Huckabee Defends His Foreign Policy Experience

From CBS News' Joy Lin:

GREER, S.C. -- "If a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to hear it, does that mean that it didn't make a sound?" Mike Huckabee responded when a reporter noted that a state newspaper had endorsed John McCain, calling Huckabee's foreign policy experience unsettling.

"The fact that they are not aware of, maybe, the experience that I do have traveling to 41 countries, visiting with several prime ministers, having many trade missions and dealing with policy they may not be aware of, it doesn't mean it did not happen, it may just mean they may not be aware of it," Huckabee continued.

"I also would remind people that what you would look for in a president is judgement. You look for the capacity to make decisions, and if you've been a governor, you've had more experience in actually making decisions and doing that across the broader battlefield than simply in the legislative body. Being able to pick an issue or two, focus on it, specialize in it, but maybe never have had the experience of looking at all of those issues and how they integrate together. In the executive branch, you don't have the luxury of isolating issues, you have to integrate those issues and how they all function together."

Asked how he planned to use positive campaigning to differentiate himself from John McCain, who is vying with him for first place in South Carolina polls, Huckabee said people would look at the "consistency of the executive experience" he's had, his immigration plan, and his veterans' "bill of rights."

"We have an opportunity to represent a new generation of leaders in this country. It has nothing to do with saying anything negative about Sen. McCain. I think we both bring our own qualifications to the table, we're going to have something we're going to be similar in, many things we will be different in."

When he was asked about Fred Thompson's comment on CNN this morning where he called Huckabee's critiques of his opponents personal shots, Huckabee said, "Well it seems like it is perfectly okay for he or others to fire away these lengthy salvos at me, but when I respond, its a personal attack."

"You know, if you're going to play big league ball, you know, you have to stand at the plate as well as throw a few. That's the way it works. If you can't handle that, you probably shouldn't be running for something as serious as president."

Huckabee repeated today that the campaign "really want(s) to win" in South Carolina, although the goal was "continuing to be a top contender" as the field "shifts from a crowded one to a less crowded one."

He made the comments at a press conference before heading to Michigan to campaign there before Tuesday's primary.