NJ Is that a perfect world you're ready to mess with, or is this something you're going to be doing for a while?
HUCKABEE That's a question I've got to contemplate over the next few months, whether I want to keep [doing] what I'm doing, or whether it's time to jump back in. It's not a decision I have made, nor is it one I'll make very hastily. Having gone through the process before, and knowing just what it entails, it's not a decision I'll make lightly.
NJ You're building a house in Florida. How is the construction going? Do you plan to make it your primary residence?
HUCKABEE The house is going very well; it's pretty much on schedule, which for a construction project is all you can hope for. Florida actually already is our primary residence. We've been renting down there while our house is under construction. We have deep roots in Arkansas, and I'll always be a razorback. Two of our adult children live there, and we maintain our house there. Part of it is, I have to travel to New York every week from Thursday to Saturday, sometimes more, [and] it's a little easier to get there from Florida. We're anticipating a year from now that there may be some nonstop flights from Florida, which will make it a lot easier for travel. I'm taking it each day at a time. One of the things I've learned about life is, don't ever say never.
NJ What was it like to work with your daughter (Iowa field director Sarah Huckabee) on your campaign the last time around?
HUCKABEE Well, it was just an incredible thrill. To be able to spend the time with her, she was primarily doing a lot of field work and traveling with me a great deal. As a dad, it was one of the greatest joys of my life. I love my kids; I'm very close to all three of them. We have a very ideal relationship in terms of very open communication. All of my children are ideologically and politically in sync with me, they all have authentic Christian faith. It's something I'm very grateful for. When people ask me what my greatest accomplishment is, they usually expect me to talk about some political success that I've had or some legislative success. But I always tell them it was raising three children that turned out OK. I think the time we were able to spend together [on the campaign] and to watch her not as the little girl that sat in my lap that I would read stories to every night, but to watch her as an adult manage people older than her, to do it effectively and skillfully, it was one of the greatest thrills of my life. She is an incredible political operative; she's one of the best I know.
NJ From what she told National Journal, she wants to stay in Arkansas. She doesn't want to return to D.C. or go work in another state doing field operations. Do you think that's the right choice for her?
HUCKABEE I think it is. She worked in D.C. for a couple of years at the Education Department, and it was a great experience for her, she loved it. She worked with some terrific people there. She loved the culture of the city, like so many young people there, but she's married now, she's realizing D.C. is not exactly conducive to the settling down world of marriage and raising kids, all of those things. The stability and serenity of life she looks for in Little Rock, I think that's a sign in itself of her maturity.