ATLANTA (AP) — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is opening his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. A look at where he stands on some issues:
Huckabee plays to the most conservative part of the Republican Party with his emphasis on border security. "A country that does not have secure borders is really not a country anymore," he says, adding that the nation must "stem the tide of the people who are rushing over because they've heard there's a bowl of food just across the border." Yet he argues for a path to citizenship for the children of people whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally and defends an Arkansas policy that grants those children in-state college tuition. He says children shouldn't be punished because their parents broke the law.
Huckabee calls President Barack Obama a feckless commander in chief and world leader. Like many Christian conservatives, Huckabee prioritizes the U.S. relationship with Israel, viewed by many evangelicals as God's chosen people. Huckabee says Iran is a threat to Israel and cannot be trusted in nuclear negotiations. He accuses the Obama administration of "abdicating to the ayatollah's interests," rather than simply tightening existing sanctions. He would not rule out sending ground troops against Islamic State militants but says any such action should be part of an international coalition anchored by Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others in the region.
BUDGETS AND ENTITLEMENTS
Huckabee calls for a national consumption tax to replace existing personal income taxes and payroll taxes. He argues that would stimulate enough economic growth to right the nation's balance sheet and shore up Social Security and Medicare. He endorses individual investment accounts as an option in lieu of Social Security. Even as he criticizes federal spending levels, Huckabee has advocated new spending on infrastructure as a way to stimulate growth.
Huckabee already was out of the Arkansas governor's office when the National Governors Association introduced the education guidelines that have become a political flashpoint. As late as 2013, Huckabee defended Common Core, urging state leaders to "rebrand it, refocus it" because of the criticism that the guidelines amount to government overreach. Now, though, he says Common Core has "morphed into a Frankenstandard that nobody, including me, can support."
An ordained Baptist minister, Huckabee is an outspoken opponent of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. He advocates a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion. He opposes same-sex marriage law, speaking out in recent months in favor of "religious liberty" laws proposed in Indiana and Arkansas. Huckabee chastised the "militant gay community" for its assertions that the laws could allow private businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians by denying them service.
He mocked Obama for using the State of the Union address to highlight the threats posed by a changing climate. "A beheading is a far greater threat to an American than a sunburn," Huckabee said. Based on such comments, Huckabee is unlikely to back carbon emissions regulations aimed at reducing the greenhouse gases that contribute to rising global temperatures and sea levels.
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