UPDATED, Sunday 7:10 AM: Fox News Channel’s Fox News Sunday brought in conservative talking head Laura Ingraham this morning so she could deliver the news, “The idea that Mike Huckabee is going to be president of the United States? I’ll predict that’s not going to happen,” adding, “He’d probably have done better serving conservatism if he had run for one of the two open Senate seats in Arkansas over the last few years.”
“He decided not to do that, she reminded Fox fans. “He had a great show on Fox.” Huckabee signed off his FNC show last night, after more than six years.
UPDATED WITH VIDEO, Saturday, 6:50PM: Here’s the clip of Mike Huckabee’s final signoff after doing his Fox News Channel show Huckabee for the past 6 1/2 years.
UPDATED, 6:04PM: Mike Huckabee ended his Fox News show tonight by announcing he’s ending his run at Fox News. “It has been the ride of a lifetime, and I have never had so much fun in my life,” the former Arkansas governor told his live studio audience on Huckabee. “But I also realize that God hasn’t put me on Earth just to have a good time or to make a good living but rather God’s put me on Earth to try to make a good life. There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for president. And if I were willing to absolutely rule that out, I could keep doing this show. But I can’t make such a declaration. Now I’m not going to make a decision about running until late in the spring of 2015, but the continued chatter has put Fox News into a position that just isn’t fair to them. Nor is it possible for me to openly determine political and financial support to justify a race. The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at Fox. Now as much as I’ve loved doing this show, I cannot bring myself to rule out another presidential run. Oh, be clear, I’m not making that announcement right now. … But I agree with Fox that this is the right thing and now is the right time.” He went on to note that Huckabee “has been the highest-rated weekend show on the network each week since we launched,” plug his upcoming book God, Guns, Grits And Gravy and praise Fox News President Roger Ailes as “the smartest guy in the room — and it doesn’t matter who else is in the room.” He added later, “Now, I’m not going to disappear, and I’ll probably make guest appearances on Fox — hope so — but no longer as a member of the staff.” He ended with: “So that’s it for the Huckabee show. I say goodbye, but as we say in television, stay tuned, there’s more to come.”
PREVIOUSLY, 4:25PM: The former governor of Arkansas is calling it a career at Fox News Channel. The network said Mike Huckabee will announce his exit during Huckabee tonight at 8 PM ET. FNC reported the news during the 5 PM hour, and a spokesman said the split was amicable. Fox News said it will run specials in place of Huckabee’s political commentary show for the next few weeks and will be trying “a few new ideas” in its longtime weekend time slot.
So what might this mean for the GOP veteran’s immediate political future? Huckabee ran for president in 2008, doing well in several primaries before withdrawing that March. (He joined Fox News later that year.) There had been speculation he would try again in 2012, but he eventually announced on his show that he wouldn’t. “All the factors say go,” Huckabee said during the final segment of his show on May 14, 2011. “But my heart says no.” With no clear front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination, this could be the first hint that Huckabee will make a serious run for the White House. Stay tuned.