January 13th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney: Huckabee is 'channeling John Edwards'

(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


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Paul Thompson

    Mitt is a bad leader...he's showing it by crying about his opponents.
    "Channeling Edwards"...what class did I miss Mitt?

    January 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. case

    it sure is double talk when Hillary state she has 35 years of experience
    when last week she stated that she just has found her voice
    here is a possble question for the next debate
    What is your feeling on the top issue
    and how will you resolve it ?

    January 13, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. chicken

    rommney needs to stop randomly atacking other canadites.............oh yeh....vote huckabee

    January 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. kate

    Indeed?
    Class warfare DOES exist in this country and it is being waged from the Top down!
    Middle class standard of living has been in free fall for DECADES now!
    In REAL MONEY this generation gets less than the previous one and the NEW DEAL is being dismantled by people like Romney.
    He's an empty suit and deserves the Whupping he's getting dispite all his big money corporate $$$!
    HA!
    I'll take Edwards 1st Huckabee 2nd and I'm a life long DEMOCRAT!

    January 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Eric, California

    John Edwards would beat Mitt Romney, hands down.

    January 13, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Patty D.

    Who believes anything Romney says? He gives flip-flopping a whole new meaning.

    January 13, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Gobama

    Makabee is taking a beating from all sides; but I do like his cute and cutting retorts. LOL

    WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? lol

    Isn't it fun to see these two christians competing to see who can degrade the other most?

    What would these 'nice' christians do to non-christians? LOL

    Put either of these 'nice' christians in the White House, Americans, and we have another destroyer to replace the present christian crusader in the White House.

    January 13, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Eric, California

    John Edwards should attack Mitt Romney, and make him look like the fool he is.

    January 13, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Mario

    Hickupbee, you are a liar, you are afool, you say that you don't want to have religion in your running effort, yet you try to get the evangilical vote. You accuse Romney playing that card, then we see it's you that do it. You raised your state's taxes 500 million dollars. Mitt Romney asked you point blank if you did that...you didn't aswer the question when he asked you the question 3 times, your answer was it was court order...who is running your old state, you or a judge, you just keep lying.

    You can't keep up with Mitt Romney, that has been proven already. You lie, your own party doesn't even want you running under the republican party, yet you try to pass yourself off as a conservative when you are a populist, everyone know it too.

    Get out when you can before you eat more crow you hillbilly!

    Go Mitt!

    January 13, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. Mario

    Eric, Mitt would destroy your lover Edwards!

    Go Mitt!

    January 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. whatsitToyou

    What fun!

    January 13, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. DenisL

    We each seem to have our own major issue(s) that make their choice for President seem like the best one. My question is: Would someone tell me why we should NOT elect Ron Paul?

    The rest, with Richardson out and Kucinich low in the polls, seem to be talking crazy talk about our military adventures in the Middle East. Additionally, no one else seems to understand the problems with the economy, inflation, and out of control deficit spending. Inflation is going to eat us alive, as it has already started to do so. Do you really believe that the REAL inflation rate last year, the rate that was used by the government for Social Security check increases this month, was 2.3%? Just look at the price of gold up 30% in 2007, now at an all time high and getting higher!

    One can not talk about tax cuts without ALSO talking about cutting spending. We have a $9 trillion debt (double since 2000) that must be paid so we can afford Social Security and Medicare. The interest payments will go sky high when we begin to fight inflation with higher Federal Reserve bank rates.

    And we must stop inflation or everyone's life savings will go down the tubes, along with the middle class, like what has happened to the middle class in most countries south of our border. And do not forget National Health Insurance, which is coming down the tracks right at us, unless Republicans begin to understand the seriousness of runaway deficits and inflation. And start educating the country. A Democratic President will surely not fight inflation like Volcker and Reagan did!

    Please vote Ron Paul and save the country from bankruptcy abroad and at home!

    January 13, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Black people are cool.

    Gobama is awesome!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Chris Bez

    Gobama... you're completely off track with your comments!

    For all the supposed appeal Huckabee should have to middle America, I have to say that he's just not cutting the mustard at the moment and seems rather less than convincing on a couple of issues.

    Me thinks mr. Romney is heading to a win in Michigan and a close 2nd in South Carolina... and he's sitting quite pretty for super Tuesday...

    January 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. David Estabrooks

    Restoring the Middle Class, Prosperity and Quality Jobs in the United States

    You must have a viable strategy that will be inherently financially supported and carried forward by the "invisible hand of economic globalization".
    The US is declining as the global economic leader, only because the Fed Gov does not have a viable strategy. The US became the Economic Leader of the World only by the supported hard work of technically creative individuals, engineers and scientists, inventors, who led the world in INNOVATION (Greenspan has listed INNOVATION as the missing ingredient in the current US strategy, that previously was in place, and the Intellectual Property and Patents, built this country to be the world leader).
    As a graduate engineer and small entity inventor, I have started ventures and provided quality jobs, however, the large entities, like the old “robber barons” have managed to rob me of my money and Intellectual Property. I need to retrieve my Intellectual Property to benefit US quality jobs.

    The current laws, gov, large entities, venture capitalists, and powers of influence, consider what actually built this US, now equals high risk, and strongly discourage and make unpopular, any financial support for qualified individual technologists, inventors, scientists, and engineers. Studies at MIT have proven that these qualified individuals working independently have, always created the most significant inventions and new manufacturing with quality jobs.

    Restoring the Middle Class, prosperity and quality jobs in the US will only happen when you create Support Programs and restore tax shelters for financial support for individual qualified engineers, technologists, inventors, and start-ups. In this way, the current 80% employment that is provided by small entities would generate a wealthy middle class, instead of a group of “hamburger flippers”. This will also solve the problem of math and science leadership of young people, and encourage the neglected 40% of high IQ students to pursue math and science.

    David A. Estabrooks, ScM

    estabrooksdavid@yahoo.com
    617-240-2968

    January 13, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. robert, pasadena, ca

    It is plain even in the writing that Huckabee has a hard time controlling his emotions. He insists that everyone else is running a negative campaign when they go against him, but he is the one throwing around personal insults and dodging questions. Mr. Huckabee, how is someone questioning your public record a negative thing? He must have a lot to be ashamed of to be acting the way he is.

    January 13, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. ike

    I will tell you why not to vote for Ron Paul. He is an isolationist. I understand that in George Washington's farewell address he urged the US to stay out of forgien affairs. Well that was before the telephone. It is compltely impossible. Bill Clinton did a wonderful job of teaching us why not to vote for Paul. Clinton cut intelligence spending by 70%. No wonder we didn't know about 9/11 plans. No wonder we didn't know about MWD's. He cut the military, which is crippling us in the current war. Ron Paul has great ideas, I will give you that. He just isn't prectical on foreign issues. Any questions?

    January 13, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  18. Caroline Boston MA

    Mitt Romney = The most desperate candidate and person. He needs help. He cannot accept defeat. Stop attacking McCain and Huckabee Mitt and accept it that nobody wants you as the next President !! In 2008 you will need to find a new project. ******* PLEASE NOTE : MITT ROMNEY'S MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH CARE PLAN CAUSED MASSACHUSETTS A $100 MILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT !!!!!

    January 13, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. ike

    Now a response to Huckabee in the article. If anyone missed the Fox News Debate in New Hamshire the question of fees came up. Romney actually answered the question, which is something I have never seen Huckabee do. He did not hide anything. Huckabee said that Romney raised fees half a billion dollors. Romney said the would give Huckabee the numbers if he wanted to actually use facts. The fees were raised 240 million dollors and there was no shame in Romney's response. He was very candid about it and said he did so because fees hadn't been raised in decades and needed to be brought up to current costs. Huckabee wouldn't admit to raising taxes but his record is quite clear that he raised them 800 million dollors and lowered them 300 million dollors giving him a net of plus 500 million dollors. In the next debate he said he didn't raise taxes but raised hope. And that he raised taxes for the children. Huckabeen has yet to come clean on his record and still makes up stuff about Mitt that has been refuted to his face and he still can't get it straight. As for a president that is "like the guy you work with" comment, are you serious? Who wants that? I mean the guy I work next to isn't any smarter than me and I don't know how to run the free world. Obviously neither does Huckabee.

    January 13, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. CC

    Hopefully the American public will begin to see that Gov. Romney is litterally hated by all the other GOP runners because he represents a serious threat to each one of them. Unfortunately, politics is a dirty game and there are many groups that will push this or that candidate to protect their own interests. Mr. Huckabeeis definitely being pushed by those who embrace his more liberal views – esepcially his tax policies.
    He continues to accuse Romney of being the "lay-off" employer. But wouldn't he love to have the same amount of wealth Romney has? And by the way, why are we criticizing someone because he has made a fortune for himself and his family? Isn't this what the American dream is all about? Getting an education, excelling, even making a fortune but then using all these tools to do something good for one's country? Even running for president?
    ANother point: whoever will be our next president will have to meet and interact other political leaders from nations around the world. Do we really want to send someone like Huckabee?

    Finally regarding the fees raised in MA while Romney was in office: most of them are very specific fees that target very specific groups-that can definitely afford to pay them, like fees to transport hazardous waste, or fees for buying a SUV. It seems only fair that if MA did not want their taxes raised, another way had to be found to get to the state the money needed to cover all its expenses. Fees are ok if targeted at groups that will not really be hurt by them.

    January 13, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Craig

    Romney already turned Huckabee's lights off regarding his fiscal record in in the 12th GOP debate. Every exploration brought forth regarding Huckabee's fiscal record has proven that he does not qualify as a conservative. The only entity that says otherwise seems to be Huckabee. In this report Huckabee has now spun around to emphasize fee increases in Romney's fiscal record. Fees and taxes operate in a different manner. It is unfortunate that he decieves people on the campaign trail claiming to be a fiscal conservative. This article is a testament that Huckabee will squeal and spin to the bitter end.

    January 13, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Juan Carlos(Vegas)

    God save us all from Romney.

    January 13, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. Brigham

    Mormons are not Christians.

    January 13, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. jane

    Ike- you make good sense!

    Go Mitt!!!!

    January 13, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Gundy

    Huckabee is a populist lamo that tries to play the religion card and is way bad at it!

    January 13, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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