it came in.’ I don’t walk by the donut counter anymore and go into withdrawal.