Huckabee rallies Missouri pastors to Akin's side, attacks GOP establishment
August 24th, 2012
09:04 PM ET
11 years ago

Huckabee rallies Missouri pastors to Akin's side, attacks GOP establishment

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - Mike Huckabee participated in a conference call Friday night with hundreds of Baptist pastors and Christian talk radio hosts in Missouri that was organized to coordinate a robust defense of Rep. Todd Akin as he faces pressure from Washington Republicans to drop his Senate bid against Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Akin told reporters in St. Louis today that he would not quit the race.

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Speaking harshly about establishment Republicans who have tried to force Akin from the Missouri race, Huckabee at one point compared the National Republican Senatorial Committee to "union goons" who "kneecap" their enemies.

The former Arkansas governor said party bosses were "opening up rounds and rounds" of ammunition on Akin and "then running over with tanks and trucks and leaving him to be ravaged by the other side."

“This is unprecedented, to see to this orchestrated attempt to humiliate and devastate a fellow Republican,” Huckabee said of Akin, who has deep ties to the Christian conservative movement. Akin spent Thursday in Florida meeting with evangelical leaders and evaluating his political future.

Huckabee said he spoke directly with NRSC officials this week and was assured that they would begin to dial back their offensive against Akin. He said party officials specifically told him they would stop pressuring Akin’s consultants and campaign vendors to drop the congressman as a client.

A Republican source provided CNN with the dial-in information for the call, which was convened by Don Hinkle, the editor of ‘The Pathway,’ a publication of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Also speaking on the call were David Barton, the influential Texas pastor; former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts; Baptist pastor David Baker; and Dick Bott, the founder of a Christian radio network based in Missouri.

Huckabee, who was speaking from his Fox News office in New York, said the actions of Republican leaders in Washington threatened to "discourage" Christian conservatives and activists from going to bat for the GOP in November.

At one point, Huckabee mused about whether Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney affected his poll numbers in Missouri by not coming to Akin's defense. Romney encouraged Akin to leave the race after his "legitimate rape" comments set off a political firestorm earlier this week.

Acknowledging the political damage done to Akin, Huckabee encouraged the pastors and radio hosts to aggressively defend Akin to their congregations and listeners.

"The poll numbers need to come back up," he said. "Todd needs to show that he can raise money and be competitive. That will be a game changer. If not, the pressure will still be there for Todd to exit the race and clear the field for somebody else."

A spokesman for the NRSC, Brian Walsh, took issue with Huckabee's comments Friday.

"We have a great deal of respect for Governor Huckabee and regret that we do not see eye to eye with him on this race," Walsh said in an email to CNN. "It's important to set the record straight though that the types of tactics he describes simply did not happen and further, no one at the NRSC has even spoken with the Governor this week."

Filed under: 2012 • Mike Huckabee • Missouri
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. amlcpamaine

    .. it takes a village .............

    August 25, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  2. Ted Baldwin

    Shame on all these people. We are not and should not be a theocracy, Do something more Christian such as helping the poor. Please stay out of politics.

    August 25, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  3. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Why are the GOP attacking one of their own for stating what is in the Rep platform?? and espoused by the VP candidate who wrote bills with him?

    August 25, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. deltapa

    Why do the Republicans and the Tea Party insult religion?
    Would Jesus have used tithing as an excuse to hide that he didn't render onto Caesar what was Caesars, like Romney is trying to do?

    August 25, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. alloydflanagan

    "We have a great deal of respect for Governor Huckabee and regret that we do not see eye to eye with him on this race," Walsh said in an email to CNN.
    "It's important, however, to point out that he's a dirty stinking liar and we've had nothing to do with him..."

    August 25, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. Tony in Maine

    Huckabee would do better selling tickets to heaven as do other televangelists.

    August 25, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  7. ThinkAgain

    According to the NRSC, Hucksbee is lying. Kinda fun to see the Repubs turn their hate on each other for a change.

    August 25, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. Seattle11

    Huckabee is about as much a Christian as Bin laden was.

    August 25, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. Norma Vessels

    Which is it .. did Mr. Huckabee really talk to anyone at the RNSC without Brian Walsh knowing about it (after all,
    Mr. Walsh is the RNSC's spokeman) .. or did Mr. Huckabee make that up to give the RNSC a big hint not to
    act against Mr.Akin? Questions, questions. I know one thing ... Mr Ryan is a full grown man, who seems intelligent,
    so there is no excuse, in my opinion, for his child like comments about abortion, which is, and always will be, an act of hate and violence.

    August 25, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. Mike Texoma

    It was thinking like Huckabee's that nearly got the great 17th century scientist, Galileo beheaded. Come on, folks, it is not possible to be anti-science and pro business at the same time.

    August 25, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. gord

    republican,s have gone nuts

    August 25, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Dr Matrix

    No matter where anyone stands on the abortion debate, using legitimate and rape together is beyond comprehension by any rational human being.

    August 25, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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