December 11th, 2007
10:18 AM ET
13 years ago

Huckabee rivals go on the attack

Romney is launching a new ad in Iowa attacking Huckabee's immigration stances.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee found himself under fire from rival Republicans Monday, in the wake of a weekend of new polls that showed the former Arkansas governor surging in early primary states.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign kept up a steady stream of attack, criticizing Huckabee for everything from past support for ending the Cuban embargo to allegedly allowing state hard drives and servers to be destroyed while he was governor.

And CNN’s John King reports that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign announced that it plans to run a television ad in Iowa that targets Huckabee’s record on illegal immigration. The spot, which attacks him by name, hits the airwaves Tuesday.

“The Record” compares the candidates’ conservative stands on social issues, but draws a sharp contrast on their track records on immigration policy: “Mitt Romney stood up, and vetoed in-state tuition for illegal aliens…opposed driver’s licenses for illegals,” says the announcer. “Mike Huckabee? Supported in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants. Huckabee even supported taxpayer-funded scholarships for illegal aliens.

“On immigration, the choice matters.”

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said the ad was intended to highlight the difference between the former Massachusetts governor’s “pro-enforcement record” – under assault after recent revelations that he employed illegal immigrants on his property – and Huckabee’s somewhat softer stance in the past.

Surveys have found that illegal immigration consistently ranks as one of the most important issues among likely Republican voters in Iowa.

The new ad follows a Huckabee spot running in Iowa in which he highlights his new get-tough plan on illegal immigration. In "Secure Our Borders," Huckabee calls for "no amnesty" and says, "It ought to be at least as difficult to get across an international border as it is to get on an airplane in our own hometown."

–CNN's John King, Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Chris, Wilmington, NC

    ok, so Elsa my be more ignorant than Charles. wait, she is. she can't spell (John Smith??? what?). Lady, if you say you are a Christian then how can you even say anything about another faith "falling for anything". have you read a Bible lately to see the things that defy reason in it yet millions believe.

    December 11, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    "Everyone knows the best way to win an election is to get tough on brown people!"

    Posted By Jimmy P., Paris, TX : December 11, 2007 11:46 am

    That has been the favored route for Republican candidates ever since Nixon's "Southern Strategy" began to kick in. Nixon learned from George Wallace's unexpected strong appeal that you not only win the south but also get many angry white losers from the north to vote against their economic interest if you can blind them with hate (black, brown, gay – hate something).

    Romney started this thinking he could buy this election. He has been completely reptilian about it, and will stop at nothing. He has the money and will make up whatever "stance" on the issues he needs for whatever audience he happens to be in front of. Romney is scary.

    Of all the republicans in the race, Huckabee might be the most decent human being, although in that snake's nest, that's not saying much.

    December 11, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. David, Boise, Idaho

    Charles Windom,

    What do you mean Romney is attacking your religion? Didn't you hear his speach? He enjoys a pluralistic religious society and the only one attacking another religion is you.

    P.S.- I'm a moderate Republican that will never vote for Huckabee even though he's the first one I'd invite over for dinner.

    December 11, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Davis, Jacksonville, FL

    umm, Tom you ridiculed the GOP linup but do you really thing the Dem crowd is any better. because if you do you are fooled big time by the puppet show. these people are bought and paid for by the same international bankers and corporations. we can either head toward the cliff at 45 mph or 70 mph. either way that's where they are taking us.

    December 11, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Josh, OH

    I hope that Huckabee stands out even more by NOT participating in these ridiculous negative political ads.
    Can Huckabee beat the Dems? He has before.

    December 11, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. AJ, IL

    Huckabee has confidence that is leading or at least tied with the GOP frontrunners. The more Romney attacks Huckabee (and Huckabee responds softly), the more Romney will hurt his own campaign. The evangelical christians will not like a Mormon attacking a Christian who has a checkered past regarding immigration.

    December 11, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Bob, New York

    I agree completely.

    December 11, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Glen, Grand Coulee, WA

    One positive thing about attack ads is that they will inform you of actions the candidate might not be wanting to inform you about. They (the candidates) only tell you what they think you want to hear (their positives) not their negatives. Do any of you have the time to dig into the candidates backgrounds and retrieve their votes or decisions on issues that are relevant – NO, and you certainly can't rely on the newsmedia to do it in an unbiased way. The candidates history on issues shows where they are likely to go on future issues. Yes, they can change their minds on certain issues when all the facts become known and nothing is wrong with that. People are supposed to use their minds to make informed decisions – not, "I can never change my mind based on new information". I was impressed by Huckabee in the debate – had not paid much attention to him before that. One thing for sure, ABC, Anbody But Clinton!!

    December 11, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Elsa Weiner, Denver

    you all ignore the issue. Was Joseph Smith not a convicted con-artist? Did he not claim to use magical items to do witchcraft?...items that no one else EVER SAW. Jesus is real. Many people witnessed his glory and miracles and the Bible is pure and true.

    December 11, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Jeremy Middletown, DE

    Romney using attack adds is nothing surprising. I think that the Republicans should listen to Reagan's 11th commandment and let the Democrats do their negative attacks and keep the discussion on what the people want.

    I have to agree with the Ron Paul supporters in that he represents the people. My only issue with Mr. Paul is his stance on Iraq. I understand that it was a mistake to go in, and as a Christian I orignally supported to plan to prosecute Hussein and Osama outlined in Jim Wallis's book God's Politics. But, now that we are in Iraq we need to have some responsibilty and uphold our reputation, honor, and duty to the people we have wronged. Pulling out 100% would be a mistake, and Mr. Paul can not ignore the imminent attack on U.S. soil if we were to let Iraq and Afghanistan become the breeding grounds for terrorists they once were. Recent reports so improvement, and though it may not be a 100% turn around, progress is progress and we need to give it a chance.

    Huckabee seems like a very nice guy, but with his mixed record I would probably not like to have him as president. I absolutely love the FairTax, which as Huckabee has said would help our economy extensively. It would stop punishing people for making money, it would stop takes on those in poverty, it would bring trillions of dollars in capital gains back to the U.S. form overseas and it makes things fair for everyone.

    December 11, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Eva Noy, Columbus OH

    I think Mitt is very handsome and would make a better leader.

    December 11, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Mike, NY

    I would not want to live in Huckabee's America. Every day since his "surge" in the polls, something new has come out to embarrass him, and for good reason. The man has horrible judgment, taxes like crazy, seems to always be behind on the issues (whether it was AIDS in the 90s or the NIE report last week), and wants to force his own beliefs upon the whole world. I thought liberals were bad when it came to "tolerating" smokers, for instance, but Huckabee seems far worse.

    December 11, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. You gotta be kidding!, Fort Myers, FL

    I can't believe either of these men could be considered as the best choice! They are constantly straddling the line between being conservative or moderate, depending on which group they're speaking to. Both are trying to be as generic as possible. Both are praying looks and personality will purvail. Both have agendas on their web-sites that are pretty scary and half-baked related to: handling working illegal immigrants and their families, improving affordability/access to adequate healthcare, management of terrorists and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan...and I could go on. Both are fiscally conservative in rhetoric–but are not discussing any action plans to reduce our burgeoning deficit. Both are hyping how good the economy is–yet neither is addressing the millions of job losses, the fact that "part-time" or "flex-time" employment are the bulk of "new jobs" being created in our country. Neither are discussing any plans to stem the rampant departure of blue and white collar jobs to other nations. I'm not satisfied with what I've seen.

    December 11, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Beckster

    The more they attack, the higher his numbers go. Go figure?

    December 11, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. I. Dern, Farifax, VA

    "Moneybags" Romney shows his true colors.

    December 11, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. SyF the Giver, Chicago IL

    Looks like Romney is going to get a roundhouse kick to the face soon.

    Gogo Chuckabee.

    December 11, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Chris, Wilmington, NC

    Again Elsa, you are ignorant. there is no issue as Smith was never convicted of any such thing. witchcraft? you are probably a closer practitioner of this than he was. no one else saw? there are witnessess to these items that you talk about. look it up. where did you dig that up? he was hounded by bigoted, narrow minded people that you may know something about.

    December 11, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Raman, Plano TX

    When he was governor, Huckabee held the following positions on illegal immigration:

    1. He supported higher education benefits for children of illegal immigrants
    Mike Huckabee's compassion to support illegal immigrant's US born child is commendable.
    However Mike Huckabee went beyond and supported providing benefits to illegal immigrant's kids not born in US.
    Considering there are millions of homeless veterans in US, it is unthinkable that Mike Huckabee chose to spend dollars on illegal immigrant's kids not born in US.

    2. Opposed a federal roundup of illegals from his state in 2005
    There is a US immigration law that an alien who does not possess valid I-94 or valid resident status has to leave US within 90 days.
    It seems Mike Huckabee was not aware of this fact.

    3. Opposed a 2001 bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote in the state
    In this case Mike Huckabee can be considered to be on the wrong side of of law itself, i.e. he can be considered to use illegal means to promote his agenda.

    4. In 2001, a member of his administration pushed for legislation to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

    Even though Mike Huckabee may have good intentions, but his record shows that he has all along towed illegal means to pursue his goals.

    Is republican voter willing to tow a leader's line, who is not only leading people down the illegal path, but due to his conscious actions, depriving US citizens and lawful residents of ways and means to support their families (given the fact that US economy is predicted to grow at an anemic pace of 2% to 2.5% in foreseeable future – thanks to President George Bush's economic policies)?

    December 11, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Reality Check

    Elsa and Charles:

    If you are going to devote so much time to posting hateful, mean, bigoted and ignorant posts about the LDS church, you might do yourself well to spend a few hours and enlighten yourself.

    BTW Elsa – do yourself a favor and read the first few pages of the Book of Mormon. There were more than ONE person that saw the Gold Plates and the translation device. Also note, that these three witnesses later fell away from the church, yet they NEVER recanted their testimony as to the existance of the Gold Plates.

    You both remind me of the Islamic extreemists – you hate for no good cause. You hate because of freedoms extended to others. You hate because of others religious choice.

    December 11, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. Larry, Columbus OH

    Hey 'Reality Check'

    heard the term "glass looker"? How about planey Kolob? That's where spirts live right? There is nothing "real" in your big phoney churh and nothing real in your big phoney candidate.

    HIstorical EVIDENCE (court documents) shows Joseph Smith was a con-artist. Deal with it

    December 11, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    Make no mistake about it and let the truth be known. The vast majority of Evangelicals disdain Mormons. They are lying if they tell you they don't.
    The crux of this whole Huckabee push is about finding "one of theirs", as the "Christian" candidate. It gets no simpler than this. If a Mormon got in the White House, all Evangelicals would, in vernacular terms, go ballistic, because it would validate Mormons in America.
    Sadly and pathetically, the more Evangelicals bash Mormons, the more they delegitimize themselves to the rest of honorable Americans of all faiths. Romney has always been positive and willing to be friends with Evangelicals, but they just freak-out and won't reciprocate.
    I'm sure that even James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention will become even more embarrassed by this entire scenario, as time goes on. The anti-Mormon segment of their flock could affect the outcome of this election, from the bypassing of a very talented man, in the name of Mitt Romney. He could possibly pull the USA out of a possible economic crisis in the near future. HOW SAD!!!!

    December 11, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. ih2005

    Mitt, Mitt, full of cash.
    Will you let me keep my stash?
    Savings, Yes, but paychecks, No!
    Just another politico.
    Hope for tax reform, I see,
    Will be voting HUCKABEE!

    December 12, 2007 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  23. Jeremy, Middletown, DE

    "Considering there are millions of homeless veterans in US, it is unthinkable that Mike Huckabee chose to spend dollars on illegal immigrant's kids not born in US."

    Really, there are millions? I don't know where you get your numbers, but I think you might what to do some research and realize that accepted values are ~200,000. Now this is still a major problem, but get your facts straight, this kind of exaggeration and nonsense are distracting people from the real issues.

    Everyone bashing on Huckabee is saying talking about all these new indiscretions showing up, well they have shown up for every other canidate. We just forget about them because they aren't new and upcoming in the polls. All the canidates have their flaws, we need to pick the best candidate who stands for conservative values and policy that will take this country in the right direction. The most conservative on the issues are Hunter, (excluding flip-flops) Romney, Huckabee, and then their is Paul.

    Whether you like any of these or not, any of them is better than a democrat. We don't want our country to end up going into the socialist wastebin.

    December 12, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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