Huckabee announces 2016 White House bid, with focus on economy and security

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Tuesday he is running for president, delivering an economy- and security-centered message that he hopes will appeal to everyday Americans and distinguish him from the already-crowded Republican field.

Huckabee, who is embarking on his second presidential run, made the announcement in his hometown of Hope, Ark. In a 30-minute speech that focused on his humble beginnings, Huckabee vowed to end “stagnant wages,” protect Medicare and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.

“Folks cannot seem to get ahead or even stay even,” he said.

Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, ran for president in 2008, winning eight states including the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses before running out of money and exiting the race.

“Folks, it’s a long way from a little brick rented house on Second Street in Hope, Arkansas, to the White House,” he said. “But here in this small town called Hope, I was raised to believe where a person started didn’t mean that is where he had to stop. I always believed that kid could go from hope to higher ground.”

The 59-year-old Huckabee has a strong following among the party’s evangelical Christian base but this time will face stiff competition for that vote from such primary candidates as Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas.

He frequently repeated the phrase, “Hope to higher ground,” which appears to be a slogan of sorts for his 2016 campaign.

He also took a swipe at President Obama for declining to recognize the Islamic State group as radical Islamic terrorists and vowed to stop them.

“I wonder if he can watch a Western from the ’50s and be able to figure out who the good guy and the bad guys really are,” Huckabee said. “As president, I promise you, we will no longer try to contain Jihadism. We will conquer it.”

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