Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said that although he and Sen. John McCain were political opponents, they were never enemies.

McCain died Saturday night after a year-long battle with brain cancer. He was 81 years old.

McCain’s family announced in a statement the day before he passed away that the Arizona senator would discontinue medical treatment for his cancer.

Huckabee said Saturday that after McCain beat him for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, he was happy to endorse him and campaign "vigorously" with him.


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"I never had a regret about that," he said. "I found him to be an incredibly gracious and grateful person for this country."

Huckabee told Judge Jeanine Pirro of a time on the 2008 campaign trail when McCain -- who was deeply interested in cooking -- had to be asked to leave a Little Rock, Arkansas, barbecue restaurant in order to continue campaigning for the presidency.

"He was also a human being who loved just to be able to cook for his friends and his family, and it gave a side of John McCain that a lot of people probably never had the chance to see," Huckabee said.

McCain was someone who was well-studied and astute to current issues facing the country, Huckabee added.

The senator was a Vietnam War veteran who survived five years as a prisoner of war.

He went on to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.

"Nobody can take away from him the courage that he had," Huckabee said, noting how McCain refused to be released from captivity unless his fellow prisoners were, too.

Watch the segment above.


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