Huckabee and Pawlenty share the stage.

Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and one time presidential candidate, told a group of values voters that liberty cannot exist apart from personal responsibility.

Hucakbee spoke to more than 500 people at a fundraiser for the Minnesota Family Council in Minneapolis (Here’s his full speech: ). A large portion of his speech focused on social issues and how a nation with strong social values means lower government costs.

“Do you really want to bring the cost and the size of government down?,” Huckabee asked. “Bring the level and character of the people up. And that is how it’s done.”

Huckabee also stressed the importance of focusing on social issues like antiabortion legislation and banning gay marriage.

In 2008, Huckabee won the Iowa Caucuses but ended up losing the party’s nomination to Arizona Senator John McCain. He told reporters before the event that he didn’t know if his future plans included a White House run.

“If I knew what they were I would tell you,” Huckabee said of his future plans. “But right now they are to vote and help other people get elected.”

Huckabee has been actively raising money for his federal political action committee. If he decides to run, he could square off against Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, someone he shared the stage with on Monday night. On Monday night, both Huckabee and Pawlenty showered praise on each other.

“I can tell you there’s no finer person in public life with a better heart, a better compass setting than Mike Huckabee,” Pawlenty said (Here’s Pawlenty’s speech: ).

Pawlenty said he met privately with Huckabee before the event to discuss their families and politics but declined to provide specifics of the meeting.

This is Pawlenty’s final speech to the conservative Minnesota Family Council as acting governor. He received a standing ovation from the crowd after he was introduced as a governor who threatened to veto comprehensive sexual education standards and any law that allows gay marriage.

Before the event, dozens of people protested outside of the Minneapolis Hilton to speak out against Pawlenty and Huckabee. The group, which is pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, chose the site because they say Pawlenty supports policies that they believe hurts immigrant families.

Protesters, including Veronica Mendez of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, also criticized the new immigration law passed by Arizona last week.

” The only way that they can actually use this to enforce immigration laws is by discriminating people and profiling and looking for people who look Latino and asking them for their documents,” Mendez said. “And it’s just promoting absolute racism, profiling and hatred.”

Mendez says laws like the new measure in Arizona serve to underscore the need for comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level.

(MPR’s Toni Randolph constributed to this report).

  • linda

    Tim Pawlenty is “acting governor?”

  • Granny T

    Thank you for reporting this and for sharing the links with us.