COLLEGE PARK, MD. -- Gov. Rick Perry. R-Texas, who has endorsed John McCain, called Mike Huckabee on Friday asking him to drop out of the race, according to a senior Huckabee campaign aide. Huckabee declined Perry's request.
Huckabee had asked for Perry's support earlier in the election cycle and Perry had said he would support Huckabee if he thought he could win but decided to support Rudy Giuliani instead. When Giuliani dropped out last month, Perry switched his allegiance to McCain.
Earlier today in Washington, D.C. after delivering a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Huckabee told reporters that staying in the race is good for the Republican Party.
"I'd like to think the Republican Party is mature enough, big enough, and smart enough that it actually knows competition brings excellence. And the lack of competiton brings mediocrity," Huckabee said.
"You know the old proverb is as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. The fact is no boxer is ever prepared to go into the ring if he's never sparred."
"If we're really serious about taking it all the way to November, we better have a candidate who's truly battle-tested. So this nonsense about how I should step aside and have a cakewalk all the way to the election, that's crazy. Unless they were all to step aside and let me have a cakewalk, then that would be a fine thing. But otherwise, I can see no value in that at all."
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