Huckabee clarifies Portman criticism
March 4th, 2011
08:25 AM ET
12 years ago

Huckabee clarifies Portman criticism

(CNN) - Mike Huckabee is explaining comments he made earlier this week criticizing Oscar winner Natalie Portman for being pregnant and unmarried.

"In a recent media interview about my new book, A Simple Government, I discussed the first chapter, 'The Most Important Form of Government Is a Father, Mother, and Children,'" Huckabee said in a statement obtained by CNN. "I was asked about Oscar-winner Natalie Portman's out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Natalie is an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar trophy and I am glad she will marry her baby's father. However, contrary to what the Hollywood media reported, I did not "slam" or "attack" Natalie Portman, nor did I criticize the hardworking single mothers in our country."

The former Arkansas governor and possible Republican presidential candidate criticized the actress Monday on a conservative radio show for being pregnant and unmarried.

"One of the most troubling things is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet that boasts of, hey look, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having children and they're doing just fine," Huckabee told host Mike Medved on his radio program.

Portman, who won the best actress Oscar on Sunday for her role in "Black Swan," is engaged to choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who also worked on the film.

Huckabee, a Baptist minister who ran for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, said when wealthy actresses have children without being married, they set a bad example for the rest of America.

"There aren't really a lot of single moms out there that are making millions of dollars each year by being in a movie," Huckabee said. "I think it gives a distorted image that not everybody hires nannies and caretakers and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and would not get healthcare."

In addition to her work in films, Portman attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in psychology.

Portman has yet to respond to Huckabee's criticism.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. tminweho

    hateful, judgmental and mean-spirited, yeah, that's just about right to run for Republican president

    March 4, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Haaaaha

    I'm so glad we have Mikey to tell us about degraded American morals. So he's going to "save" us? What a negative nancy – I thought the Dems were the pessimists when it comes to "America-the-concept". Do those degraded morals include constantly pointing your finger at others and telling them they're naughty and don't measure up to YOUR OWN religious ideas. Moron.

    March 4, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  3. atypical

    huckabee perpetuates archaic notions and traditions. I'm sure POrtman could care less about his opinion of her.

    March 4, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. Jon in Rochester NY

    I agree that our youth needs more roll models however Mr. Huckabee, you are not one of them. Your snide little comments about Obama not being American and growing up in Kenya have not gone un-noticed. That proves to me that you'll say and do anything to appeal to your Tea Party base. Give it up! Maybe when you are president, you can make a law based on your biblical belief that you have to be married to have children.

    March 4, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. Luis Martin

    That's one sure way to get the female vote.

    March 4, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. tminweho

    hateful, judgmental and mean-spirited.....a PERFECT Republican candidate!

    March 4, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Pete

    Kind of like the "there are starving kids in Africa" argument as to why kids need to finish their vegetables. My finishing my vegetables doesn't actually solve the problem of starving kids in Africa and her getting married first doesn't fix the problem of poor single moms.

    March 4, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Angie

    Mike Huckabee needs to crawl back under the rock from which he crawled! I am sick to death of people who assume that just because I'ma single woman rasing two kids on my own that I am destitue & living off the government. I've got news for you, Pastor Mike. I am not only not uneducated, not poor and not living off welfare, but I am raising two fine young men who have an incredible respect for their mother and women everywhere. I was raised by a single mother and I am a proud single mother. Why don't you try not passing judgment, Pastor Mike? Isn't that what Jesus said?

    March 4, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. JDAR123

    Basically Natalie Portman is the exception to Mr. Huckabee's logic. Obviously, she is highly educated and will be able to provide for her child financially. So why is he throwing a fit? She isn't going to be begging for government assistance. And how many single, poor, uneducated mothers do you know that actually watch the Oscars and care if someone like Natalie Portman is having a baby. I'm pretty sure in that "moment" you are not thinking, "Natalie Portman is pregnant. I'm going to get pregnant to."

    March 4, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Colin

    Yeah, cause this debate went so well for Dan Quayle when he tried it with Murphy Brown. Between this and threatening a shutdown, I really think the republicans just don't remember the nineties at all!

    March 4, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Sarah

    Reverend Mike Huckabee should take the plank out of his own eye (recent interview with conservative radio host where he knowingly made misleading statements about where President Obama lived, the President's patriotism, etc.) before he points to the behavior of others.

    March 4, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Bill

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out Mike. This is the perfect way to alienate voters and show that you're really just a caveman at heart. Come join civilization Mike. We CAN have babies without being married. Hucks' just jealous because Natalie has an excuse for HER big belly.

    March 4, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. Jesus

    Natalie Portman is probably 100 times smarter than Mike Huckabee.

    March 4, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  14. guy

    She probably won't respond:)hahahaha!

    March 4, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. alleygator

    Huckster best not play the morality card, lest he be hoist on his own petard.

    March 4, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. H.

    What about Sarah Palin's kid Mr Huckabee?? Can you say double standard?

    March 4, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. jules sand-perkins

    Huckabee is really going after voters who are the most stupid of the stupid, or perhaps he wants a big church job.
    A woman who wins an Academy Award for Best Actress is not a "Hollywood starlet," as Huckabee tried to minimize her.
    Being an unmarried mother sets a good example for the American public.
    What Huckabee preaches as a Baptist fundamentalist sets a bad example for our country.
    Thankfully, we are in recovery from addiction to Christianity as a weapon of hatred and better-than one-upsmanship: look at the income of churches from tithes these days. People are catching on to Elmer Gantry lies.

    March 4, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. Squirt South Carolina

    I thought Huckabee had a little sense, but his comments of the last few days prove he is in the mold of Dan Quayle, George Bush, both junior and the elder! Everybody knows that —married or single—Republicans don't get sick...don't get pregnant...don't need health care, dentists or doctors. Their ONLY purpose in life is to criticize anyone who does not think like they do, in some twisted sense of what they think is right or wrong. The Republican take on social issues, in particular, includes criticizing a young lady who is educated, sophisticated, works hard and long and who I hope sees the world for what it truly is—a place where the Huckabees, Quayles and Bushes eventually will be remembered for nothing but their sorry opinions. Ms. Portman will live forever as one of an elite group of American actors!

    March 4, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. sbarr

    Well, it's a good thing Natalie lives in America...where she is free to live her life as SHE choses!

    March 4, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. cat

    I agree that a lot of young Hollywood actresses and performers are terrible role models, but Natalie Portman is the epitome of EVERYTHING a young lady should strive to be. She's done everything right. She has a good head on her shoulders, is very poised and talented, and realizes the importance of education and keeping true to one's values. Furthermore, she's almost 30, so if she wants to have children, now's a pretty good time to do so–and isn't she in a serious relationship? Sorry, Huckabee, but your criticism is ridiculous.

    March 4, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. Roger

    That may be true Huck, but it will lose the election for you. Open and honest people don't get elected. Obama was the exception to the rule.

    March 4, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. JLS639

    "Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and would not get healthcare."

    Wrong, Huckabee. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are perpetuating false, negative stereotypes.

    Sure, some single moms have problems. However, less than 1/4th receive public assistance. Less than 25% is not "most." Fully half of them are employed full time. Single mothers are hardworking, gainfully employed, contributing members of society.

    March 4, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. teekay

    Murphy Brown again!!!!!

    March 4, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Andy

    this guy is an idiot.

    March 4, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. Dutchswan

    I did not hear Huckabee's comments, so I do not know if he is being taken out of context. I agree that children whom are loved by a man and woman in a committed marriage have a better chance of being successfull in life, but I would be careful to condem specific individuals. I like Huckabee a lot, and he is usually a very eloquent and intelligent speaker. I also like Natalie Portman, and while unmarried, is at least engaged to the father. To all thse single moms and dads out there: wouldn't it be easier if you had a partner? It is not always possible, and I empathize with situations in which it is not.

    March 4, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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