NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Friday pleaded with conservative activists to remain on guard against government overreach, referring at one point to the case of a Connecticut teen who is being held by the state against her parents’ wishes.

There Is Something Wrong When the Govt Kidnaps Children From Their Own Family: Huckabee Excoriates Government Overreach in Wide Ranging CPAC Speech

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 7, 2014. (Getty Images)

“I know this,” Huckabee said at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. “I know that mothers and fathers raise better children than governments every will.”

He said the U.S. has reached a point where the government tries to dictate everything from what children eat to where they go to school.

“And the case of the young lady in Massachusetts?” he asked, referring to Justina Pelletier, the 15-year girl at the center of a year-long custody case with the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families over her medical treatment.

“What a shame when the government thinks that is knows better to take care of the treatment of the daughter than the mother and father do. There is something wrong when the government kidnaps children from their own family,” he said.

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate turned cable news host said America’s standing in the world has dropped under Obama.

“There is not one country anywhere in the world with whom we have a better relationship than we did five years ago,” Huckabee said. “The only time that Vladimir Putin shivers is when he takes his shirt off in the cold Russian winter.”

“No one trusts us. No one listen to us. No one respects us. No one fears us,” he said, also attacking the Obama administration for its “shameful” treatment of Israel.

He turned his attention to the subject of religion and religious liberty, saying America will doom itself if it slacks on these issues.

“If this nation forgets our God, then God will have every right to forget us,” he said.

He also had words for the Internal Revenue Service, calling it a “criminal enterprise.”

“I know that the IRS is a criminal enterprise,” he said, adding that it’s a “cancer in this country.”

He said Congress should enact a fair tax, to effectively “eliminate the IRS once and for all.”

Touching on the deadly Benghazi attacks, Huckabee had words for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration’s initial declaration that the attacks were prompted by an anti-Islam YouTube clip.

“I know it had not one thing to do with some ridiculous video,” he said, “and with all due respect to Hillary Clinton, it does make a difference.”

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