In this Fox News Sunday Show With Chris Wallace: Mike Huckabee talks ObamaCare, ‘Duck Dynasty’ controversy, 2016; Joel Osteen’s Christmas message
WALLACE: Mike Huckabee is fond of saying he is a conservative, he’s just not angry about it. His folksy brand of politics made him a surprisingly strong candidate for president in 2008 and a surprise drop out last time.
Well, now, he is surprising people again, talking about running for president in 2016.
And joining us again is the former Arkansas governor and host of “Huckabee” on Fox News Channel, Mike Huckabee.
Governor, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.
MIKE HUCKABEE, HOST, “HUCKABEE”: Thank you very much, Chris. Great to be with you and merry Christmas to you.
WALLACE: Thank you. Merry Christmas to you and to your family.
This week, the president made still another change to ObamaCare partly suspending the individual mandate for people whose policies that have been canceled. How do you see all of this working after the first of the year when people actually start going to their doctors under this new system.
HUCKABEE: Well, it’s not working very well, especially for the people who had insurance and who like what they had. They were promised they could keep it. We know now that was not true. And that’s why President Obama was named — the holder of the lie of the year from “PolitiFact.”
I guess the buzz word that the Democrats keep using is that we can’t make these changes because it’s the law of the land, and, yet, we continually see the president making all kinds of arbitrary changes to ObamaCare because this law of the land is beating people up and taking from people, the insurance they had and they like, taking from them the doctors they had and they liked, and it was supposed to be $2,500 per family less expensive. It turns out it’s thousands of dollars more expensive for most families. It’s anything about the Affordable Care Act.
WALLACE: But estimates are, Governor, that for its problems, that in the end, ObamaCare will extend coverage to 30 million people who are now uninsured. The latest estimate of Republican plan is that it would only cover 3 million of those uninsured.
Do Republicans — does the GOP need to have an answer, an alternative, that will reach those 30 million people or is that just not a priority?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think it ought to be a priority. But the priority should have been to deal with the 15 percent of people who didn’t have insurance rather than disrupt the system for the 85 percent who did and who were largely satisfied with insurance, as much as anybody will ever be satisfied with insurance.
But what we should have done was to recognize that of those 15 percent, about half of them were insurable, they just didn’t want insurance. They’d rather spend their money on buying a new truck, or maybe investing in an added room on the house. But there are people who are uninsurable. And for those people there should be a safety net.
But the problem is, with ObamaCare, you’re putting them into the main marketplace, which skews the cost for the rest of the market. What we should have done is something that was comparable to what was done back 1982, Ronald Reagan signed a bill that was called TEFRA, the Tax Equity Family Relief Act. TEFRA operates in about 19 states. Arkansas was one of them.
What we did in our TEFRA program was take people who had severe developmental disabilities, for example, and those medical expenses can be hundreds and thousands of dollars per year. Well, there’s no way a family can afford that. But the only way for them to qualify for Medicaid would be to impoverish the family. Well, that doesn’t make sense.
So, what we should do is to say there’s three things that are still be comparable, a premium, a deductible, and a co-pay. But it’s going to be reasonable premium, a reasonable deductible, and a reasonable co-pay.
And then the government would, in fact, subsidize those people whose medical expenses are extraordinary. I don’t think most Republicans, most conservatives, would, or should have a problem with that, and if they do, they need to get over it, because it could be them. And I think what we need to do is approach the problem of the insurable.
Then you have a more reasonable and responsible marketplace for people to buy insurance, but buy what they wanted, and what they needed. Frankly, Chris, I don’t need maternity coverage. I don’t need drug and alcohol counseling. But I’m going to have to pay for it under ObamaCare.
WALLACE: Let me switch subjects on you. Dramatically, the “Duck Dynasty” controversy, when that broke, you announced that you were setting up your own Facebook page, we have it on the screen. “I Stand with Phil”, with a goal of getting 1 million people to signup.
Briefly, why is this such a big deal for you?
HUCKABEE: Well, I think it has come to a point in our culture where political correctness has made it so that if you want to take a point of view that is traditional, that holds to steadfast, old fashioned biblical Christian values, which are also, by the way, values of traditional Judaism, and even Islam, that somehow you’re supposed to just shut up and keep that to yourself. But if you want to advocate for same sex marriage, we’re supposed to be very tolerant.
I’m tolerant of people who have a position on that issue that is contrary to mine. But I’m not tolerant of the intolerance.
And so, what we’ve seen is that there is a new level of bullying of the part of these militant activist groups who if anyone says something that holds to the same position that Barack Obama held in 2008 when he at the Saddleback Church with John McCain, made it very clear that he opposed same sex marriage, and he said he did so he was a Christian and because of his biblical views.
Well, if that position was OK in 2008, how it isn’t OK in 2013 or 2014?
WALLACE: Governor, but I think the counter-argument would be — it isn’t just the fact that Phil Robertson said he disagreed with it or felt it was a sin, it’s how he said it. Let’s put some of that up on the screen.
Robertson in this article in “Esquire” magazine called homosexuality a sin. But then went on to say, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman, and that woman, and that woman, and those men.”
And paraphrasing Corinthians from the bible, he said, “They won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”
And when asked about blacks in Louisiana before the civil rights movement, he said, “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Are you not offended by any of that? Not the substance, but the way he expressed it and how he said it?
HUCKABEE: Well, he said it in a way that would be a little more probably appropriate for the duck woods than it would be for the pages of a major news magazine. By the way, I will say that I think I saw the world of the south a little differently than maybe he did, growing out in South Arkansas.
But that being said, this issue was never about those comments. This issue was specifically about GLAAD, and the Human Rights Campaign protesting to A&E over his comments regarding same sex relationships.
Now, let’s keep in mind, that for a Christian to talk about sin, homosexuality is no more sinful to a Christian than is pride, than is lust. So, a person who is totality heterosexuality lust in his hurt after a woman, that’s as much sin as any other sin. There’s no division about which sin is the most important, they’re all out of the glory, out of the perfect will and mind of a holy God.
So, that’s the whole point of being a Christian. We’re all sinners. None of us are perfect, none of us have measured up.
WALLACE: The reason that we originally invited you on before all this news broke is because you gave several interviews this week in which you left the door — and you know what you’re doing — left the door wide open to possibly running for president in 2016.
Now as we said, back in 2011, when a lot of people thought you were going to run, you didn’t, and here is what you said then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: All of the factors say go, but my heart says no. That’s the decision that I made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, what’s changed?
HUCKABEE: Well, I don’t know that anything has changed so dramatically in the circumstances, because I would never make this decision just based on circumstances. It would be a decision of the heart. I try to be honest in all of my evaluations, not only back in 2011, but even now.
So, when people ask me, are you open to the possibilities? The honest answer is yes. Does that mean I’m running? I don’t honestly know. I think there is a lot of time between and then, and, frankly, the Republicans have a strong stable of possible candidates. What I’m looking is to find out whether it’s the right thing for me to do, and I’m not ready to make that decision. But I just don’t want to tell people, oh, no, I wouldn’t open my mind to it because that would be, frankly, dishonest at this point.
WALLACE: But — I mean, forgive me. I think you’re being a little coy because you did an interview in The New York Times, you did an interview with the Washington Post. You’re putting it out there more than just saying, well, I’m not closing it off.
I understand that it’s 2013 and that’s an eternity in politics. Chances you’ll run, better or less than 50/50?
HUCKABEE: I would say maybe at this point, it is 50/50. But I don’t know. I don’t know that I would put a percentage on it.
And, by the way, the only reason I talked to those news entities is because they asked me. You know, I didn’t go and solicit them and say, hey, I’d love to have an interview with you and lets But as people approached me and they’ve asked me about it, I had friends who said let’s do a poll, let’s just see if you’re in the mix.
You know, those are things you at least listen to. And so, right now, I’ve got other things that I’ve got to focus on on a full-time basis, and I’ll just keep that option open and make a decision after the 2014 elections.
WALLACE: Part of your appeal, if you do run, is that you’re a populist who is concerned about reaching out to minorities, to working class folks who don’t typically or certainly in the last election, didn’t vote Republican. And you’re also, like the president, interested in income inequality.
I want to put up something that you said recently at an event. “We devalue people sometimes who are poor. We do not deem them worthy of the same level of treatment we give those who are connected to the real axis of evil in this country, the axis of power that exists between Washington and Wall Street.”
I must say I was struck by that. Axis of evil between Washington and Wall Street?
HUCKABEE: Well, there is such a collusion, Chris, between what happens in the financial world and what happens in the political world. One hand washes another and one feeds another.
And who takes it in the teeth? It’s most of the working class people of America. Big banks get bailed out. Big insurance companies get bailed out. Who bails them out? Washington bails them out.
Why? Because there are campaign contributions that come along with the bailout.
I hear politicians that will resent the fact that some single mom is getting some assistance to put food on the table for her three children, she is doing the best she can, busting her backside try to help them, and those same people that somehow resent that single mom are the one and saying, but it’s perfectly OK to bail out to the tune of billions big bangs who are run by Ivy League people who should have known better how to recklessly mismanaged.
Now, the point that I do make, and a lot of people misunderstand, I don’t want the government coming in and creating a situation where they determine what income equality looks like. I think the government can mess more up than they can ever fix. So, the last thing I want is more and bigger government getting involved.
But I want there to be a calling out and an attention given to the fact that a lot of the crisis in America is not a money crisis. It is the moral crisis of people who seem to have a complete disconnect with a lot of working class people.
The reason that’s important to me, Chris, I grew up a whole lot more in common with the people who are in the kitchen than the folks sitting at the head table. I had to learn how to sit at the head table. I didn’t have to learn how to connect to the people who are bringing the food out to that head table.
WALLACE: Governor, I’ve got to say, if you do run for president, I suspect you’ll be a very formidable candidate. We want to thank you so much for coming in today.
And as we say goodbye, you talk about things you’re going to be doing in the meantime. We want to note — you’re starting your own news Web site next year called, appropriately, “The Huckabee Post.” Good luck with that and merry Christmas to you, sir.
HUCKABEE: Thank you so much, Chris. Have a wonderful Christmas.
WALLACE: Same to you.
WALLACE: His positive message of hope and faith is watched by millions of people in this country and around the world. And his new book called “Break Out!” It became an instant bestseller. Earlier this week, we sat down once again with a pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Joel Osteen, and in case you wonder, it was before the controversy over “Duck Dynasty” broke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Pastor Joel, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
OSTEEN: It’s so great to be with you, Chris.
WALLACE: You have a new book called “Break Out.” Break out from what?
OSTEEN: That’s breaking out over rut — sometimes we can get stuck in life. Just thinking that, you know, of going as far as I can go and lot of times, even myself, I never dreamed I would be a minister. I used to tell my dad I can’t get up there and speak in front of people. So, I think we put limitations on our own selves. You know, I’m not that talented, don’t have the education, I’m going as far as I can. Think you have to take those limits of yourself. But first place you have to break in is in your mind. WALLACE: Yeah, I want to ask you about that. Because we talked about it last time. And I must say I’m guilty of it, I guess you made me realize that we all are. We have this negative dialogue going on inside our brain.
OSTEEN: Yeah, there is. A lot of people — you know, we’re talking to ourselves all the time. Some people don’t realize it. Even psychologists call it our internal dialogue. Some people say negative, and they grew up that way. It’s just you know, I’m not that smart. I’m just not going to be a good dad. It’s raining outside. You have to change that dialogue. I’ll tell people, don’t be against yourself. You’ve got enough people in life against you, don’t be against yourself. You know, we should be thinking — you know I’m talented, I’m smart, I’ve got what I need. I’m a person of destiny (ph). Just positive things.
WALLACE: So, what you are saying is, a lot of the limits that we face in our life are limits that we put on ourselves?
OSTEEN: I really believe that. And I say that from my own experience. I’m thinking, I’d never be (inaudible) like in front of people. I told my dad that for 17 years. When my dad died and I just took over the church, you know, just grown and here I am. So, I do think we put a lot of limits on ourselves.
WALLACE: And you say the answer is a concept that you call in your book further, faster. What does that mean?
OSTEEN: Well, I believe it’s about having faith in God, believing that you’re a person of destiny, that God can take you further faster. In other words, you know, one good break, or I call it one touch of God’s favor can put you 50 years down the road. We think I’m never going to get out at Dad, I’m never going to get well. You don’t see the medical report. On and on. But you know what — it just takes God just moving things in your direction that can put you where you never thought you could go.
WALLACE: Well, I mean you certainly would agree that just believing in yourself or just — that’s not going to necessarily feed the bulldog as the line goes.
OSTEEN: No, I think that’s the start, though. If you are negative and against yourself, and discourage. You don’t have any dreams, I think that’s, you know, that’s going to limit you. And you have to put faith behind your actions, you have to, you know, use what God has given you, take some steps of faith, develop your gifts and talents. Be disciplined, focus. There are other things too, but I think it does start where if you just say, you know what, this is it, you are not going to have to drive to move forward.
WALLACE: Let’s take on that look at where we are as we approach Christmas and the end of the year. When you survey the state of our spiritual union, what encourages you?
OSTEEN: Well, what encourages me, Chris, is that it seems like fate is at an all-time high in one sense. Meaning that, I never dreamed we would be having churches in a basketball arena, and, you know, being able to see, you know, faith where it is today. I don’t want another sense, you know. Part of the society seems like it’s going down. But I guess I’m an optimist. I probably live in, you know, in world. I see faith is at an all-time high.
WALLACE: And conversely, speak of realist, when you survey the state of our spiritual union what worries you?
OSTEEN: Well, I think sometimes it concerns me just, you know, where some of the society is going. Just, you know, I just think sometimes it’s not as honorable as it could be. So, some of that — some of that worries me. And a lot of — I don’t know if it worries me, what concerns me is the respect for mankind, you know, not being — it seems like there can be times, especially with the Internet and things there can be a lot of mean spirited stuff that comes out, and just things like that can be more prevalent today, because in the old days you know, you had to send a letter to be critical and stuff, and, you know, I don’t like that part of it.
WALLACE: I know that you don’t like to talk about politics particularly, but I’m going to talk about issues that have a political, but also a moral component. In 2014, this next year, the Supreme Court has agreed that it’s just going to hear a case involving the birth control mandate in ObamaCare. The idea of whether or not the government can say to a for-profit company, you have to provide the option for birth control and health insurance even if that violates the owner of that company’s religious, spiritual beliefs. Where do you come down on that?
OSTEEN: Well, I would come down on the fact that I don’t like to see that happen. I believe that, you know, just from overall perspective that that Constitution protects us to practice our faith, and I would just hope — I hope that wouldn’t happen.
WALLACE: What the president and the administration would say is hey, look, if I’m an employee in a company, it’s not — it is not the owner, I’m deciding whether or not I want to use birth control.
OSTEEN: Yeah, you know, I think it’s a fine line. I don’t know where it all fall out. I’ve just — maybe on a broader term, and just, you know, as a minister, as a pastor, having thought of it as a company’s term, but, you know, I just wouldn’t let people — the government being able to tell me, maybe, I couldn’t practice the faith in the way I would like to.
WALLACE: Time magazine just named Pope Francis “The Person of the Year.” What do you think of this new pope?
OSTEEN: Well, I like the new pope. I like, you know, I’m sure there are certain things that, you know, people may not agree with, but I like the fact that he’s made the church more inclusive. I do think, for a while, even, you know, American churches, it seems like we try to narrow it down, telling who can’t come to my church. I would rather throw a wide, wide net. Listen, the church is not a place for perfect people, it’s for all of us to come and find, you know, health and guidance, and restoration. WALLACE: Billy Graham is perhaps this nation’s greatest evangelist ever. He is now 95 and by all accounts in declining health, what do you think Billy Graham’s legacy will be?
OSTEEN: Well, I think his legacy, at least to me, will be a man of faithfulness, of integrity. Somebody that stayed the course. And I think about 50-60 years ago, when Billy Graham was starting, he had a lot of critics. He had a lot of people trying to, you know, tell him, you know, he could not fulfill his calling, but he just stayed with it. And really, he inspires younger ministers like me to just — you know, stay focused on the main thing God’s called you to do. And do not let people talk you out of it and to stay — live a life of integrity. I love the fact that he is finishing strong.
WALLACE: As we get together once again on the holiday season, and I must tell you I consider it a privilege when I get to sit down with you, I want to ask you about a controversy involving this holiday. What do you think? Is there a war on Christmas?
OSTEEN: Well, you know, for one sense I see what people are saying. Again, Chris, I’m an optimist. I think there is always things coming against faith, and I don’t think that’s going to stop people of faith. I do think the society is changing. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. So, in one sense maybe there is, but those kind of things it doesn’t stop my faith, it doesn’t discourage me. Even the Scripture says it’s going to get darker in the world, but it’s going to get (inaudible), you know, for the church or for believers. So, it’s just another way to let our life shine brightly.
WALLACE: Do you think that there is a conscious effort to try to take the religious meaning out of this holiday?
OSTEEN: Well, I think there are certain groups that would like to. I mean I’ve seen the billboards in New York in different places. I think there are certain groups that would like to. But, you know, there’s still millions and millions of people of faith, and if they, you know, took it out in their minds, or, you know, through the media, something else is not going to change the faith in our hearts. So, you know, I’m probably not as concerned about it as some others.
WALLACE: When people say “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas,” do you view that as just people — religious political correctness going overboard?
OSTEEN: I think a little of both. It doesn’t bother me, though. I just — again, I try not to let surface type things like that bother me. I know it’s about Jesus and his birth, and also, I’m not offended by that. I think too, I realized traveling a lot, not everybody believes like me. They are not all — we’re not all Christians in this nation. Even some Christians believe differently, but I’m open to respect everyone, and it’s not going to offend me if when I pray in Jesus’ name, and somebody doesn’t. That doesn’t offend me.
WALLACE: And what about — this is certainly not a new development, but it just seems to keep getting worse, all the commercialism of Christmas. What do you make when it seems as if this holiday is all about presents and parties? And not about the birth of Jesus?
OSTEEN: You know, it is, I could not agree with you more, it gets so hectic and so commercialized. I don’t know that we are going to change it, I think we have to come back and say, OK, I am going to remind my family what this season is about. I think, two, you know, not getting so caught up in having the perfect gift. To me, Christmas, is the birth of Christ, number one, but it’s all about making memories. It’s not necessarily did I get the exact right gift, is did I spend time? Did I make memories with my family? Did we laugh, did we love, have time to love and respect each other? I think sometimes we get so caught up and stressed over the holiday meal that we don’t take time to say, hey, let’s just enjoy each other’s person. We may not have another Christmas together. I hope we all do, but that’s the way we have to look at it. Each day is a gift from God.
WALLACE: Well, I can’t think of a better and more appropriate Christmas message to all of our viewers. Pastor Joel, always good to have you. And if I may, to you and all of the Osteens, merry Christmas.
OSTEEN: Thank you. Same to you and your viewers. God bless.
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