JOHNSTON — Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee took some target practice at an indoor shooting range Tuesday before firing political shots at Democrat rival Hillary Clinton, who also was hunting for Iowa supporters in the run up to the caucuses next February.
Huckabee tested several firearms at Crossroads Shooting Sports’ indoor range before speaking forcefully for preserving American liberty and upgrading the nation’s fighting forces in an increasingly threatening world — and answering questions from the media to contrast him with Clinton.
If he could question Clinton, Huckabee told the campaign gathering, “I would ask her why didn’t she answer the call of (Ambassador) Chris Stevens four times when he was begging for help in Benghazi?
“When an American is laying on the ground and in danger and Americans are being shot at and being threatened with death, it is the absolute duty of America to come to their aid,” said the former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister. “We don’t leave people on the battlefield and we left four Americans for dead that night. God help us for that.”
During a 20-minute question-and-answer session, Huckabee, 59, lamented what he described as the declining stature of America on the world stage and no longer the “reliable ally” for other nations.
He said his strategy would be “arm the people who are our friends, disarm the people who are our enemies, make friends with those who have a common enemy, and be true and loyal to our allies.”
Huckabee said U.S. military readiness is at its lowest point since before World War II.
“I’m not a war monger,” the 2016 announced GOP presidential candidate said. “I think the best way to avoid war is to have the most robust military in the history of mankind and the kind of military that nobody ever wants to wake up and find on the other end of the fight.”
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Huckabee staunchly defended Second Amendment rights, saying an American’s ability to protect and defend oneself and family is the last line of liberty against tyranny.
“I want to make it very clear, when people sometimes say are you a gun nut? I say, no, I’m not a gun nut, but I am a liberty nut,” he said. “I believe in freedom and I believe that I have the fundamental, constitutional right to be able to own and, if necessary, to use firearms.”
Tom Hudson, general manager of the Johnston business, held up the target Huckabee had been firing at to reveal some well-placed shots.
“If you want somebody that you think might be on target, no pun intended here, with where we want to go with this country,” Hudson said.
Huckabee told reporters he has not decided whether he’ll participate in the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in Boone on Aug. 8.
“Every campaign will have to determine how important it is to that campaign’s strategy,” said Huckabee, who finished second in the straw poll en route to a victory in the 2008 caucuses. “We’ll certainly determine whether it’s the best use of resources, but that’s the big question.”