Huckabee: Death toll from chronic disease exceeds 9-11 attacks
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee speaks to GOP leaders during a campaign stop in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, March 14, 2007.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Mike Huckabee (R)
Former Governor, AR
Born: 08/24/1955
Birthplace: Hope, AR
Home: Little Rock, AR
Religion: Baptist
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CONCORD - Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee compared Americans' risk of death from chronic disease to the risk of death from terrorism and the Sept. 11 attacks in a visit to the earliest primary state Wednesday.

"There is a lot of terrorism out there that we are afraid of: buildings collapsing and planes being flown into the places where we work and live," Huckabee said in a speech to employees at the headquarters of Northeast Delta Dental, which provides dental insurance in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

"But I'll also suggest to you that today, chronic disease will take over 2,500 Americans' lives - today. More people than died Sept. 11," the former Arkansas governor said.

"And here's the real sad thing, that many people will die tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that, and the next day after that. Anyone who does not talk about this issue and put it front and center is going to be neglecting one of the most important issues not only of our culture ... but clearly for our time," he said.

Huckabee said the nation's health care system focuses on treating disease instead of preventing it. The cost is measured in the drag on the economy of rapidly rising health spending, as well as the toll on individuals and families who lack insurance coverage or fear losing it, he said.

"The terror for many American families is, 'What if I get a tumor?' Terror is, 'What if my 8-year-old breaks his arm on the school playground and how in the world can I pay for that and still make the rent payment?" he said.

It was Huckabee's second visit to the earliest presidential primary state since announcing his candidacy.