December 20th, 2007
11:20 AM ET
11 years ago

Huckabee: Romney's campaign in 'desperate position'

Huckabee hit back at Mitt Romney Thursday.

IOWA (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee is going on the offensive in response to presidential rival Mitt Romney’s latest attack: that as Arkansas governor, he was too lenient on the state’s criminals.

At Iowa campaign stops Wednesday and Thursday, Huckabee portrayed the former Massachusetts governor as a heartless politician who only had his own political future in mind, not the interest of the people.

Huckabee defended the lengthy list of clemencies critiqued by Romney in a recent attack ad, telling some of their stories, and saying he has no regrets.

“My opponent says there’s something about judgment – I’ll put mine up to his any day, because my judgment is you act in the best interest of the people who elected you, not in your own best interest,” he said Wednesday.

He told a story of Romney denying clemency to an Iraq war vet who wanted to be a policeman, but could not because of a BB gun incident when he was a juvenile.

On Thursday, he told the same story and asked the audience to raise their hands if they would grant parole. The vast majority raised their hands. “My opponent said no,” Huckabee told the crowd. “Now let me ask you, do you believe he acted in the best interest of that young man and his state, or did he act in the best interest of his own future political career? That’s judgment, folks, you’ve just decided whose judgment is better.”

He added: “So when you hear my opponent say that I just gave out commutations, first of all nobody walked out that door who had been a murderer and I went and unlocked the door. The attacks are dishonest, and they’re desperate, you know why because we’re winning this campaign and there are some folks who don’t like that.”

Huckabee said Romney’s latest charges were motivated by sagging poll numbers. “I think the desperate position of his campaign is beginning to come through. I want people to look at the whole record,” said Huckabee Wednesday. “I don’t plan to fight with him. He’s throwing punches and I’m saying ‘Merry Christmas.’”

He added that people should view Romney with “some sense of sympathy,” since his campaign had outspent Huckabee’s “20-to-1 here, and that’s a lot of money, and he’s behind and I’m sure that’s disappointing, and I’m sure there’s some internal turmoil in his campaign, and I understand that. But I think all of us ought to tell people what we’re for not what’s wrong with the other candidates, I kind of believe the negative attack ads had the opposite effect of what was intended.”

–CNN's Dana Bash

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Kenneth Howell Chapel Hill NC

    Shame on Mike Huckabee. It was Mike Huckabee who raised the issues of a religious test for office, Romney's faith was a cult, and promoting himself as the "Christian Candidate".

    Huckabee stands back and acts like an innocent, all the while framing questions about Romney's faith to be questions of his character and integrity. Shame on Mike Huckabee.

    Paragraph 3, Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution reads, “. . . all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” – emphasis added.

    Well, so much for the Constitution in Huckabee‘s mind. On the campaign trail to the 2008 presidential election, religious bigotry has reared its ugly head. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon. As his poll numbers continue to rise there is a sudden, alarming amazement, a dread resulting in utter confusion and dismay led by Mike Huckabee!

    In many denominations pastors rely on the church as their source of income. They are good, moral people whom, I believe, earnestly minister to their respective flocks. Yet, it is also their livelihood. Mormons do not pay their leaders and, doctrine aside, evangelical leaders have problems with that. Too, the rapid growth and retention rates of the Mormon Church, coupled with its superlative welfare system have only added grief to the evangelical leadership. So, from the evangelical seminaries to the smallest southern pulpit the Mormon doctrine is attacked.

    Never mind that one would be hard pressed to find a more humble, clean-living, patriotic, law-abiding and civic-minded group of people than a Mormon congregation. Never mind that the church’s name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Never mind that two major articles of their faith are: We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, and We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. Mormons just cannot be Christians! But they are.

    Pastor turned candidate Mike Huckabee, while speaking (preaching) to the choir at the Values Summit said, “Faith is also threatened, and let me share with you how. I believe that there are many who will seek our support. But let me say that it’s important that people sing from their hearts, and don’t merely lip-synch the lyrics to our songs. I think it’s important that the language of Zion is a mother tongue, and not a recently acquired second language. It’s important that a person doesn’t have more positions on issues that Elvis had waist sizes.” Oh, that was subtle, and hateful. It is just pure religious bigotry; “you can only believe what we say you believe.” And it is offensive to the principle of religious freedom. Where do these ideas come from? Well, just ask Noah Crowe, a Southern Baptist pastor from North Carolina, there's nothing Romney can do to overcome their distrust of Mormonism. "he studied Mormonism at his evangelical college in a course called Cults and False Religions. He claims there's nothing Romney can do to overcome their ideas on Mormonism.

    Unfortunately in the evangelical south, such rhetoric has marginalized the most qualified presidential candidate, the one who most shares their value system. Moreover, this consternation is unwarranted.

    More than a few members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have served in our Federal Government. Democrat Senator Harry Reid is the current senate majority leader. Ezra Taft Benson, Republican, served as Secretary of Agriculture in Eisenhower’s administration. J. Reuben Clark, Republican, was appointed U.S. State Department Solicitor. In 1928, he was appointed Undersecretary of State. In 1930, ambassador to Mexico. Most in the Republican party know of Paula Hawkins of Florida, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Ron Packard and Ivy Baker Priest of California, and, of course, Orrin Hatch. Democrats know Stewart Udall of Arizona, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Ralph Harding of Idaho

    Indeed, on Stephen M. Studdert, Special Assistant to President Reagan says, "Ronald Reagan truly admired the Latter-day Saints. His administration included more members of the Church than any other American president, ever. Three of us, David Fischer, Gregory Newell and I, served on his personal White House staff. Richard Wirthlin was his chief strategist. Terrel Bell served as Secretary of Education, Bay Buchanan was Treasurer, Rex Lee was Solicitor General. His White House included Roger Porter, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Beal, Blake Parish, Jon Huntsman, Dodie Borup and Rocky Kuonen, and there were many other Latter-day Saints throughout his Administration.

    The list goes on and on. Many more members have served in high and trusted positions throughout the world in business, medicine, law, education, media, sports, and entertainment. Thank goodness. After all, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    December 21, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. survivior

    I think Huckabee has some interesting things to say. But I am greatly destrubed by his attacks against the Mormons. He says that Romney is running negative campaining, but Huckabee has his promoters making videos and making calls that are attacking an entire group of people that are only indirectly related, and he calls himself a Christian. As someone connected to the Holocaust I find it very scary.

    January 5, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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