Speaker series recap: Arianna Huffington, D.L. Hughley, Mike Huckabee and Anderson Cooper at Radio City Music Hall
Last night, Arianna Huffington, D.L. Hughley and Mike Huckabee took the stage at Radio City Music Hall for the second edition of the 2009 Speaker Series: The Minds That Move The World. CNN wunderkind Anderson Cooper was the moderator.
Not surprisingly, the discussion focused on the economy. Also not surprisingly, Hughley and Huffington seemed to support most of Obamas budget plans, and Huckabee critiqued them (like a true politican, he stressed that he likes Obama personally, but just doesnt approve of many of his policies a feeling he thinks he shares with a lot of Americans).
All three panelists were critical of the governments more lenient approach to the banks embattled bosses than the CEOs of the car companies, calling it a double standard.Huffington blamed a chumminess between government officials and Wall Street bosses, comparing the bankers to Russian oligarchs.
Huckabee responded by criticizing the plan to bail out the failing American car companies. The reality of the free market, he stressed, is that businesses that fail to perform are shuttered, and we may just have to allow for the natural progression of things.
For a short time, the discussion shifted from the economy to everyones favorite political punching bag: Sarah Palin.
Huffington elicited laughs from the audience, asking Huckabee, Dont you think McCain wakes up in the middle of night every night an says What was I thinking?
Huckabee elicited boos from the audience for refusing to call Palin unqualified for the presidency, a move Huffington declared as true proof of his plans run for president in 2012.
While Huckabee claimed he hasnt yet decided whether he will run for the Republican nomination in 2012, he sure seemed like a politician looking to distance himself from an ailing party, calling his own beliefs in line with fundamental Republican ideals that been recently forgotten.
At the end of the night, Hughley, who elicited some laughs (though the other guests seemed to get just as many), had the last word saying that our country would be judged, and built on how we handle this difficult situation.
Next up: On May 26, Charlie Rose interviews James Carville and Karl Rove. Now that should be interesting.
-Lucy Cohen Blatter
Photo courtesy of NBC New York