Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said Republicans must stand strong on abortion in order to win elections, firing back at some in the GOP establishment who disagreed at the Susan B. Anthony List's annual gala.
Huckabee, who's seriously mulling a 2016 White House run, blasted the establishment Republicans who are calling on their party to avoid social issues, winning applause from the sympathetic crowd.
"This is not an issue that we should abandon," he said. "I have a moral obligation before God and a political obligation unto the Declaration of Independence and our constitutional form of government to believe that that life is a life worth living and a life worth protecting. We can run the full gambit of what we believe, we don't have to reduce down to one flavor. That's not how we lose an election. That's how we win elections and it's how we save this republic."
Huckabee said he can be a "full-spectrum conservative" and still talk about fiscal and foreign policy issues without walking away from abortion.
"I don't have to quit being pro-life and pro-family to believe that the government should take less money from each family," he said.
The former Baptist preacher's 2008 presidential campaign was propelled by strong support from social conservatives, and he's positioning himself to win back that crowd if he decides to run again in 2016, focusing on social issues more than nearly every other potential candidate besides former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
Guests buzzed about Huckabee's potential run, a major undercurrent for the event. Weekly Standard Editor in Chief Bill Kristol even joked that former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who introduced Huckabee, would be announcing his bid to loud laughs.
Huckabee said it's not worth winning if the GOP caves on abortion.
"I did not become pro-life because I got into politics. I got into politics because as a pro-life person I believe if we get this issue wrong we will get all the other issues wrong."