January 13th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
5 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. John S. Maine

    Reverend Huckabee I thought was was supposed to tell the truth as a Preacher. Then why does he lie when he states that he did not raise taxes in Arkansas. According to leading watch dogs he had the worst fiscal record of any Governor they gave him an " F". The Christian Leader may be a great church going guy, but he is far from honest about his record.

    Never Mind Mike Huckabe pardoned or commuted the sentence of 1033 CONVICTED CRIMINALS.

    Mike Huckabee let 12 convicted Murders go from jail. One of those murders he realesed Wayne Dumond went on to kill a 17 year old girl Carol Su

    January 13, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. John S. Maine

    Mitt Romney is the clear choice for economic revival in Michigan and across our country.

    Mitt Romney did not raise taxes or release any prisoners from jail.

    January 13, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Will

    Are you joking? I can't tell, but John Edwards wouldn't beat anyone, especially Romney. It might be a close one if it was Edwards vs Paul.

    January 13, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Mechelle

    The educated and business savvy know Mitt is the man for this job.

    Go Mitt!

    January 13, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. fred-tn

    This has to be the nicest thing anybody has said about Mike Huckabee so far in this campaign. Obviously, Mitt Romney sees the strength of character that John Edwards demonstrates. Edwards' strategy to reclaim what we had but lost somewhere over the past Clinton-Bush dynasties. A better day is coming.

    January 13, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. Adam Smith

    Huckabee and Edwards are the kind of people America needs to lead us out of our state of corporate fascism. They are real men not just some corporate owned prostitute who spews out meaningless blather designed to fool voters.

    January 13, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. fred-tn

    I agree with DenisL above, Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate that would make a positive difference. Ron Paul represents the best of what the Republican party once stood for. Somehow they seriously got lost along the way.

    The rest of the GOP candidates are one in the same.

    January 13, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. john

    Huckabee certainly knows the difference between a tax and a fee. He's just
    playing semantic games here. Huckabee does this, along with the plain
    speaking folksy bit, to make up for not having a well-developed plan for
    this country's economic growth. If he had the money to hire experts,
    like Mitt Romney does, Huckabee would be a more credible candidate.

    So he tries turning a liability into an asset by painting Mitt as a rich kid
    who makes himself immune from economic hardship. But sounding
    like Huey Long plays better in the South than the North. Besides, the
    unemployed workers in Michigan know Romney too well to fall for
    Huckabee's attempt to turn Mitt into a Rockefeller.

    January 13, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Jake, Brussels, BELGIUM

    I hate to get personal, but I cannot even imagine Huckabee serving in the role of chief diplomat of the U.S. His little catchphrases and jokes, self-depracating or not, would be welcome if they were accompanied by a wealth of substance, but unfortunately, it's all he's got! This sounds harsh, but in that respect, he reminds me of Chavez. Can you imagine pulling off the coy Holiday Inn Express line when he screws up with Putin?

    Or maybe he has done some secret extensive traveling because this populist class warfare is the same crap that has been limiting people's potential here in Europe for decades.

    I think he makes for the perfect Arkansas governor, but it's unfathomable to me that he is only nine delegates behind Romney.

    January 13, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. A. Voter

    Huckabee is channeling the political ideas of John Edwards but he's not as pretty.

    January 13, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Bubbalou

    I was really disappointed in most of the talking heads so willingly misrepresenting the statements that Bill Clinton and Hilary have made regarding Barak Obama's positions and statements. Although I have not made up my mind as to which way to vote, it never occurred to me to suggest that the Clinton's statements could be in any way racist. In addition, I am not sure how anyone could possibly accuse them of any such thing if they took the time to read the statements and heard them in context of the questions and the in context of the entire statement. It is very disheartening to see all the the so called reporters be so shameless. It must be true. They have made up their mind to dislike Hilary Clinton regardless of what she says, what she does or what her positions may be. Too bad. I expected more from the people that purport to inform and educate the public so we can have a more informed voters. Shame on them all!!!

    January 13, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. Paul Thompson

    The only states that AOL's polls show him leading...MA...by very little...MI...by very little and Utah by a landslide....wow...3 states...wow!

    January 13, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Mark, Lansing, MI

    Mitt is right. Him and Thompson are the only real fiscal conservatives in the group. McCain and Huckabee are big government liberals as far as I am concerned.

    Go Mitt Romney in '08! It all starts in Michigan.

    January 13, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. JM

    MITT ROMNEY RAISED CORPORATE TAXES AND FESS BY A HALF A BILLION DURING HIS 4 YEARS IN OFFICE.....GOT IT? Huckabee (who I won't be voting for) raised taxes by the same amount over a 10 year period.

    Romney is a liar/sleaze/flip-flopper and if you vote for him, you don't know what you are doing.

    Mass Taxpayer

    January 13, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. Jake, Brussels, BELGIUM

    Uh, Paul, are you seriously treating that AOL voluntary poll as a scientific measure? This makes sense out of a lot of your other comments. Those polls are heavily skewed by losers like us who spend way too much time on the web as well as the Ron Paul crazyheads. But anything that backs your constant Romneybashing must be right, eh?

    January 13, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. gina

    After listening to the Huckster – I'm voting for Mitt.

    January 13, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. dean

    Mitt and Thompson are the only real fiscal conservitives ??????? You have got to be kidding me. Ron Paul has them both beat by a mile. He is a real fiscal conservative . He has never voted to raise taxes . All of the other have done that numerous times.

    Go read about Ron Paul and you will see he has the right plan to get things started go in the right direction for this country.

    January 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. Jennifer, Houston, TX

    John Edwards...I think I've heard of him. Isn't the the guy who took 2nd place in IA? Who beat Hilary Clinton in IA? The candidate with 18 delegates who has declared that he's still in the race?

    Yeah, I think I've heard of him. I think CNN mentioned him once...

    Watched CNN all day today & didn't hear him mentioned once, though. Guess CNN has decided he's not a viable candidate. Makes sense, after all, it's really up to the media to decide who are nominees should be. Just do away with the primaries & let Anderson & Wolf decide.

    January 13, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. kenshin


    First, Hillary and Obama plagiarize all of Edwards' policies, Then they copy his stump speeches...

    Now, we've got Republicans copying him too!! Tee-hee!

    Do not accept phony imitations! Follow the LEADER! Edwards is the best candidate, hands down! johnedwards.com check out the issues pages!

    January 13, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. Jim in Orlando, FL

    If it ends up Romney against Edwards in the general election, I say we put them somewhere in a strong wind for at least one debate, where no amount of hairspray will keep things in place. Wonder what they really look like?

    January 13, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. Allan Jones

    Romney is right. Indeed Huckabee IS channeling Edwards. He's just copying Edward's populism

    Mike Huckabee = John Edwards

    Is Huckabee really a Republican? Besides his pro life beliefs, this guy is really a Democrat

    January 13, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. Lal

    Romney is paying a big price for his negative ads.

    January 13, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Val Davydov

    CC, you are right on in your comments. Thank you.

    Here are my two cents: Huckabee and Obama are cry babies – they just can't take the heat from tough questions from anyone – every time someone raises their record for instance (the very little of it that Obama has) they get emotional and say it's a negative attack. And what is really sad is that some people fall for their whining. Come on! If either one of them is president (God forbid) – can you imagine them crawling under the desk when Chavez comes up with his "he is a devil" or Ahmadinejad's "he is crazy" comment?

    What will happen to Huckabee if he finishes third in Michigan and South Carolina? Will he stay in the race or will he finally go home? I hope it's the latter.

    January 13, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix, AZ

    Glad to see Pastor Mike is still playing the holier than thou "I don't attack other candidates" part.

    Also glad to see that the liberal media continues to pay no attention when Huck and McAmnesty launch their repeated attacks–INLCUDING PERSONAL ATTACKS–but decry every time Romney puts out any sort of contrast ad. What hypocrisy!

    January 13, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  25. Jason, Bedford MA

    It's Huckabee and McCain who are the hypocrites, not Romney. Those two guys flatly deny they say or do anything 'negative' in regards to other candidates. They're just jealous they haven't raised the funds that Romney has. And to accuse Romney of being rich like there's something wrong with that? Come on, Huckabee, you're a Republican, not a Democrat. Democrats are the ones who scold each other for being rich, not Republicans.

    January 13, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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