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Former presidential candidates Gov. Mike Huckabee and Gen. Wesley Clark discuss political civility

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Students gathered in the Johnson Center theater Monday night to witness a bipartisan discussion between former NATO Supreme Allied Commander retired Gen. Wesley Clark and former Gov. Mike Huckabee through nonprofit organization Renew America Together.

“It’s about common ground,” said University President Dr. Bob Fisher before he introduced the two figures. “When you start looking for common threads, they’re there.”

These ideals were reflected in Clark and Huckabee’s conversations throughout the night, with both expressing a desire for a more united and bipartisan future.

“I think we see a lot more things alike than people would have us believe,” said Huckabee during one of his early talking points.

Huckabee, a longstanding Republican and two-time presidential candidate in 2008 and 2016, discussed multiple current political talking points with Clark, who ran for president as a Democrat in 2004.

The two covered topics ranging from the consumption of political media to the recent impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The speakers acknowledged that their conflicting viewpoints would lead to contention, with Clark saying that “politics is always gonna have sharp edges.”

However, while Clark and Huckabee disagreed on multiple topics, the two kept an air of respect for each other throughout the evening.

Both speakers urged those present at the event to find the human side of those across the political aisle, using each other as examples of people you can disagree with without attacking their character.

“He can reach out and touch people’s hearts,” Clark said of Huckabee during the evening.

Despite their differences, Clark and Huckabee both wanted to work toward a more united America, they said, with Clark saying that citizens need to see through disinformation now more than ever.

“Don’t lose faith in democracy.”

Article written by Ryder Guido. Contributing reporting by Anna D’amico and Emma Gottlieb. Photo courtesy of Belmont Office of Communications.

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