Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is urging congressional Republicans to cut a budget deal, warning that a government shutdown will hurt the party's chances to take back the White House next year.
In an interview Friday on Fox Business Network, the potential 2012 presidential hopeful said the GOP should avoid a shutdown at all costs "because the consequences of that are going to hurt the Republicans, not the Democrats."
"Nobody's more pro-life than me. Nobody," Huckabee said. "But as much as I want to see Planned Parenthood defunded, as much as I want to see NPR lose their funding, the reality is the president and the Senate are never gonna go along with that. So win the deal you can win and live to fight another day."
Following a meeting of the House Republican conference Friday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said "almost all" of the policy differences between the parties have been dealt with and that it's differences over the level of cuts that are preventing a final deal.
Huckabee said cutting a deal now would mean victory for Republicans in the short term, while allowing them to move on to the much larger battle over Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposed budget.
"I think it's important that Republicans don't jeopardize all of their chances for both the White House, the Senate and the House elections in 2012 by arguing over what amounts to less than a penny," Huckabee said.
As for an official decision on 2012, Huckabee said he would make his intentions known "sometime this summer."
Watch the Huckabee interview here.
-Updated at 5:56 p.m.