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June 14, 2007

Q&A with Mike Huckabee

The former Republican governor of Arkansas on trans fats, thongs, and presidential ambitions.


Photo Credit: Brian Ach/Wire Image

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Q: You're from Hope, AR. What is it about that town?
Arkansas is a state where politics is retail. You have to go out, meet the voters, and "ask for the business." You can't just hide in a television studio and make commercials. It's also a place where people have grown up with poverty. It gives you perspective, and the kind of grit necessary not to be overwhelmed by a challenge.

Q: Besides a hometown, anything else you and Bill Clinton have in common?
Neither of us grew up children of privilege, and we've never forgotten where we came from. I have more in common with the people working in the kitchen than the ones at the head table. Regardless of Bill Clinton's politics or personal life, he grew up in obscurity and was elected to the presidency -- twice. Don't take that away from him, because then you take it away from every other kid in America sitting out there in a school bus with a big dream.

Q: Sounds like you're a fan.
I'm sure there are people who wish I'd never say anything kind about Clinton, but I'm not going to be characterized by anger and bitterness. That's what's wrong with politics today.

Q: You've written a book about weight. How much did you lose?
[I lost] 110 pounds. It isn't rocket science. Diets fail because you lose weight and then it's, "Oh, thank goodness this is over." I did every diet: Atkins. Cabbage-soup diet. Dean Ornish. But I couldn't live the rest of my life like a rabbit.

Q: Do you still go to Sonic drive-in?
My wife likes it. I have a few guidelines: If it comes through a car window, it's not food. And if it wasn't a food a hundred years ago, it's not a food now.

Q: It's hard to live Twinkie-free. I was raised on them.
If consumers make better choices, the marketplace will change. Frito-Lay was the first big food manufacturer to go completely trans fat-free. No more partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. It's a great preservative -- now crackers have a longer shelf life than we do.

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