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Huckabee Praises Obama’s Climb But Pans His Plans

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike  Huckabee (R) opened his remarks to GOP convention delegates this evening with a quip conceding that he would have rather had the speaking slot reserved for the presidential nomination acceptance speech that will feature Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Much as surrogates for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) have praised McCain’s military service while making the case against his positions on key issues, Huckabee appeared to offer sincere praise and admiration for Obama’s unprecedented political achievements while criticizing the direction he wants to take the country if he is elected president.

“I grew up at a time and in a place where the civil rights movement was fought. I witnessed firsthand the shameful evil of racism. I saw how ignorance and prejudice caused people to do the unthinkable to people of color not so many years ago,” Huckabee said. “So, I say with sincerity that I have great respect for Sen. Obama’s historic achievement to become his party’s nominee – not because of his color, but with indifference to it. Party or politics aside, we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country.”

But, he continued, “the presidency is not a symbolic job. And I don’t believe his preparation or his plans will lift America up.”

Huckabee, known in his unsuccessful race for president this year for his conservative positions on social issues, delivered an address that featured a number of standing ovations and was equal parts Republican red meat, criticism of the Democratic ticket and advocacy for McCain and his vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

“I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me,” Huckabee said.

He added that Palin “got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.”

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