Mike Huckabee gave Whispers a behind-the-scenes look at what candidates can expect in the Republican presidential candidate forum on Fox News' Huckabee Saturday in New York.
"It's unique in that the questions are posed by elected GOP attorneys general who come from the field of play and not the press box, and the questions will focus on the very unique and substantive issues that involve federal/state relations in Obamacare, immigration, education, et cetera," Huckabee says.
Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are expected. [See photos of Michele Bachmann.]
Huckabee says that the candidates will get equal time to answer questions, a key issue for the former presidential candidate. "Some candidates won't get cheated from opportunity to respond while the moderator and producers arbitrarily decide who the 'front-runners' are supposed to be and make a two-man show out of it."
Another difference from previous debates and forums? Candidates won't be allowed to attack each other. Huckabee says they will have to stay focused on the answers. [Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]
"Even the order in which they appear and respond is determined by a drawing—not by the moderator or the AG's," he says.
Huckabee thinks his debate should be a model for other candidate forums. "First, each candidate will be treated with respect by being given equal time to others," he says. "Order in which they appear is not determined by media manipulation, but random drawing; the panel asking questions has actually had to face an election and aren't playing 'gotcha' with obscure stuff from years ago."