From the transcripts of the Republican presidential debate in Boca Raton, Floriduhhhh (from the Federal News Service via The New York Times):
MR. [Tim] RUSSERT: Governor Huckabee, was the war a good idea, and is it worth the cost in blood and treasure?
MR. [Mike] HUCKABEE: I supported the president when he led us into this, as did the Democrats. And I think we owe him not a lot of scorn; we owe him our thanks that he had the courage to recognize there was a potential of weapons of mass destruction, and whether than wait until we had another attack, he went and made sure that it wasn’t going to happen from Saddam Hussein.
Now, everybody can look back and say, oh, well, we didn’t find the weapons. It doesn’t mean they weren’t there. Just because you didn’t find every Easter egg didn’t mean that it wasn’t planted.
Chris Matthews pressed Huckabee on this point in an interview after the debate. “Do you believe there are WMD in Iraq that hasn’t been found that would have justified the war had we discovered it?” he asked. Huckabee offered this response:
I think it’s more likely that that weapons of mass destruction that we know that he at one time had, he used weapons against the Kurds, good chance they may have gone to Jordan. We don’t know where they are.
From Think Progress 1.27.2008 (see the video there):
Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace pressed Huckabee to offer evidence to support this claim. “Governor, the Iraq Survey Group looked around Iraq for months after the invasion,” Wallace noted, and “could find no evidence that Saddam Hussein had an active program…Do you have any evidence of that contention?” Huckabee answered:
I don’t have any evidence. [Saddam] was the one who announced openly he had weapons of mass destruction. He’s the one who had used similar weapons in the past. Let’s remember that both Democrats and Republicans and our intelligence agencies believed that he had them.
My point was that, no, we didn’t find them. Did they get into Syria? Did they get into some remote area of Jordan? Did they go some other place? We don’t know. They may not have existed. But simply saying — we didn’t find them so therefore they didn’t exist — is a bit of an overreach.
UPDATE: On CNN’s Late Edition, Huckabee further defended his claims:
BLITZER: Well, do you believe that the president of the United States and the top national security advisers, the military commanders were all wrong when they now acknowledge there were no WMD under Saddam Hussein when the U.S. went into Iraq?
HUCKABEE: They all say they weren’t there when we went into Iraq. My point was, Saddam Hussein bragged that he had them. We know that he in the past had used them. So there have been weapons of mass destruction.
And I’m simply saying that because when we went in we didn’t find them, everybody wants to criticize the president and say, oh, the president lied to us. The president didn’t lie to us.