Pressed on his low poll numbers, Mike Huckabee on Wednesday attributed the lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy to the "weird and strange election" in which voters are punishing candidates with political experience.
Asked by Steve Malzberg why he has been relegated to the undercard debates, the former Arkansas governor, striking an almost defeatist tone, said, "this is a weird and strange election in which people almost are punishing folks for being qualified. It's like they say if you've ever been in politics then we don't trust you and we don't want you."
Earlier in the interview, Huckabee was asked if he was ready for the field to narrow down so voters could coalesce around fewer candidates, to which he responded "absolutely not."
"Voters haven't even gone to cast one single vote," Huckabee said. "And when people say that, then I would ask them 'okay well which four?' Do you want the four that have the least experience, the least preparation to be president. Is that what you're gonna do, based on some opinion polls that don't mean diddly squat when it really comes to how people are gonna actually vote."
"Because, if that's what we were gonna base it on, we would have the least experienced people that would end up being who to choose from," he continued.
Huckabee said the candidates in the so-called undercard debate had much more experience than those in the primetime debate. The former Arkansas governor cited the strong and extensive records of those in the debate such as former New York Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Lindsey Graham, himself, and former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Huckabee, who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2008 is currently polling between 1% and 2% in most polling averages. Just this week, his campaign's communications director departed under unclear circumstances.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.