From NBC's Catherine Chomiak
As federal budget negotiations are underway, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) decried the size and scope of the government, comparing federal spending to illegal drugs.
"What we've come up with now is a formula in which the federal government -- by its own nature -- is able to get larger and larger by the granting of federal money to states and cities for programs, often just enough to get them hooked on something. But the long-term money is left to the states and the cities,” he said at the National Press Club in DC. "This whole idea of federal money is kinda like the free sample of heroin that your drug dealers give away. The ultimate effect is you get hooked."
On the subject of budgets, Huckabee poked fun at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is embroiled in his own budget battle in the Badger State. At the beginning of his speech at the National Press Club, Huckabee thanked everyone for coming and joked about billionaire businessman and Republican backer, David Koch. Yesterday, Gov. Walker got a prank call from a blogger pretending to be his supporter, David Koch.
"I was detained for a few minutes, had a phone call from David Koch, and that lasted nearly 20 minutes. But I was finally able to break loose," Huckabee said for a couple laughs.
Later in his speech when a cell phone rang, Huckabee continued the ruse, "That's probably David Koch calling. I already talked to him today. No more."
In his National Press Club appearance, which was to promote his new book, "A Simple Government," Huckabee said the book would help him decide whether to seek the presidency in 2012. The book, he emphasized, would give potential supporters a clear insight as to where he stands and what he believes. He also said it would help him develop his message.
"The question that I have for America is: Do you think this message resonates with you? If it does, that gives me a whole lot more encouragement to go put myself through the sausage grinder of a campaign," he said.
If he does decide to run he could potentially compete against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Addressing speculation that the two men don't quite get along Huckabee said, "I don't have a big personal issue with Mitt Romney. He and I certainly clashed in the last presidential contest. I don't think that's a big surprise when someone's in a contest with you."
"If Mitt Romney is the nominee of our party this time, I'm going to support him,” he continued. "Because I'm a Republican and I believe he'll be a better president than Barack Obama."