ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Mike Huckabee tonight stands by a 1992 survey he filled out in which he said AIDS patients should be quarantined.
"The one thing I feel like is important to note is that you stick by what you said," said Huckabee. "I'm not going to go around changing my opinion on everything."
At a press conference this evening, Huckabee said that there were "a lot of questions" about AIDS at the time.
Contesting those who say it was "common knowledge" in 1992 that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact, Huckabee said the nation was in "real panic" after the case of a patient contracted the disease from a dentist.
"If I were making those same comments today, I might make them a little differently," he said. "But obviously I have to stand by what I said...medical protocol typically says that if you have a disease for which there is no cure and you are uncertain about the transmission of it, the first thing you do is quarantine or isolate the carriers."
A reporter raised the subject of a widely released Surgeon General pamphlet in 1988 that stated AIDS could not be transmitted like a cold or flu, Huckabee insisted there was "still a great deal of uncertainty" and that "we know more now than in 1992"
Huckabee said there are "obvious changes" in our understanding of the transmission of AIDS when asked if he still saw homosexuality as a public health risk.
He stood by his belief that homosexuality is "sinful," but qualified it and said "doesn't mean that person is a horrible person" and people "have a right to live any way they want to."
Huckabee also remained consistent about funding for AIDS, pointing out that the question asked about giving additional funding, not if he opposed funding. He said there were a number of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer's that "affect a lot of American families" for which research would be disadvantaged if AIDS were singled out.
He said he supports additional funding for AIDS, pointing out that in Arkansas, he had a record of using the governor's emergency fund for that purpose.
"It's flattering that people now are digging back everything I ever wrote and ever said and there must be something about my campaign that's catching on," Huckabee said.