December 18th, 2007
04:05 PM ET
14 years ago

Romney continues Huckabee attacks

Romney questioned the religious overtones in Huckabee's new Christmas TV ad.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney continued to assail Republican rival Mike Huckabee's record as Arkansas governor Tuesday, and defended the second negative TV ad his campaign is now running in Iowa.

"I think Gov. Huckabee's rise in the polls justifies him getting a close look from the voters," Romney told reporters inside an airport hangar near Columbia.

"I think as they take a close look at his record on immigration they’ll see somebody who is too liberal on immigration. When they look at the 1,033 pardons and commutations they’ll see someone who was too liberal on crime," said Romney.

This week, the Romney campaign launched a TV ad in Iowa accusing Huckabee of being soft on crime and reducing punishments for those caught manufacturing meth.

It's his second ad to draw a contrast with the former Arkansas governor: last week, the Romney campaign launched an Iowa TV spot hitting Huckabee on his immigration record.

The former Massachusetts governor dismissed the notion that primary voters might sour to negative political ads running during the holidays.

"I think people recognize this is very critical time in our nation's history and the issues are important," he said. "This is not just about feel-good. This is about how we would deal with important issues."

Romney's "feel-good" comment was a reference to Huckabee's own television ad currently running in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, in which Huckabee dons a red sweater and tells viewers that "what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ."

Romney questioned whether the ad, with its clear Christian overtones, is politically appropriate. He said he hopes "we don't divide America on the basis of faith."

"I hope Gov. Huckabee like all of us at this time, is sensitive to that diversity of faith and the liberty of peoples to worship God as they choose," he said, adding that he might have a further comment on the ad later.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Mario Uy Streamwood IL

    Hey, if it weren't for the mud slinging and the sleaze, you people would be watching Desperate Housewives. Come on, admit it.

    December 19, 2007 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  2. Karl, Atlanta, Ga.

    I am a conservative Republican from a born-again Christian family of the conservative Lutheran type. We would never vote for Huckabee. He is a liberal on all issues to the right of gays and abortion. He has several Willie Hortons and higher taxes in his past. Why is he a Repub? I'd vote for Romney before Huckabee.

    December 19, 2007 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  3. Fed Up

    Romney is a pathetic politician. Why doesn't he share his views on how to lead our great nation? I watched a CNN interview with Romney and he said, "America needs new leadership." Does that mean that he hates Bush? Of course not... Just because someone (Huckabee) has a new vision for our country doesn't mean the politician hates our country. Romney, get a new hobby. I'm sick of these attacks. Grow up. Romney is a John Kerry version of the Republican Party. Rich (worth 250 million), handsome, do anything for a vote, and fake.

    December 19, 2007 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  4. lava, North Pole

    "He is kind of coming out like a…democrat?"

    Posted By Travis

    I agree.

    December 19, 2007 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  5. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Wayne, Greenville TX:

    You wish it was over. It is only the beginning. One of your beloved dems is next in line. Just wait and watch.

    December 19, 2007 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  6. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Always fascinating to see the definition of "negative" and how it changes. I'm not voting for Mitt. He's a flip-flopper but what is "negative" about pointing out Preacher Mike's record? He did pardon many criminals, his policy on immigration is there for all to see, he proposed people with aids be rounded up and hauled away, believes that women should submit graciously to their husbands and does not believe in evolution.

    If you agree, vote for Huck! That's not being negative, that's who he is. Being negative is when you ask, with an innocent look on your round face, "don't Mormans believe that Satan is Jesus's brother?" That grabs the headlines and the whimpy apology gets buried on page 5. Good ol' Christian values!

    December 19, 2007 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  7. Antonio, Tempe AZ

    So Mr. "profoundly influenced by his Christian faith" Romney criticizes Huckabee for actually following Christian values.

    Personally I like Huckabee although I disagree with him on abortion and homosexual rights. I just don't think Republican voters will vote for him because of he raised taxes and freed converted Christian prisoners early. Republicans are always saying they're Christian but don't ever get past the vengeance of the Old Testament and the gay-hating part of Leviticus.

    I can't imagine the kind of loony-liberal-lovefest we'd have in this country if we ever did manage to elect Jesus.

    December 19, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  8. Justin, New York

    Romney.. why not try to put out ads specifying EXACTLY what YOU will be doing to change America, instead of attacking your opponents.

    Mitt's mud-flinging will not win more votes. Its been proven before.

    And also, the fact Mitt owns and run businesses doesn't carry much weight with me. Our current president was also a business owner and a governor. Did that make him any more able to run this country?

    Look at the economy and the debt and the messy war we have on our hands. I think not.

    Romney is claiming no more credible experience that Bush has.

    December 19, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Bill, San Diego, Ca

    Mr Romney, you seem to be proud that you granted no pardons. That should be your shame. Anthony Circosta deserved a full pardon from his incident when he was 13. Shame on you for refusing to grant him a pardon and shame on you for putting your political future ahead of the needs of your people. The only way you'd get my vote in the general election is if my democrats select Hillary.

    December 19, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. ted, gilbert az

    Mitt is only trying to educate people about the things Huckabee has said and done. I don't see that as negative because it is honest. He has not gone after him on his gift registry, taking money from special interests groups while govenor for speeches. Huckabee was on the today show complaining about Wall Street interests and saying bad things about Romney. Mitt actually created wealth, turned around Staples and the Olympics. I never thought becoming wealthy by hard work was bad Huckabee actually thinks his begging people for money while leaving office was somehow more noble.

    December 19, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Jim Roseberry, Woodland, Ca.

    What Mitt is doing is up front and honorable campaigning. He is not attacking Huck's character or personal life. He is spotlighting Hucks public positions and record in office-a legitimate target.

    By comparrison, look at Hillary's recent spotlighting of Obama's drug use as a youth.

    December 19, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. John Allen Boston, MA

    Yep. Huckabee deserves scrutiny just like everyone else. He doesn't get a free pass just because he arrived at the dance late. In fact, Huck's record on crime IS terrible. Romney, on the other hand, has been outstanding on crime. I'm voting for Romney.

    December 19, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. John Allen Boston, MA

    There's a huge difference between an "attack" ad and a "contrast" ad. Mitt is running CONTRAST ads. C'mon people. Candidates deserve to be educated about the differences between candidates. It would be like an employer going to hiring someone without knowing all the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate. Romney is doing us a service by showing us Huck's soft record on crime. The guy who is abusing his identity as a Christian to get votes is not flyer under rader any more. Good!

    December 19, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. Karen Houston TX

    Why is the truth called an attack?

    So many are focused on Huckabee's relegion and his humor that they totally look over his VERY POOR political record.

    Wake up!!!!!!!

    Mitt Romney is telling people what they have ignored because they have fallen victim to the Huckabee "good ol' boy humor and good Christian heart smoke screen".

    How many people have I heard say, "I can overlook his stand on illegals and poor tax record because he seems like a genuine candidate".

    WHAT! We are not voting for "Miss Congeniality" here people! We are voting for a person who can run our country!


    December 19, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Nate, Boston, MA

    oh, how ridiculous some of these comments are. please, if you are in the lead or the flavor-of-the-month you will catch heat from others. grow a thicker skin if you don't like it. this is the nature of politics. why is it a surprise? these people are fighting for the presidency. they will pull out all the stops. sheesh!

    December 19, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    If Romney is a fake like liberal commenters have claimed, the 2002 Olympics wouldn't have been successful at all.

    December 19, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Ryan AR

    Hey "Jesus" stay out of it! church and state doesn't I'm told. Huckabee started his slam, now it's his turn to get it fight back. I don't care if Romney wins or not, but if Huckabee wants to stay on top, he better earn it, to be the man, you have to beat the man, Huckabee isn't the man, I don't think can ge use to the idea of calling a guy "president Huckabee" just doesn't sound good.

    December 19, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Mr Romney, you seem to be proud that you granted no pardons. That should be your shame. Anthony Circosta deserved a full pardon from his incident when he was 13. Shame on you for refusing to grant him a pardon and shame on you for putting your political future ahead of the needs of your people. The only way you'd get my vote in the general election is if my democrats select Hillary.

    Posted By Bill, San Diego, Ca : December 19, 2007 10:13 am

    His over 1000 pardons aside Bill, are you aware that he also pardoned 12 nice people that commited MURDER?

    Situational pardons are one thing, bleeding heart ones are a whole other ball game.

    December 19, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Gregg Dearth, New Canaan, CT

    I agree with Governor Romney. On the one hand Huckabee seems TOO sensitive, granting a lot of pardons especially to convicts who "found religion." On the other hand Huckabee is too insensitive, making comments that could be easily seen as divisive and Christians Only focused.

    December 19, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. Christine, Burke, VA

    The cumulative effect of Romney and Huckabee telling me they've accepted Jesus as their personal lord and savior: I've just about disowned my faith. I have no desire whatsoever to associate my own religion with these poster boys of Christianity. Shut up and run for president, so the rest of us can worship in peace.

    December 19, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. K. Wilkinson MG TX

    To those of you who don't know where Romney stands on the issues, you obviously haven't been listening. Visit Romney's website where you can find answers to all of your questions. You may also do a little independent research and find out many of his incredible accomplishments.

    Huckabee is the schmuck who seems to answer every serious question with some stupid joke. While everyone thinks,"Oh look at the funny politician" he totally ducks the question! H-E-L-L-o?

    But by all means attack the smart guy, and leave the moron to entertain you. Brilliant!

    December 20, 2007 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  22. K Wilkinson MG TX

    By going negative, Mitt Romney proves that with over 11 months left to go before the election, his campaign is out of steam and he is out of ideas.

    Pack it in, Mitt. It's over.

    Posted By Wayne, Greenville TX : December 18, 2007 6:17 pm
    You know I just don't get it. Romney points out political differences and because Huckabee is clearly the skunk it is considered an attack!

    These differences are of major importance, crime, immigration, taxes etc. Just because a few of you actually study the issues, many who vote do not.

    Huckabee seems friendly enough, but really stinks on most of the political issues. I don't think Romney saying. "Here are the differences between us" is an attack–it's just information. If it were false information it would be different, but it's the truth. Take it for what it's worth. Isn't the etire race a comparison of candidates? What's the problem?

    December 20, 2007 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  23. Ajay Jain

    Who said negetive ads do not work in Iowa? Romney has his polsters and does not have money to burn on ineffective or detrimental ads!

    December 20, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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