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