PERRY -- Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reminded an audience Saturday that he won the GOP primary in Georgia seven years ago.
He ultimately lost the nomination to John McCain, who lost to President Barack Obama in the general election.
“If the rest of the country had been as smart as Georgia ... we would not be in the mess we are in today,” Huckabee said.
He was speaking to about 300 people at the annual Republican fish fry for the 8th Congressional District, held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. He was the only presidential candidate to speak, although organizers said all of them were invited.
He touched on issues that ranged from his opposition to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran to Huckabee’s support of a national consumption tax to replace the income tax. It’s commonly called the “fair tax” and Huckabee said it would eliminate the IRS.
He said the economy is struggling and his plan would fix it.
“We have punished people for working and rewarded people for irresponsible behavior,” he said.
The audience included several people holding “fair tax” signs.
“I want to be the president who signs the death warrant to the Internal Revenue Service once and for all,” he said.
In a brief news conference following his speech, Huckabee was introduced by a local friend, Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor and resident of Bonaire. Perdue also introduced Huckabee to the audience at the fish fry, and announced his support for Huckabee in the race for the GOP nomination.
“It’s clear to me that Mike Huckabee is far and above any of the others,” Perdue said at the news conference.
Huckabee was asked, if he wins the nomination, whether Perdue would be at the top of his list of vice presidential candidates.
“He may very well be,” Huckabee said. “I think he’s having too much fun to think about it, but let me tell you, America would be well served to have somebody with his integrity, competence and leadership skills.”
The event included numerous GOP speakers, including U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and 8th District Rep. Austin Scott. Both alluded to the division in the GOP in the last two presidential elections, and urged voters to get behind whomever wins the nomination.
Scott said he is concerned with the infighting going on within the Republican Party today.
“The end result of that is that people like Barack Obama end up as president of the United States, because we are arguing among ourselves,” Scott said.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.