Mike Huckabee meets with supporters in Ames

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, greet supporters at Oakwood Road Church in Ames on Jan. 4.

Alex Hanson

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose campaign capitalized on retail politics and won the Iowa Caucus in 2008, said Monday in Ames he plans the same style less than one month out from the first votes being cast in 2016.

Speaking at Oakwood Road Church Monday morning, Huckabee met with supporters, shook every hand in the room, took pictures and answered questions after talking briefly about what to expect in the coming weeks.

Huckabee said his campaign will hit its goal of visiting all 99 counties in Iowa, the “Full Grassley,” named after longtime Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, after he wraps up his latest tour of the state this week with 25 stops over the next six days.

He also announced a month-long final push of campaigning in Iowa, saying he will hold 150 different events around the state before the Feb. 1 caucus.

Huckabee joked, telling the audience they should only turn out to caucus on Feb. 1 if they plan on voting for Huckabee, because the weather will not be pleasant and it will be cold.

“Folks, we need someone who knows how to actually govern,” Huckabee told supporters before taking questions. “I can make a speech, but we need someone who can actually lead.”

He also went after what he calls “filthy” corruption in Washington, saying the government should enact term limits and ban members of Congress from becoming lobbyists after leaving office.

Without mentioning any specific names, Huckabee said anyone running for president should resign any current office they hold. The comment comes after criticism of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has missed numerous votes in the U.S. Senate to campaign for president. Along with Rubio, Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich and Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, are also running for president while in office.

After a quick speech, Huckabee took questions and was asked about his plan to enact the “fair tax,” which would repeal taxes on income and replace it with a national consumption tax, similar to state sales taxes. He said it makes more sense to tax consumption rather than productivity.

When asked about Social Security, Huckabee said he stands out from other Republican candidates for president because he is the only candidate who will not cut back on benefits, adding Americans have paid into Social Security and they deserve the money they paid into the program.

Another attendee asked about President Obama’s plan to enact tougher gun restrictions by executive action, which the White House announced Obama would discuss with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday. 

Obama is expected to lay out new action on guns during his State of the Union address next Tuesday.

“I would repeal every single one of them,” Huckabee said, going after not just the new proposal on guns, but all executive actions Obama has signed while in office.

Speaking to reporters after the event, Huckabee said the tougher restrictions would not help with gun violence and said the administration should be focused on enforcing current laws.

He also told reporters that young people, a big chunk of the voting block in Story County, is disillusioned with politics, which is why many do not turn out to events and to vote, but stressed that his campaign reaches out to younger voters.

Brett Barker, chairman of the Story County Republican Party, introduced Huckabee at the event, and added that he caucused for him in 2008 because he respected the fact that Huckabee was principled and had governing experience in Arkansas.

Huckabee’s stop in Ames was just his first on Monday morning, along with events throughout the week, he will speak in Ogden, Webster City, Clarion and Iowa Falls on Monday.