January 2nd, 2008
02:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney rips Huckabee's Leno appearance

Mitt Romney and John McCain are battling for the lead in the Granite State.

Mitt Romney and John McCain are battling for the lead in the Granite State.

BETTENDORF, Iowa (CNN) –- Mitt Romney, who is spending the final day before the caucuses jetting around Iowa, is hitting rival Mike Huckabee for abandoning the Hawkeye State on caucus eve to make an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

"Well, frankly my focus is on the caucuses here in Iowa. I think Mike is more concerned about the caucus in Los Angeles," Romney told voters at Bettendorf Middle School. "So my focus is on getting folks out to vote in the caucus and connecting my message with the people of Iowa. I think that’s the right course for my campaign."

Romney also went out of his way in his opening comments to attack Sen. John McCain, who is campaigning in Iowa today after spending most of the week so far stumping in New Hampshire.

"Welcome to Iowa, senator," Romney said, before repeating his recent criticism of McCain's past opposition to President Bush's tax cuts and support for last summer's controversial immigration reform bill.

Asked if his criticisms of McCain were a kind of pre-emptive strike against his chief Granite State rival heading into the New Hampshire primary vote next week, the usually on-message Romney drew laughs from reporters with his response:

"Actually, I figured you guys would talk to me about Mike Huckabee, so I took the chance to talk to you about John McCain."

Update: Huckabee is also facing heat for likely having to cross the writers' picket line to appear on the show, though earlier Wednesday he told reporters he didn't believe he would have to cross the picket line.

“My understanding is that there was a special arrangement for the late night shows and the writers have made this agreement to let the late night shows come back on. So I don’t anticipate it’s a crossing of the picket line. I support the writers by the way, unequivocally. Absolutely."

In actuality, only David Letterman's show has reached an agreement. Huckabee's campaign says the candidate will still appear on the show.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Iowa • John McCain • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. E

    "Mike Allen January 2, 2008 5:34 pm ET

    Carefull Mitt, your horns are starting to poke though your five hundred dollar hair cut. I hope Mitts ugly attack ads that he has spent millions of dollars on reap for him what he is sowing."

    Ugly attack? What a joke. Your religious attack and wealth-hating comment is even more of a joke. (here’s an attempt at your style) Huck preached for filthy lucre, just like all Baptist preachers. The members of his past congregations should be the pissed-off individuals because they are the individuals he stole from. (how about) Huck believes in a schizophrenic god, maybe he’s schizophrenic too. (one more time) Does the US need a president that thinks any citizen that is not Baptist is going to hell? Huck keeps using religious symbols in his campaigning; therefore, he brings religious scrutiny into his campaign.

    Anyway, I don’t agree with the teachings of the Baptist Church, but I’d vote for Huck if he represented what I stood for and stated he would lead the country in the direction I believe that the country needs to go in. The same goes for the other candidates.

    Moreover, I’d be upset if I he said or did any of the following: Pardoned 12 murderers, (stated) I have no foreign policy experience, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, pardoned other individuals because their preachers said that the convicts were simply good people, trying to pass into law tax-based in-state tuition for illegal immigrants (Huck, how about prosecution/deportation), and so on and so forth….

    Huck isn’t a “bum” as he has described himself. I view him more as a “boob,” meaning “a stupid awkward person.” –Webster (I suppose that’s a jab at Huck)

    Huck knows exactly how objectionable his record is and he is quickly offended when individuals remind him of it.

    Simply, vote for any republican candidate besides Huck. If Huck is the nominee, then I will consider voting for a Democrat for the first time.

    January 2, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    The more I hear what comes out of Romney mouth, the more I dislike the guy.

    January 2, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. Peter

    Name-calling? Come on Katy, you're better than that.

    January 2, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Kenneth

    CNN is like an over reacting girl, saying that Romney is ripping Huckabee. It was just a quick comment, why didn't they cover Huckabee's comment about about the Mormon faith, or even his comment about the Catholic faith. Now people go on thinking that Romney is a horrible person, attacking others all the time, just like CNN would have you believe. We need to grow up and form our own opinion and not be swayed by little news articles. And on Romney's flip flopping issue, don't you wish our current President could admit when he is wrong and change his stance on something, like maybe the war. We would be in a lot better situation right now if that were the case.

    January 2, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. not confused

    for the confused, here is some facts:
    just because someone goes to a church does not make them a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car, or sitting on a horse makes you a cowboy. Believing in more than one deity makes you definitely not Christian. That does not make them a worse person, just different. Embrace your difference, since we are supposed to be tolerant AND intelligent. If you are going to discriminate, at least know the facts please.

    January 2, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Mike Allen

    Blogger Anette says Huckabee is a bigot and she is going to vote for Mitt the Mormon. I thought the Mormon Church is the church that did not allow blacks to serve in a church office until 1995 and whose founder Joseph Smith had revelations from god that the dark skin of blacks and indians were a curse from god?

    January 2, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Ryan

    this is mostly the media playing up Romney as a bad guy, they and other news stations have been doing it since the start of the election. It's funny to see how they try to make candidates appear a certain way when in reality, its the complete opposite. Fox news is a little more credible in my opinion. Romney is an excellent speaker who always gets his issues across, its the media who only listen to the one liners that are mostly taken out of context.

    Romney 08'

    January 2, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. David ~ Austin, Texas


    I would like to make a few responses based off your post:

    Romney really is a man of integrity.

    An interesting statement, is Romney the only man of integrity? If yes, what do you base that on?
    Romney's religion has bettered the lives of millions of adherents who are because of their membership (statistically speaking) healthier, happier, more racially tolerant, and more ardent followers of Christ.
    First I would like to see the statistics you speak of. I have family and friends that belong to the LDS and they are good people, but I don’t know that they are any happier or healthier than anyone else I’ve met. And racially tolerant? 61% of the residents of Utah are Mormons, and the state is 95% white. I’m not saying that this is Mitt Romney’s fault (it’s not), but those statistics don’t exactly scream “diversity”.
    Pointing out the factual differences between Romney's candidacy and other candidates is NOT negative campaigning.
    You are correct, but how one point’s out those differences can be negative, and with Mitt Romney it frequently is. Many of his ads where he contrasts himself with his opponents stretch the truth, or leave out pieces of information. He doesn’t just lay out both records in their entirety, and then let voters decide. It’s akin to lying by omission, and I would consider that to be negative.
    Romney is one of the few candidates with strong conservative credentials in the areas of social, economic, and foreign policy.
    As far as his economic policies, you may be right (I don’t have the first clue). As to his foreign policies, his experience is a businessman and Governor of Massachusetts, neither of which has given him a platform to demonstrate much of anything on foreign policy, conservative or otherwise. As to his social policies, his conservative credentials appear to be recent for the most part. When one compares his statements as Governor (of a largely liberal state) they appear quite different than his statements now. Now I’m the first person to say that a candidate should be able to change his mind, especially when they are willing to say that their past position was wrong (as I believe Mitt has done). I do however question the timing. His recent “conversion” on conservative policy issues appears to have occurred largely around the time of his Presidential bid (which also makes me question you’re statement about Mitt Romney being a man of “integrity”). I’m not saying that he hasn’t genuinely changed his mind, but the timing of that change is bound to cause skepticism. Much like Mike “Here’s a negative ad that I made, but that I’m not going to run because it’s negative” Huckabee.

    January 2, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. JS

    It is important to realise that a Mormon is not a Christian. Romney is not a Christian. Investigate the history of the Mormon church and you will learn what a wacky religion it is!

    January 2, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. Andy

    Why is Romney running these negative campaignes?? It just shows what a dishonest man he is. What would Jesus do?

    January 2, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. David ~ Austin, Texas


    Some questions on your post. First, cronyism means, “Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office.” Since, to my knowledge, John McCain has never appointed anyone to office, why do you accuse him of being “steeped in cronyism from Charles Keating to Ted Kennedy”. The Charles Keating makes some sense, although he was never appointed to any office (and McCain has apologized for his mistakes with Keating), but Ted Kennedy? He’s a Liberal Senator from Massachusetts, how could cronyism ever enter the picture? Second, “an in your face immigration attorney”, what do you mean? And the “20 plus million was 6” doesn’t make any sense.

    January 2, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Karen Houston TX

    Why is it that when Mitt makes a point he is attacking, and when Huckabee attacks he is just making a point? Hmmm?

    January 2, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Ken

    Huckabee's policies while in office a governor were totally liberal. The man avoids every tough question regarding his track record with lamb answers like I stayed at a holiday inn – har har har. He uses religion for his personal gain (is nothing sacred to this man?).

    Mitt Romney is a leader. He does not sit around pandering but rather fights on issue. The best way to point out strengths is to compare differences. Someone pointed out that those comparisons were only part truths. In fact they a full and complete truths. You cannot cover every single detail in a 30 second (or less) TV spot. Mike Huckabee has not been truthful regarding his liberal record and that is a fact.

    Mitt Romney is a great leader who has a clear plan that will turn this country around to solid conservative principles. He brings something new also and that is experience in business. He has the smarts and personality to elevate our position in the world. Our country is in a dire situation morally and economically. Families are breaking down; kids are having kids (continued social digression). Education and Innovation are taking a back set too other nations. Mitt Romney is the only candidate with a real plan to get us back on track and is the only candidate who can win the general election and stop Billary from destroying what remains of our great country.

    My vote is for Mitt!

    January 2, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. Slickwilly

    As a Democrat, I fully support Huckabee's nomination.

    Go Huck, Hilliary will have the Arkansas mafia put your gonads in a lock box.

    January 2, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. Rob

    Unions will ruin this country. Bless Hillary for crossing those pickett lines.

    January 2, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. RB from the bay state


    Mike, If I'm going to be pandering for votes tonight like a $2 hooker turns tricks, I want to have company. Please don't leave me alone with these hicks that I'm trying to impress with my phony, plastic-like features.

    Your friend,

    Weathervane Willard

    January 2, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. alex


    thats the real deal

    January 2, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. Terrence in Atlanta

    The walking soundbite machine has no choice than to rain on Huckabee's parade. It's all those tears he's crying over all that money he's spent for nothing.

    Seriously, I like Mitt Romney. He is better than any of the Democrats and all of the Republicans, except Huckabee.

    Huckabee is a smart conservative who balanced the budget in a predominantly Democrat state, Arkansas. Yes, he rose a couple of taxes, but mostly he cut taxes.

    Huckabee is a communicator who doesn't rely on soundbites to answer every question. He will defend his positions in a way that Bush, and I'm afraid Romney, could not.

    Yes, Huckabee supported one bill that would have allowed the children of illegal aliens who were already in high school to compete for scholarships. It didn't even pass. Huckabee opposed amnesty, opposes sanctuary, opposed the Dream Act, opposes drivers licences for illegal aliens, etc. He's no John McCain.

    In fact, every criticism I hear about Huckabee seems to be blown out of proportion. I'm voting for Huckabee.

    January 2, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. E

    ""JS January 2, 2008 6:45 pm ET

    It is important to realise that a Mormon is not a Christian. Romney is not a Christian. Investigate the history of the Mormon church and you will learn what a wacky religion it is!""

    Hey JS,

    Huckabee believes in the trinity and is not a Christian. If you believe in the trinity, then effectively you believe in the Nicene Creed.

    For those who are not aware:

    Indeed no less a source than the stalwart Harper’s Bible Dictionary records that “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the [New Testament].”3

    Now, an overview of the New Testament history is helpful. In the year a.d. 325 the Roman emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea to address—among other things—the growing issue of God’s alleged “trinity in unity.” What emerged from the heated contentions of churchmen, philosophers, and ecclesiastical dignitaries came to be known (after another 125 years and three more major councils)4 as the Nicene Creed, with later reformulations such as the Athanasian Creed. These various evolutions and iterations of creeds—and others to come over the centuries—declared the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, imminent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible. Such a formulation for divinity is truly incomprehensible.

    With such a confusing definition of God being imposed upon the church, little wonder that a fourth-century monk cried out, “Woe is me! They have taken my God away from me, … and I know not whom to adore or to address.”5 How are we to trust, love, worship, to say nothing of strive to be like, One who is incomprehensible and unknowable? What of Jesus’s prayer to His Father in Heaven that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”?6

    It is self-evident from the scriptures that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings, noting such unequivocal illustrations as the Savior’s great Intercessory Prayer just mentioned, His baptism at the hands of John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen—to name just four.

    With these New Testament sources and more8 ringing in our ears, it may be redundant to ask what Jesus meant when He said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.”9 On another occasion He said, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”10 Of His antagonists He said, “[They have] … seen and hated both me and my Father.”11 And there is, of course, that always deferential subordination to His Father that had Jesus say, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”12 “My father is greater than I.”13

    To whom was Jesus pleading so fervently all those years, including in such anguished cries as “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”14 and “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”?15 To acknowledge the scriptural evidence that otherwise perfectly united members of the Godhead are nevertheless separate and distinct beings is not to be guilty of polytheism; it is, rather, part of the great revelation Jesus came to deliver concerning the nature of divine beings. Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best: “Christ Jesus … being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”16

    3. Paul F. Achtemeier, ed. (1985), 1099; emphasis added.
    4. Constantinople, a.d. 381; Ephesus, a.d. 431; Chalcedon, a.d. 451.
    5. Quoted in Owen Chadwick, Western Asceticism (1958), 235.
    6. John 17:3; emphasis added.
    8. See, for example, John 12:27–30; John 14:26; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:1–3.
    9. John 5:19; see also John 14:10.
    10. John 6:38.
    11. John 15:24.
    12. Matthew 19:17.
    13. John 14:28.
    14. Matthew 26:39.
    15. Matthew 27:46.
    16. Philippians 2:5–6.

    January 2, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. Art, Del Mar, CA

    Mitt is afraid of Mike's national audience tonite, and should be. Mitt cannot ever appear natural and authentic...whereas Mike is at his best as a real person .
    Sorry Mitt, your money is not going to buy this election. Ever notice how the word " Money" is embedded on the name Romney??

    January 2, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. mike barnes

    Is this what Mormons are like?

    I will be the first to say that I don't know about this religion, but the only thing I hear coming out of this man's mouth is negative. I might not understand the religion, but since it was brought up so frequently, and he seemed like a religious man, is this the behavior of mormons – or is this just another multi-millionaire trying to win an election?

    January 2, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois


    January 2, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. donkaphant

    Mitt would have done the same exact thing if he got invited on the show.. Instead he's just whinning to try to weasel votes away from the Huckabee, just like he tried to do with McCain. If you ask me, Huckabee and McCain have more class than Romney.

    January 2, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. George Betros

    You gotta' love these warm and fuzzy hair-splitters who have defended Romney's recent comments concerning Governor Huckabee "taking a page from the Democrat playbook" in his criticism of the Bush administration's foreign policy. The Romney apologists insist that their man was merely insisting that "civility" be restored to public discourse and that the proper respect be shown for the incumbent, especially given all of Dubya's "hard work." Gimme' a break, Mitt. In a poll, I am sure that you would get the same level of agreement for the statement that the Bushies have an arrogant bunker mentality as the statement that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.

    January 2, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. David, Oregon City

    The elite media and republican surrogates are “dancing in the street together” as they slam Huckabee every chance they can. It’s like watching someone who came from the wrong side of the tracks crash an elite social party in a well-to-do side of town.

    Up with Huckabee! Down with the elite republicans and their talk show hosts attacking their own!

    January 2, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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