From NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger
DALLAS, Texas -- Huckabee criticized McCain Monday for serving barbecue to reporters on the day Huckabee had asked him to debate.
"I think his time would have been better spent at a debate and I think the people of Texas should take that into consideration when they vote either today or tomorrow," he said at a press conference. "They ought to think about, you know, what would be a better use of his time, being in Texas having a debate on issues that affect Texans or serving BBQ to the media?"
Not only did he think he is a better candidate, he said he's a better cook.
"Actually I would put my ribs to the test of anybody's, they're pretty darn good," he said. "But you know, we've been campaigning non stop and working hard because we feel like the people of Texas deserve this discussion, this debate, and I'm disappointed we never had that debate that we should have had. I think Sen. McCain should have come to Texas, we should have had the debate on television, and let the people hear the differences. If they they then decided differently, the would have made an informed and intelligent decision."
And he took a final jab at McCain's lack of executive experience.
"Let me tell you, running a government is much different than making speeches about a government," he said.
Huckabee spoke at Southern Methodist University, the first of five rallies he planned for the day before the Texas primary. He drew about 200 people to the school, who were greeted by Chuck Norris.
Afterward, Huckabee stressed again that he would exit the race when a candidate reaches the 1,191 delegate threshold, and said he would campaign for whoever the Republican presidential candidate may be.
"If somebody gets 1,191 delegates then ... we're gonna recognize that the nomination has been essentially clinched," he said, noting the definition of pledged delegates varies. "Now that doesn't mean that we just disappear and go away and not continue a message. We're gonna make sure our nominee wins -- I hope it's me. But there's a lot of, a lot of time left between, now and not only the convention but the election to make sure the Republican party maintains the White House."
OVER DALLAS -- So the Huckabee press plane has a game: if you catch someone napping, you take a picture with a sheet of paper in front of him that has a funny caption. Silly, yes, but it passes the time as we make several stops a day from one rally to the next.
We got the senior campaign staffers and most of the press. Chuck Norris' caption read "M.H. (Mike Huckabee) could beat me up." Jim Gilchrist, the head of the Minuteman Project, had one that said "Suit and Tie Made in Mexico."
Well this morning, we got the candidate. Actually, his daughter did the dirty work, placing the paper in front of him at his front row seat and snapping the photo before he could wake, eliciting cheers from the press corps in the back. She quickly declared the picture "off the record."
The caption: "If I close my eyes, it feels like Air Force One."