(CNN) – An independent group that supports the public display of the Confederate flag is running ads in South Carolina through Saturday’s Republican primary that praise Mike Huckabee for his stand on the issue and attack his main rivals in the state, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
“Gov. Huckabee understands that all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pickup truck is saying is, he’s proud to be a Southerner,” says the announcer in one of the one-minute spots, paid for by Americans for the Preservation of American Culture.
“Mike Huckabee understands we value our heritage, and why. He says it’s up to us to decide how. Sen. McCain may have decided that his ancestors, as he puts it, ‘were on the wrong side of history when they wore gray.’ But in South Carolina, we’re proud to be Southerners.”
The Arizona senator’s stand on the Confederate flag helped derail his 2000 presidential bid in South Carolina, and he has criticized it as a "racist symbol." McCain has said on the trail this week that he is "proud" of South Carolinians for removing the flag from atop the State House.
Another one-minute spot takes aim at Romney. “Waving a Confederate battle flag in front of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney turns out to be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. He charges,” says the announcer, citing Romney’s remarks during the CNN/YouTube debate criticizing public display of the flag.
“Gov. Huckabee’s a Southerner, who understands why Southerners value our heritage. That honoring the flag is part of honoring our heritage. And he says it’s our issue. It should be up to us to decide. We’ve got a message for Mitt Romney: in South Carolina, we’re proud to be Southerners."
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told CNN that “Gov. Romney believes that the issue was settled by the people of South Carolina with the compromise in 2000.”
The one-minute ads will be running on South Carolina conservative talk radio stations in Charleston, Columbia, Florence, and Greenville.
On Thursday, Huckabee told voters at a Myrtle Beach campaign event that “You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell them what to do with the pole.”
The Huckabee campaign has not yet responded to a CNN request for comment.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Memo to the confederates:
You lost....give it up and move on with your lives or should we all be waving the Union Jack.
I am southern and proud. Very proud of that flag. The flag stands for heritage not hatred.
Is Huckabee running for the president of the Confederate?
I thought this is the presidential race of the United States of America.
How can you support something like the Confederate Flag. Get with the times.
He may be a Southerner, but he ain't no Conservative.
Join the Democratic party Huckster, you'll be more at home there.
YadaYadaYada. "We want to hold on to our racial hatred past," Yada Yada Yada.
Let us make an issue out of a non-issue to relieve the damage that "Ol'Pastor Mike" has gotten himself into.
Another reason why Romney will certainly win in the Presidential election.
OK, South Carolina Voters... Mitt Romney needs a strong showing in the Palmetto State and John McCain needs to lose. Mike Huckabee will burn out all-by-himself. Sorry Fred-heads, not gonna happen. Giuliani's hurting too.
I emplore McCain, Huckabee, Thompson and Giuliani voters to join Team Romney and leave RINO politics in the dust. In November, Mitt Romney can beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama on both themes, "experience and change," not to mention family values and financial strength.
McCain was right on the surge in Iraq and earned his Vietnam War hero status, but that's simply not enough with the challenges Americans face economically. Breaking news; a Mrs. Smiths factory is closing in Spartanburg, SC and 525 people are out of work.
McCain is flat wrong, wrong, wrong on tax cuts, illegal immigration, campaign finance reform, and nearly every other issue conservatives care about. If you're squishy on McCain and Huckabee, or tired of losing with Thompson or Giuliani, please vote for Mitt Romney.
We need a real republican on the ballot this fall. We are still electing a conservative, aren't we? Vote Mitt Romney, America needs him, yesterday.
This is probably the only issue that I agree with Huck on, even though it's a fluff-issue meant to pander to rednecks. Keep your flag...freedom of speech.
It's always amazed me that so many southerners vote GOP because of social issues, yet very few such issues are ever touched by a president once he's in office.
You would think that demographic would be more interested in voting their paycheck, in which case the GOP is a big turn-off to working class as Republicans tend to give big tax breaks to the super-rich and corporations while the rest of us struggle. Maybe they actually believe that by making the rich richer it helps the rest of us out (still waiting for that to happen.)
I doubt it though...my guess is the God talk, pro-guns and pro-stars and bars. Good job, southern voters!
wow. it's strange how huckabee has such a problem with gay people, but would willingly sodomize someone with a flagpole if they threatened to touch his precious flag... that's pretty scary.
Huckabee is starting to make me sick. He is running only on religion and that is stupid but then to make idiotic comments like this and the one about gay marriage. Just shut up and talk policy for the nation. Economy, Iraq, school, heath care, immigration, heck even guns would be ok since you are a repub.
haha, yeah huckabee, fuel the fire that hates you!!!
McCain your out come Super tuesday, you cant even get conservatives to rally around you, what a liberal.
I'm shoked Huckabee made a statement about the flag and what to do with the pole! What could he be talking about, especially with his views on marriage, does he have a sick mind?
the media needs to start calling the flag what it truly is, the Treason Flag. It represents treasonous actions against THE United States of America. Why anyone would glorify or proudly display the Treason flag is incomprehensible. Say it with me “THE TREASON FLAG...THE TREASON FLAG”.
Though I doubt this represents a majority of those in South Carolina, if this is a major factor in who the people in South Carolina choose as a presidential candidate than I'd say the state needs to be moved back to Super Tuesday or later and not be an early influential primary state.
I can't believe this is even an actual subject.
It is beyond discouraging to hear these "candidates" (I use the term loosely) debate trivial issues while the war in Iraq continues, our economy continues to spin out of control, health insurance become unaffordable or goes away entirely, terrorism remains a global concern, etc., etc. The candidate who spends the bulk of his/her time talking about important problems and ignoring trivia will get my vote.
Wow, the Republicans hate each other.
The confederate flag and the nazi flag mean the SAME THING!
So let me get this straight. The Confederate flag, a symbol of treason, is part of your heritage, so you should get to honor it. On top of that, people who love the flag love America...but wait you love the fact that you caused a war that killed the largest number of Americans in the history of the country? Which is it, either love America or honor that flag. You can't have it both ways, because that flag is a traitor's flag. It would have been better if all the traitors in the Civil War were treated according to how the law demanded.
I suppose Southern California is now officially truly the south. I have seen young men drive primer painted pick-up trucks with LARGE confederate flags screaming to the top of their lungs (unintelligible) driving at high speeds through red lights in small cities in Southern CA. So its not only what is described as the south which displays this type of honor, its in North America...!
How is the Confederate flag "heritage?" It was the battle flag for a COUPLE YEARS. It's a symbol of racism. You don't see Germans defending the swastika as part of their "heritage."
The Confederate flag is a racist symbol that is equivalent to and used by Neo Nazis. Anyone who endorses it use supports racism. Yes the first amendment allows for it but to support it is racist. I am not a Romney fan but to say condemning this flag makes a candidate out of step with the south and it's heritage, well I for one would support being out of step.
Jeez! What is wrong with these people? Our country is facing huge hurdles and they are still fighting over the Confederate Flag? Our country is falling apart, our military is broken, or schools are failing, our economy tanking and they are still going on about this? Very sad indeed.
I thought Mike Huckabee was a Baptist preacher. As a christian, I find his comment about what to do with the flag pole offensive, and very un-preidential like, not to mention the christian end. This man has made inaccurate statements about his education , and now he would have me believe that he is not behind, and has no knowledge of the push polling going on in South Carolina. I sincerely hope that the good people of South Carolina, can see through this facade to the real man, and that they will seriously considder voting for the true conservative in the race, Fred Thompson.
I would agree with Missourian!