Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made a stop Sunday at Oklahoma Christian University where he criticized President Barack Obama’s economic and health-care policies claiming they were leading the country in the wrong direction.

Huckabee, who is the host of “Huckabee” on the Fox News Channel, and is heard three times daily across the nation on the “Huckabee Report” on the ABC Radio Network was in Oklahoma to talk with high school students from across the nation and the world who are debating Social Security and Medicare reform at a leadership and debate camp Sunday through Friday on the Oklahoma Christian campus.

Forty-seven students from 28 states and the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Rwanda will spend time with retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, learn from renowned leaders and then debate Social Security and Medicare reform in a team format. The student group includes Austin Sell and Sean Wood, both from Edmond North High School.

Huckabee said in an interview prior to his speech that Obama and Congress failed the nation by passing an economic stimulus package.

“Hopefully the president was telling the truth when he said he has now given up on a second stimulus package,” Huckabee said. “The first one was an unmitigated disaster. Having a second one would be like drinking arsenic and making you sick and then deciding that if you take a second hit (of arsenic) it will make you feel better.”

Huckabee added the stimulus package was more pork-barrel than economics.

“The stimulus package wasn’t an economic plan, it was a pork-barrel plan put together to throw at their (Congressional) districts,” Huckabee said. “The taxpayers are now on the hook for trillions of dollars in debt. It’s just wrong.”

Huckabee who is the author of six books including “Do The Right Thing,” which spent its first seven weeks of release in the top 10 of the New York Times Best Sellers List, said Vice President Joe Biden called it right recently when he said the Obama administration misread how bad the economy is.

“Joe sometimes just blurts out the truth even when it just bothers everyone he works for,” Huckabee said. “That was just one of those moments when Biden opened his mouth and inserts both feet and the president has to come behind and sweep up. You can just hear the audible gasps going on at the White House after Joe’s speech.”

Huckabee also was critical of Obama’s health-care plan, which calls for a government-backed public health-care program.

“I think we are focusing on the wrong aspect of it,” Huckabee said. “The emphasis is currently on health care. The real focus needs to be on health. The real challenge in America is that about 80 percent of our total costs are going toward chronic disease.

“All the discussion in Washington is giving people access to the system. That’s not what fundamentally the problem is. We need a system based on prevention instead of intervention.”

Huckabee also touched on the resignation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is stepping down at the end of this month.

Huckabee called Palin’s resignation an “unusual step” to take and said he was surprised that she resigned in the middle of her term.

“She has had a very different approach and direction and I’m not going to be critical of her,” Huckabee said of the former vice presidential candidate. “It was stunning, but it may turn out to be a smart play for her.”

Huckabee, who ran for president in 2008, said he hasn’t made a decision about running for president in 2012.

“Right now I’m focused on my current activities, which are the daily radio commentaries on the ABC network three times a day and my Fox News show on the weekends and a lot of speaking and writing,” he said. “I’m completely consumed with what I have to do.”

Huckabee first gained national attention while he was governor of Arkansas and was admittedly overweight. While in office he began a running and diet regimen that enabled him to lose his extra weight.

He said keeping the weight off has been a struggle recently.

“It’s been hard the last several months because of the crazy schedule and I have had some issues with (feet),” Huckabee said. “It’s a constant struggle to find decent things to eat on the road and not get terribly messed up with the same old habits.”

Huckabee’s arrival in Oklahoma didn’t come without a few hiccups. When he arrived in Oklahoma City from New York City he was informed his luggage had been sent to Minneapolis by mistake.

Upon arrival here, Huckabee was forced to borrow some cowboy boots to wear from his daughter’s boyfriend to the OCU campus. Huckabee’s luggage finally arrived just prior to his speech.

Huckabee opened his speech by telling his high school audience that story and then recalled how participating in debate helped shape his views of the world.

“It’s a privilege to be part of this event,” Huckabee said. “Debate was one of the life-changing activities that I became involved in in high school and college. In debate, you will train yourself to look at every issue from all sides. I believe debate will have an incredible value to you in life.”

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