Grist and Outside

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside.

Update: Mike Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race on Mar. 4, 2008.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee.

Should you heart Huckabee? The jovial former Arkansas governor famously shed 100 pounds in two years and became an outspoken health and fitness advocate, and now he’s focusing that can-do attitude on a much weightier problem: America’s beleaguered energy system.

“The first thing I will do as president is send Congress my comprehensive plan for energy independence,” he proclaims on his website. “We will achieve energy independence by the end of my second term.” The goal may sound admirable, but even if it’s achievable — and many experts doubt that it is — Huckabee’s plan for getting there is light on specifics. Rather than spell out what steps he would take, he talks of creating a market environment that encourages innovation and he praises just about every energy source you can think of — nuclear, “clean coal,” wind, solar, hydrogen, biomass, biodiesel, corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other untapped domestic areas, and, yes, conservation too.