Four years ago during the 2008 Republican presidential primary, former governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee were strong rivals – some may even use the term “bitter.” But in a Saturday appearance on Huckabee’s Fox News program, the two sat down for a candid discussion on abortion and healthcare, with Romney calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In 2008, Huckabee, who is the former governor of Arkansas and an ordained Baptist minister, was considered the campaign's standard-bearer on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Now that he is settled into his new role as a talk show host on Fox News, GOP candidates seeking the support of evangelical voters on pro-family issues are eager to espouse their conservative credentials on his show, and hopefully win his public support.
In Saturday’s appearance, Romney said he would appoint conservative Supreme Court justices. And he defended his Massachusetts healthcare plan, saying he would have backed an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution to prevent the state from subsidizing abortion.
Romney has taken criticism over his healthcare plan while governor of Massachusetts, especially from his Republican opponents.
“Our plan in Massachusetts was about caring for the 8 percent of our population that didn’t have insurance. For 92 percent of the people in my state nothing changed,” responded Romney. “The president’s plan is taking over healthcare for 100 percent of people. It’s changing healthcare in this country for everyone. The bill works pretty well, but not perfectly. If I were governor it would work better.”
Asked if religious voters could trust him to be a “pro-life” president, Romney was quick to confirm his new stance on the issue.
“I’d make sure the progress that’s been made to provide for life and to protect human life would not be progressed that is reversed,” Romney said in response to the question.
Romney also said that the United State Supreme Court should reverse Roe v. Wade and sent it back to the states to decide whether or not they want to legalize abortion.
The former Massachusetts governor seemingly set out to convince social conservatives he was not going to repeat the mistakes made in the previous campaign.
“Our bill had no mention whatsoever of abortion,” Romney continued in his attempt to explain his healthcare plan did not fund abortions. He told Huckabee the courts mandated that low-income women were allowed to get an abortion.
“This was something which existed even before our bill was passed,” added Romney.
Huckabee has said he is not going to endorse anyone for the foreseeable future, however, his daughter Sarah worked in Iowa for former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s failed bid. Pawlenty endorsed Romney after exiting the race and has said he is not interested in a vice presidential spot if Romney were to secure the nomination.
Huckabee wrapped up the show joking about his past run-ins with Romney, saying that Saturday’s show proved the two former rivals could be “civil.”