FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- Wearing a white t-shirt and black shorts, Mike Huckabee went on a morning jog along the beach along a trail of reporters with one major issue on their minds: the economy.
On the congressional economic stimulus deal, Huckabee said it was "positive" to see Congress "get something done." While the package attempts to create "at least some short-term confidence in the economy, some short-term capacity for consumers," Huckabee argued that a "long-term solution" is needed.
Huckabee said implementing the "fair tax" - replacing income tax with a flat national sales tax - and abolishing the IRS would bring about long term economic recovery.
He added that just because Mitt Romney had years of experience in the business world, including running an investment firm that turned around troubled companies, Huckabee said he ran a state longer than anybody else running for president.
"I understand what it is to run a state during economic hard times as well as economic good times. I think that's more important to be president."
He also suggested it's more important to figure out how to fix unemployment than it is to fix failing companies.
"There are a lot of people who are losing their jobs," Huckabee continued. "They want to know, what are we going to do to bring jobs to America, not what are we going to do to bring huge amounts of capital to a few, and a huge job loss to a whole of Americans."
Asked whether he thought the Iraq War would be sustainable in the current economic climate, Huckabee said engaging in Iraq is "expensive" but "freedom is expensive." He said the possibility of unfettered terrorist activity that would be able to "train at will, destroy Iraq internally, and create a complete upheaval in the Middle East is not a good option for us."
Huckabee said "letting the Middle East go up in flames" would furthermore would push up the price of oil." He extended his answer to the subject of making the U.S. energy independent within ten years.
"If we really want to see the Middle East changed, take away their capacity to fund terrorism. Take away the oil dollar. There's not enough money selling rugs and bagging sand for them to operate the terrorist cells that have come against us."