November 26th, 2007
02:41 PM ET
7 years ago

Romney to Huckabee: You're no Ronald Reagan

Romney had sharp words for Huckabee Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Monday dismissed rival Mike Huckabee's recent charge that he once stood against Ronald Reagan, and accused the former Arkansas governor of "getting a little desperate."

"I must admit that I find the vision and the direction that Ronald Reagan laid out for this country to be very powerful and very compelling," Romney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I'll tell you, Ronald Reagan would have never raised taxes like Mike Huckabee did, Ronald Reagan would have never said let's give tuition breaks to illegals like Mike Huckabee did, Ronald Reagan would have never stood by and pushed for a budget that more than doubled during his term as president."

"Mike Huckabee as a matter of fact has a very different record than Ronald Reagan, and I'm pretty proud that my record stands up quite well."

Romney's comments come a day after Huckabee assailed Romney's conservative record on CNN's Late Edition, claiming the former Massachusetts governor had changed his positions on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and gun control.

"He was against Ronald Reagan's legacy and said he wasn't a part of that Bush-Reagan thing, I was a part of that Bush-Reagan thing," Huckabee said of Romney Sunday on CNN's Late Edition.

Meanwhile, in a conference call with reporters Monday, Huckabee brushed aside criticism about his record on taxes - most notably from the anti-tax group Club for Growth.

"If Reagan were running today, the Club for Growth would be running ads against him because he raised taxes by a billion dollars in California, and that was one of the attacks on him when he was running for president," he said.

The back and forth comes shortly after a new ABC News/Washington post poll showed Huckabee trails Romney by just 4 percent among likely GOP caucus-goers in the crucial early-voting state of Iowa. With a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, the poll suggests the two could be essentially tied.

Watch Wolf Blitzer's full interview with Mitt Romney on The Situation Room, 4-7 p.m. ET.

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. B. Price, Glendale, AZ

    "I must admit that I find the vision and the direction that Ronald Reagan laid out for this country to be very powerful and very compelling," Romney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Yeh, like secretly and illegally trading arms for hostages with Iran? Not to mention the ballooning of the national debt. With presidents like this who needs enemies? So, we don't need or want you, Mitt Reagan.

    November 26, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Bill, Rockville, MD

    Poor Romney. He'll say anything anytime. His mouth is his biggest liability. If the Democrats offered him the nomination, presto – he'd suddenly be pro-choice all over again. Flip-flop and flip again.

    November 26, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Bob, Seattle

    I truly would like a un-moderated, round table discussion of the issues facing America today attended by the Republican candidates. The discussion should start in the morning, break for lunch, and conclude before dinner. The leaders will emerge. The false will be found out. The people will know who should be our next President. Trouble is, there may be a few wolves in the flock. But, if they choose NOT to attend the discussion then they would only convict themselves. How about it? I believe the Mr. Huckabee would truly shine in this format. This format could, just maybe, be the 'answer' to a clear, forthright vision for the American folks.

    November 26, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. Reality Check

    Romney is right. Huckabee is not presidential material.

    Huckabee is a nice enough guy and always has a funny comment to add. But, I am not voting for 'most popular' or 'class clown'. I want someone who is qualified, experienced, and intelligent. Huckabee needs to quit wasting his and our time.

    November 26, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Hey, Romney – you're no Harold Stassen.

    At least your father did something constructive, building Ramblers.

    November 26, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Marilyn Bryan, Taylor, AR

    Well, Reagan isn't running for president so no one needs to run on his record. If they did, after R.'s first year in office he doubled the national debt. After that, it was tripled and quadrupled for the most part, being only surpassed now by G. W. Bush. Conservative, my eye!
    A pox on all of you.

    November 26, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Daniel, NY

    Wow, this comes in the heels of the scathing attacks Huckabee had aimed at Romney yesterday.More dramatic news in presidential race today from a new Kansas poll that has Clinton VERY competitive in the general election in this massively red state.

    November 26, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    No kidding Mr. Romney. Huckleberry's drachonian ideas and planned disenfranchisement of middle class (under $100 K year)working men and women...make him appear more of a Stalin than a Reagan. He's only a Reagan to self-made millionaires and corporate America–or mabye ""Daddy Warbucks".

    November 26, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. charlie houston texas

    All these blowhards trying to be the next Ronald Reagan makes me sick. Ron Paul was the only one who knew Ronald Reagan and supported his race as president in 1976. I'm sorry but Ron Paul knew Ronald Reagan and neither one of these guys are a Ronald Reagan. Paul was ahead of his time in supporting Reagan and is ahead of his time in many other issues. No IRS, No Fed Reserve (devalue the dollar), No Iraq war, and a non-interventionlist foreign policy.

    November 26, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Mark Penzel, Brookline, MA

    I just checked, and the size (in absolute dollars) of the federal budget doubled between 1980 and 1988 under Reagan's watch. Amazing that someone as financially savvy as Romney would make such a misleading comment.

    November 26, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Dan, Saint Louis, MO

    For Huckleberry to compare himself to Ronald Reagan is shocking. He is a big government conservative.

    In fact, Romney's record compares very favorably to Reagan's. Both have an approach based heaviliy on the power of the free market. Both were more liberal in their past and went on to become staunch defenders of social conservativism. Romney may have a little better record on balancing budgets.

    Huckleberry is a flash in the pants.

    November 26, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Shannon shiflett, charlottesville, virginia

    So typical of Republicans to hold a petty discourse on who most resembles their true god–so far removed from reality they're disconnected from important matters, such as the broke middle-class in a Bush economy.

    November 26, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Walt, Belton, TX

    Considering Romney is more like Carter, that's a jpretty low blow!

    November 26, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Christie, NY NY

    ...and Ronald Regan would never have approved of any of the nut-jobs that are trying to run for president today. Oh wait a second. Good ol' Ronnie was a nutcase too. Nevermind the bullocks.

    November 26, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Oh my Republican friends are again re-writing history. Let's not forget that after Ronald Reagan cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans – the very next year at the advice of Greenspan – he raised taxes on every working American through the payroll deduction.

    I haven't forgotten that one.

    November 26, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Jed in Texas

    Ahhh,more of that good old "Trickle Down Economic Theory",or as Bush Sr. called it Voodoo Economics.But Jr. says its workin real good for somebody as he continues reading "My Pet Goat".

    November 26, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. S, Orlando, FL

    I'm no fan of Huckabee but since when is not being Ronald Reagan a bad thing?

    November 26, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Bryan, Phoenix AZ

    Arms for hostages.

    November 26, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Betty, Los Angeles CA

    Oh, how easily we forget, and how easily time changes images – or at least a false front perpetrated on the American public. I can't believe how the GOP is still taking Reagan's grave. Romney so stupid, he'll probably divert campaign funds to the Contras just for nostalgia's sake.

    November 26, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Kendra Beaver, Barrington RI

    Oh, how easily we forget. I can't believe how the GOP is still taking Reagan's orders from the grave. Romney is so stupid, he'll probably divert campaign funds to the Contras just for nostalgia's sake.

    November 26, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. E. Elliott, Orlando, FL

    The story says ""He was against Ronald Reagan's legacy and said he wasn't a part of that Bush-Reagan thing, I was a part of that Bush-Reagan thing," Huckabee said of Romney Sunday on CNN's Late Edition."

    That is enough reason to vote against him. Regean was the second worse disaster to sleep his way thru 8 years in the White House. That was the beginning of the ethical rott and the selling of the national treasurey with borrow and spend economics. There were only 2 things Bush the First was right about. One of them was calling the policy voodoo economics. But he showed his true colors and joind the voodoo leader and the big lie. Now it is time to ask each GOP candidate, will you pay down this debt and repudiate the policy or do more of the same? Then there is the problem of having a right wing preacher in the White House and not as the Chaplin. Separation of Church and State must not be further threatened.

    November 26, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Tom, Anaheim, CA

    "Ronald Reagan would have never said let's give tuition breaks to illegals"

    Mitt should learn about the real Ron Reagan. That guy turned his back on the illegal immegration problem in California and let 4 million illegals spill into Califonia. Many feel it was a strategy to undermine the trade unions especially in construction. Reagan was the single greated savior to illegal immegration with his open border policy that has reshaped life in Southwest America.

    November 26, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. jt, okc

    LOL! I had to laugh at this one..

    Romney is the one who said during the debate in the 1990's that he wasn't for the Reagan-Bush Policies and he was an independent. I couldn't believe how Romney could say how he liked Reagan now with a straight face. What a two-faced politician.

    By the way, Romney, maybe you should take a look at Reagans record. Reagan raised taxes in California by 1 billion dollars and also he signed in the first amnesty bill in the 1980's without securing the borders.

    Stop lying Romney.

    November 26, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Paul Thompson

    How does Mitt expect to be respected when he distorts the record of his opponents?

    November 26, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. AKoslik, Seattle WA

    Who cares if Huckabee doesn't live up to Reagan? Reagan's legacy, viewed through the lens of time, doesn't live up to the adoration he receives... Iran/ Contra? Borrowing against Social Security to make up for unsustainable tax cuts? The dismantling of Carter's plan to get the US off foriegn oil?

    Please. Reagan is no president to try and live up to.

    November 26, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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