Romney and wife Ann campaign in Iowa (Photo Credit: AP)
“I’m not sure if Mr. Huckabee meant the attack as a joke, but this is not the time to be mocking our president,” Romney said at an event in Johnston, Iowa, according to the conservative Web site Townhall.com.
Huckabee's comments came in an interview with Iowa's Quad City Times, in which a reporter asked him why, last month, he was at first unaware of a National Intelligence Estimate detailing the threat posed by Iran, despite the fact the report had been made public for several hours.
"That was released at 10 o’clock in the morning," Huckabee said. "At 5:30 in the afternoon, somebody says, ‘Have you read the report?’ Maybe I should’ve said, ‘Have you read the report?’ President Bush didn’t read it for four years; I don’t know why I should read it in four hours.”
Romney said Tuesday the comments were in 'bad taste," and lifted from the "Democratic playbook."
“It was in bad taste and I think we should recognize the great work our president is doing and not take our rhetoric or plays from the Democratic playbook," he said. "This is the kind of stuff you’d expect of the Democrats, but is certainly not something you’d expect of a presidential contender on the Republican side.”
Romney, who most polls show is locked in a dead heat with Huckabee in Iowa, has taken aim at his chief rival before for criticizing the president. Following the publication of a Foreign Affairs article in which Huckabee labeled portions of Bush's foreign policy 'arrogant,' Romney suggested Huckabee is "running in the wrong party."
"I had to look again," the former Massachusetts governor said then. "Did this come from Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? Did it come from John Edwards? No, it was one of our own, it was Governor Huckabee."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney