December 15th, 2007
04:30 PM ET
13 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. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    Huckabee is a liberal, he is into nanny-state, raising taxes, soft on crime, soft on immigration. He is running his campaign on religiosity which is hugely out of place. This isn't a religion popularity contest.

    December 15, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Lee, Mays Landing, New Jersey

    Funny, when Mitt was in Massachusetts he was acting a lot more like a democrat than some democrats around here.

    Truth is, white evangelicals were in the democratic party. It was the party of William Jennings Bryan, and the party of the bible belt. The economic interests of most are with the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party whose main interest is protecting inherited wealth.

    The Republicans were able to pry away the white evangelical starting in Nixon's time by appealing to their social mores, as well as their fear of women's liberation and black people.

    The used and abused these people to achieve power and rape the middle class but they've done nothing for white evangelicals, and now they are telling them that they cannot choose one of their own as a candidate.

    December 15, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Brian, Orlando, Florida

    Romney/Bush '08!

    December 15, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Bill Seattle, WA

    That's right. Huckabee is the wolf in sheep's clothing. Riiiight.

    Keep those gums flapping, Mitt. We know you've always been true to your principles!

    December 15, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Richard Wilde, Lubbock, Texas

    If Romney really believes that President Bush has kept us safe for the last six years, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'll sell him.

    December 15, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Elizabeth Harrison, AR

    Wow. I never knew Romney was such a wuss. "Alert the media! Huckabee just traveled into the unknown world of original thought and I'm going to call him out!" To criticize someone just because they hold the same opinion as someone from a different political party is not only stupid, but immature. I would like to think that a person's opinion and integrity are based on who they actually are and not what their political party tells them. Why don't you just focus on your campaign, Romney, and leave the thinking to someone else?

    December 15, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Zac, Atlanta, Georgia

    I'm beginning to like Huckabee more and more and Romney less and less. I think Romney is desperately trying to believe all the neo-conservative rhetorical garbage that spews forth from his mouth, but it just sounds so fake when he says it.

    While I definitely dont agree with Huck on everything (obama 08!), I'd take him over Romney any day.

    December 15, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Daniel 6 Fresno CA

    Joe Biden Joe Biden Joe Biden Joe Biden

    In a time when a line has been drawn between left and right. Joe Biden got 75 votes to pass his Iraq plan. That is the kind of bipartisan leadership this country needs.

    December 15, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |

    "The truth of the matter is this president has kept us safe these last six years" Romney said.

    He's darn right about that!

    December 15, 2007 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Chris

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall? Who's the best candidate of them all?

    December 15, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Phil, Memphis, TN

    what a fool. Romney thinks he will score points and stem the huckabee tide by standing behind a criminal president who is the least popular president in the history of the country? Who advises these candidates anyway? They seem to think the best course is always to disagree with whatever their opponent says, regardless of how untenable the opposite position is.

    December 15, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. mario jPreston ID

    Huckabee is a Liberal democrap running in the wrong party, get rid of him, don't vote for him, he was a baptist minister. He can't be trusted/

    December 15, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Sue, Greensboro, NC

    Yuck...go away Mitt and while you are gone, get an adult name.

    December 15, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. TC Orlando, FL

    This just goes to show the ridiculous "team" mentality of American politics. One is supposed to blindly support people of their own party regardless of logic, reason and truth. If a Democrat had started this war, the 'pubs would be all over them for running a botched war and the dems would be hailing it. None of this insincerity is doing this country any good. We are not only living in a failed, shambled administration, but also the political system as a whole.

    December 15, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. Matt - Atlanta, GA

    This is exactly the type of party loyalty that has gotten us into the Iraq mess in the first place.

    December 15, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. Brian, Pleasant Grove, UT

    I agree with Romney

    December 15, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Walt, Belton, TX

    Take two zeros and guess what? They still add up to zeros!

    December 15, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    This man is as fake as a $3 bill

    December 15, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Mike, Fredericksburg, VA

    Mike Huckabee says what he believes. That's a big part of his appeal. Mitt "I was for gay rights before I was against gay rights" Romney says what he thinks will get him elected to whatever office he happens to be running for at the time. That's a big reason he isn't doing so well, despite all of the money he has spent on his campaign.

    December 15, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. David A. Nagle, Palmyra, NY

    Sad. This guy's dad – while I didn't agree with every one of his ideas – had some character. What a spoiled little pol. At least Huckabee stated a position and offered some rationale for it. "Was the war managed well, Mitt?" "Ummmmm..."

    December 15, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. David - Portland, Oregon

    Mitt said, "I'm afraid he's running from the wrong party.”
    Well Mitt, you may be right. Maybe the conservative party has walked away from true conservatives like Mike Huckabee. You however just keep squealing like a stuck pig, due to all the money you have spent on your campaign.

    December 15, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Tom, Charlottesville, VA

    Romney just seems more and more like a slime ball every time he opens his mouth. I sincerely hope that any of the Democrats wins this election, but Romney would be worse than some of the other Republicans. Huckabee is pretty much a dream come true for the religious right, and Romney wants to paint him as a liberal. Unbelievable. Hey Mitt: If you can't criticize the government, it ain't a free country! Or are you hoping to preside over a theocracy rather than a democracy?

    December 15, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  23. Steve, SLC UT

    I am glad that we're looking at Huck's platform a little bit more. He seem's like he's in outerspace a bit.

    The thing that blows me away the most is his tax policy...I looked at it. My federal tax bill would be so much bigger under his 24% sales tax than under the current system. I don't make a lot of money and I would get no breaks for having a family, a home and other American-dream things.

    Hucks a space cadet. I want a president, not a preacher.

    December 15, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  24. Jim in Orlando, FL

    I am a lifelong conservative and veteran. And Huck ir right about the "bunker mentality". GB is a man of good principals, but he has made many mistakes in his application of those mores. Huck as ideals, and they show. But he also is pragmatic whre GB was less so. His rise int he polls is legit, as is Obama's, and the U.S. is better if those two are the candidates.

    December 15, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. Will, Los Angeles, CA

    Ummm, for all the bickering going on on this board, does no one realize that both of these candidates are in favor of continuing the war and spreading it into Iran?

    Vote for some real change. RON PAUL!

    December 15, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
1 2 3