Huckabee works to fire up GOP faithful at Manchester event
MANCHESTER — The 2012 election is about the country's future, not about dwelling on the past, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told a gathering of about 750 New Hampshire Republicans Wednesday night.
Huckabee, a candidate in the 2008 Presidential election, was a critic of former Massachussetts governor and current Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said the Republican Party — himself included — must unite to back Romney against Democratic President Barack Obama.
';People have asked me if any of (the 2008 Republican primary) lingered over and would make it difficult to support Mitt Romney,'; he said. ';This isn't about some petty past moments between me and Mitt Romney. Let me unequivocally state that I will do everything I can humanly do to make Mitt Romney our President.';
The Annual Victory Dinner in the Armory Room of the Radisson Hotel, which cost $100 per person to attend or $250 for access to a VIP session with Huckabee, served as likely the year's largest fundraiser for the New Hampshire GOP, said Tory Mazzola, executive director.
';It's not only a boost financially, but it's about rallying behind (Romney),'; Mazzola said. He did not have figures available for how much the NHGOP hoped to raise.
The event also included a small protest outside the Radisson Hotel, where about 25 people demonstrated against state gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne, primarily because of his stated support for proposed right-to-work legislation, which seeks to prevent compulsory union membership or dues paying at a workplace.
';I'm out here to protect my personal welfare,'; said Mike King of Manchester, who said he is a union iron worker. ';(Lamontagne) wants to create a right-to-work state, which would diminish workers' rights. These are rights that people before me fought hard to get and my generation is fighting hard to keep.';
';Right-to-work would, over time, lower wages for all employees, not just union employees,'; said Deb Howes, who said she is a teacher at Amherst Street school in Nashua. ';How are we going to support an economy when no one has any money to spend?';
During a short press conference before his speech, Huckabee said he gives no credence to so-called birther theories, which subscribe to an idea that Obama is not a natural-born citizen.
';I have no doubt he was born in Hawaii and is an American citizen,'; Huckabee said. ';I'm not as concerned about where he came from. I am more concerned about where he is taking the country and its future.';
He said he hasn't been asked or approached about the vice presidential nomination. He said he would ';love'; it if Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were selected.
';I think he has some skills and abilities,'; Huckabee said of Rubio.
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte has also been identified by Romney as a potential nominee.
';The vice presidency is the job nobody wants and nobody ever turns down,'; he said.