Huckabee's tax record is under fire from the Club for Growth and rival Fred Thompson.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who has been criticized by his party’s fiscal conservatives, found his tax record under fire Friday from both a rival candidate and an independent group.
Republican Fred Thompson is taking aim at Huckabee in the crucial state of Iowa, and – in what amounts to the harshest of GOP slaps – linking him to another former Arkansas governor, President Bill Clinton.
The former Tennessee senator – who, like Huckabee is seeking the support of the party's conservative base – is assaulting his Republican rival for his record on taxes while governor in a mail flier sent to Iowa Republicans this week.
Meanwhile, the anti-tax Club for Growth released an anti-Huckabee ad on YouTube, with plans to air it nationwide on FOX News Monday,
"Mike Huckabee wants to hide the fact that he and Bill Clinton share a 'D' lifetime rating for their tax and spend policies," says the Thompson mailer, in reference to Huckabee's negative assessment from the libertarian Cato Institute's Scorecard of Governors.
Elsewhere, the flier states, "Mike Huckabee talks like a Republican but taxes like a Democrat."
The 60-second Club for Growth spot excerpts a speech Mike Huckabee gave as Arkansas governor in which he says certain tax increases are acceptable.
After an initial burst when he first floated the idea of a presidential run, Thompson's poll numbers have steadily declined in the Hawkeye State, while Huckabee has surged to a tie for first place there in most polls.
Huckabee's campaign has not responded to a request for comment. But late last month he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that that the Arkansas speech has been taken out of context.
"I was basically giving a put up or shut up speech to the legislature who had been saying we have got a $200 million deficit, and we don't like any proposal the governor has to fix it," he said. "What I was saying to them was, if you don't like my proposals, give me yours, but let's fix this deficit. And we did."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney