(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused rival Mike Huckabee of “channeling John Edwards” in his economic stump speech as the two men tangled over taxes again Sunday.
“This kind of divisive, populist approach is like he's channeling John Edwards. It is not working for [Democratic candidate] John Edwards. It's not going to work for Mike Huckabee,” Romney told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Late Edition. “He said he’s cut taxes. How disingenuous can that be?”
The former Massachusetts governor was reacting to a Huckabee campaign ad running in Romney’s home state of Michigan in which the former Arkansas governor says, “I believe most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off” – what some have interpreted as a veiled jab at Romney, a former businessman.
Huckabee defended his fiscal record, and fired back at Romney. “I hate to say ‘poor Mitt,’ because a man with that much wealth is hardly ‘poor anything,’” Huckabee told Blitzer in a later interview Sunday.
“But you know, it's almost sad to watch him make these kinds of claims. He raised over half a billion dollars of fees in his own state,” he said. He also repeated claims that Romney had attacked Ronald Reagan.
Shortly after Huckabee’s CNN appearance, Romney’s campaign sent reporters another release criticizing his Arkansas record on taxes and government spending.
Romney and Huckabee have waged an increasingly brutal war of words since the closing days of the Iowa campaign. Two new polls show Romney in first place and Huckabee in third in Michigan’s Tuesday primary.
- CNN's Peter Lanier