December 15th, 2007
04:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Romney: Huckabee acts like a Dem, but we're 'great friends'

Romney is getting tough on Huckabee.

HUMBOLDT, Iowa (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney accused opponent Mike Huckabee Saturday of sounding like a Democrat when he criticized the Bush administration and its handling of the war in Iraq.

"I had to look again," the former Massachusetts governor said, referring to Huckabee's words in the January/February issue of 'Foreign Affairs.'

"Did this come from Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? Did it come from John Edwards?"

"No, it was one of our own," Romney continued. "It was Governor Huckabee."

Romney was referring to an article written by Huckabee titled "America's Priorities in the War on Terror."

In the second paragraph, Huckabee writes, "American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad."

"I cant believe he'd say that," Romney said. "I'm afraid he's running from the wrong party. The truth of the matter is this president has kept us safe these last six years."

While admitting the war has not gone "perfectly," Romney defended the president for a number of things that have gone well, including the collapse of Saddam Hussein. He went as far as thanking Bush for the Patriot Act and for making sure that when "Al Qaeda was calling someone was listening."

Romney also noted that the current surge of U.S. troops in Iraq is working.

Pressed by reporters after the event, Romney would not say whether or not he believes the war, on the whole, was managed well.

"There were a number of errors made," Romney said. "But its very different to point out that there are errors and mistakes than to say the Bush administration should be accused of an arrogant bunker mentality."

Just minutes after Romney's initial criticisms of his GOP rival, he told a questioner wanting to know more about the differences between him and Huckabee that the two men were "great friends."

UPDATE: Responding to Romney's attacks, Huckabee said, "I am disappointed by Governor Romney’s attempt to label me as a 'Democrat' because of my tough approach to foreign policy."

"Perhaps he should read the article in its entirety before making such ill-informed comments."

In a statement, a Huckabee spokeswoman called Romney's support of the current troop surge an example of flip-flopping, adding that earlier this year Romney "endorsed setting 'timetables and milestones' for Iraq policy."

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Phil Memphis, TN

    Hey RealityCheck. You said "you really need to educate yourself about the electoral process. Here is a brief summary: the GOP nominates a republican and a democrat..." Huh? I think I know what you meant, but you need a proofreader, so leave Elizabeth alone. 😉 She is right. we need less pandering to the party fringes and more common sense platforms that address the majority of Americans.

    December 16, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. C. A. Atherton

    Fact: If Romney were actually as genuine as he likes to believe he is, he would have insisted on such an apology from Cong. Paul a long time ago. One sign of a good candidate is that they're fair across the board. This is grossly unfair. In light of the fact that, just days ago, Huckabee publicly apologized to Romney for comments of his (Huckabee's) that were taken completely out of context and seen as hurtful to Romney, it's even more unfair. Call Huckabee a liberal if you like, but at least he is decent and just.

    December 16, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Eric

    Is it true that Mitt Romney will be buying Clear Channel, a company who ry runs programming for most of the radio stations in the USA. That would be like Hillary buying NBC and then expecting objective news about her to be reported.... wouldnt that be dangerous for democracy?

    December 16, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    jw, canadian,ok:

    America is a free country – you are entitled to your own beliefs that the earth is billions of years old and that human beings were monkeys ages and ages ago. Contrary to your beliefs, I and billions of other people around the world prefer to believe earth was created by the divine force – God. Quit making your silly posts, you sound like a fool repeating yourself over and over again.

    December 16, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Matt A., Marietta, GA.

    If Romney's idea of a good president is Bush, then I don't want to see how bad Romney is going to turn out to be.

    December 17, 2007 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  6. Rose Hann New London, CT

    As a Democrat I am happy that Romney shows how rediculous his comments are. A Democrat is a progressive party and if his Huckabee rival behaves as a progressive, good for him. Romney is desparate and is doing more harm talking about his rival and will lose his chance.

    December 17, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. r. Johnson, ames, Iowa

    AMEN: After reading, please tell me if Huckabee is not running from the wrong party:

    "As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee dramatically increased state spending. During his two-term tenure, spending increased by more than 65 percent — at three times the rate of inflation.

    The number of government workers increased by 20 percent, and the state’s debt services increased by nearly $1 billion. Huckabee financed his spending binge with higher taxes. Under his leadership, the average Arkansan’s tax burden increased 47 percent, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, including increases in the state’s gas, sales, income, and cigarette taxes. He raised taxes on everything from groceries to nursing home beds.

    Huckabee answers these complaints by pointing out that he "cut taxes 94 times" while governor. True. But most of those tax cuts were tiny, like exempting residential lawn care from the sales tax. Some cuts reduced overall state revenues by as little as $15,000. On net, Huckabee increased state taxes by more than $500 million. In fact, Huckabee increased taxes in the state by more than Bill Clinton did.

    On its annual governor’s report card, Cato Institute gave Huckabee an "F" for fiscal policy during his final term, and an overall two-term grade of "D." Only four governors had worse scores, and 15 Democratic governors got higher grades, including well-known liberals like Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania.

    But Huckabee doesn’t just embrace big government in the form of big taxes. He truly appears to believe that if something is a good idea it should be a federal government program.

    For example, having become health conscious while losing more than 120 pounds, he now calls for a national smoking ban. Because he believes that "art and music are as important as math and science" in public schools, he wants these programs funded — and thus, directed and administered — federally.

    Huckabee is, incidentally, the only Republican candidate for president who opposes school choice.

    He is the only Republican candidate who opposes President Bush’s veto of the Democrats’ proposed expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and he is skeptical of most conservative proposals for entitlement reform.

    Calling himself "a different kind of Republican," Huckabee rails against high corporate profits and attacks free trade agreements. As governor, he raised the minimum wage and increased business regulation. He says it is "a biblical duty" to pass more regulation to fight global warming.

    Perhaps Huckabee’s only claim on conservative credentials is that as a former Baptist minister, he is more anti-abortion and anti-gay than the other candidates. In many ways, he has been running an overtly religion-based campaign. But even here, his preference is to increase and centralize federal government power.

    On election night in 2006, 55 percent of voters leaving the polls said they believed the Republican Party had become the party of big government. Mike Huckabee is doing his best to convert the other 45."

    Posted By Val Davydov, Agawam, MA : December 15, 2007 10:43 pm

    December 17, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Craig H, Mpls, MN

    The belief that the earth is less than 10,000 years old is based on the misinterpretaion of the Bible's creation story as a literal explaination of the origin of all things in the universe. The ideas of evolution and a 15 billion year old universe are based on the same rigorous scientific methods of thought and reason that made the computer you are using right now. The Bible is a book of wisdom, not a book of science.

    December 17, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. shannon, Charlottesville, VA

    if opposing war has become a democratic value, then i've never been more proud to be a democrat. republicans have strayed from the teachings of their lord and savior, whose sermon on the mount is completely ignored today by religious leaders and right-wing politicians. it's today's flavor of fascism.

    December 17, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. chuck , NYC

    yeah, and your dad marched next to Martin Luhter King. This man is a liar. , and he cannot be trusted.

    December 22, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
1 2 3