(By Shmuel Hakoton) Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican presidential contender, gave a stump speech and answered questions today at the home of New Hampshire State Representative Jason Bedrick, the first Orthodox Jew elected to the NH House of Representatives.
“People often tell me that they agree with what Huckabee has to say, but don’t think he can win,” said Bedrick, “Not only can he win, he must win if we’re going to put this country back on track.”
Bedrick also noted that though Huckabee isn’t a household name yet, he believes that he will be. “No one had ever heard of the last governor from Hope, Arkansas, Bill Clinton, the summer before he was elected. Huckabee is polling well in all the early states; he’s a long shot but he’s the best shot we’ve got.”
New Hampshire is the home of the first primary in the nation and it has a history of picking lesser-known candidates who go on to become President.
In response to a question about the Middle East from Rabbi Moshe Bleich of the Wellesley-Weston Chabad Center, Gov. Huckabee expressed frustration with Israeli politicians who wanted to give away the Golan Heights and firmly opposed dividing Jerusalem.
When asked about a Palestinian state, Gov. Huckabee stated that he supports creating a Palestinian state, but believes that it should be formed outside of Israel. He named Egypt and Saudi Arabia as possible alternatives, noting that the Arabs have far more land than the Israelis and that it would only be fair for other Arab nations to give the Palestinians land for a state, rather than carving it out of the tiny Israeli state.
Gov. Huckabee, who has visited Israel nine times, also expressed support for moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and stressed the importance of making America energy independent in ten years for both environmental and national security reasons. “We just can’t continue to be dependent on Saudi oil,” explained Huckabee, “I want to be able to tell the Saudis that we need their oil about as much as we need their sand.”
A crowd of over seventy people came to meet Gov. Huckabee and listen to him answer questions while they enjoyed kosher pastries and coffee. Gov. Huckabee also spoke of the need to overhaul the tax code, eliminating the IRS and replacing all taxes on income and production with a consumption tax.
Gov. Mike Huckabee served as governor of Arkansas for ten years and he is a past chairman of the National Governors’ Association. Rep. Jason Bedrick is a first-term state representative serving the towns of Windham and Salem, NH. He is also the gabbai of the Wellesley-Weston Chabad synagogue in Wellesley, MA.