Des Moines, Iowa (CNN)Mike Huckabee has a counter offer to Jeb Bush's promise to bring the economy back to 4% growth: 6%.
Mike Huckabee: Flat tax will lead to 6% growth
"I believe we can get it to 6 or higher with a fair tax. I'm convinced," Huckabee told a crowd of potential caucus-goers at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday. "I guarantee you we will goose the economy if you bring $11 trillion of working capital back to this country."
The former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate has argued for overhauling the tax code by abolishing the IRS, which he called on Sunday a "criminal enterprise," and establishing a single, flat sales tax across the board -- a proposal that has drawn heat from some economists who say it would unfairly burden the poor, a claim Huckabee rejects.
The 2008 Iowa caucus winner returned to the state Thursday to be the first to step on the Des Moines Register's "Soapbox" for presidential candidates and quickly swing through the fairgrounds, encouraging fairgoers to try the pork chop on a stick.
Huckabee's visit to the state came as he nabbed just 6% in the CNN/ORC poll of Iowa Republicans released just a day earlier -- tying with Carly Fiorina and 15 points behind frontrunner Donald Trump, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Despite that, Huckabee told CNN at the fair that "we're in a very good place from where we were before," noting that he wasn't even registering in the polls yet at this point eight years ago, before he won the caucus. He also noted that he came in third in the average of national polls that got him onto the Fox News/Facebook debate stage last week.
And he spent the first part of his speech looking beyond the primary, positioning himself as the best man to beat the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination Hillary Clinton in the general election as he touted his record of defeating "the Clinton machine" in Arkansas in the 90s.
Huckabee, who pulls strong support from Iowa's heavy evangelical base, also used his time at the state fair to slam Planned Parenthood and call for an end to abortions in the United States.
"I'm not sure how we fully expect to invoke God's blessing on this country if we continue the slaughter of unborn children in their mothers' wombs," Huckabee told the crowd to roaring applause. "Let's start acting as a civilized people rather than barbarians. Let's stop the slaughter."
As Republicans call for stripping Planned Parenthood of its federal funding amid a string of videos that raise ethical and potentially legal questions about the group's abortion practices, Huckabee suggested that would not be enough.
"Let's do more than that. Let's not just end funding for this nightmare, let's end the nightmare and make it so that when we ask God to bless us he can look down from heaven and say I will," Huckabee said.