The morning after announcing that he wasn't joining the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee gave his views on the remainder of the candidates.
"Frankly my feelings and emotions are still a little raw from the whole process because up until a few days ago I honestly thought I would be in it," Huckabee said on "Fox News Sunday."
Huckabee said he would not immediately endorse any of the declared or undeclared Republicans, but he had kind words for some.
"There are a lot of great candidates -- most of them are very dear friends of mine," he said. "Rick Santorum for example is a strong social conservative, but is also a strong fiscal and, I think, defense conservative, foreign policy conservative. Tim Pawlenty, is another person; Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann… Sarah Palin, should she decide to get in, and I think people are awaiting her decision, like they were mine."
At first Huckabee did not mention former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who battled Huckabee in the 2008 Republican primary. When asked directly, Huckabee did not exactly praise Romney but said he was not the worst potential president.
"There's been a lot of talk about Mitt Romney and me," he said. "We don't socialize, we're not close personally, but I want to make it very clear: If Mitt Romney is the nominee for our party, I will support him because I believe Mitt Romney would be a better president of the United States than Barack Obama on any day."
Questions about real estate mogul Donald Trump got the same type of response from Huckabee: "I believe Donald Trump would be better for America than Barack Obama, because he understands business. Donald Trump has taken a pro-life position, he believes we are getting Shanghaied by China, which I agree with."
With a devoted support base of social conservatives Huckabee's endorsement of any candidate makes him very important to the Republican field, even as a non-candidate.