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Romney Hits Huckabee for Criticizing Bush


Mitt Romney in Humboldt, Iowa Sunday. (AP).

Sensing an opening in his desperate effort to retake the lead in Iowa, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Saturday pounced on comments by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in which he characterized President Bush's foreign policy as an "arrogant bunker mentality."

Campaigning in Iowa, Romney accused Huckabee of sounding more like a Democrat than a Republican.

"It sounds like something Barack Obama or John Edwards would say -- not what you hear from someone running for president as a Republican," he told reporters. Huckabee made the comments in the latest issue of the journal Foreign Affairs.

Romney has started heaping criticism on Huckabee as the former baptist minister has climbed into a comfortable lead in Iowa caucuses. On television and in mailings to voters, Romney has attacked
Huckabee's position on illegal immigrants in the hopes of halting his momentum.

The Foreign Affairs article, made public Friday, gave Romney a fresh line of attack, and his campaign wasted no time in making it. In addition to Romney's own comments, his press aides spent the morning
making sure reporters had seen the article.

In an email to reporters titled "Huck's 'Playground Diplomacy' is no laughing matter," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden wrote that Huckabee's criticism of Bush "is right out of the Democrats' talking points."

"Mike Huckabee is known for his witty one-liners, but his criticism of the Bush Administration with sound bites right from the Democrats' talking points is no laughing matter," Madden said. "At a
time when Republican voters want strength of purpose and resolve in foreign policy, Mike Huckabee has resorted to the Democrat playbook of just bashing the president."

Huckabee's criticism of Bush -- and Romney's defense of the president -- could prove to be a tricky political moment for both men. Republicans who will participate in the Iowa caucus are largely supportive of the president and may be upset with Huckabee's strong language.

But the president remains very unpopular with independents who will vote in the New Hampshire primary just five days later. Romney's strong defense of the president could be a turn-off for some of them. In his comments, Romney made certain to stress that Bush's foreign policy has not been perfect.

"We were under-prepared and under-planned and understaffed," he said. "There is no question we weren't perfectly managed."

--Michael D. Shear

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 15, 2007; 3:35 PM ET
 
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Comments

Huckabee stated what everyone knows to be true. Not to mention that: "The next attack will have a return address in Pakistan"

Read the entire article in Foreign Affairs before speaking ignorantly.

I am a liberal but I could be comfortable with Huckabee despite some of his conservative stances because he strikes me as a sensible human being.

A Democratic Congress and Republican president would have to work together to advance their agendas.

We've seen the disaster that occurs when one party controls the legislative and executive branches of the USA.

If the election came down to Huckabee vs. Obama I'd feel like there was a chance for this nation to get pointed back in the proper direction.

Give us Romney vs. Clinton - the republic is doomed.

Posted by: vaporland | December 16, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Elections are about the future. Huck understands we will pick and choose, keep the good in the Bush foreign policy and throw away the bad. Is that so hard to understand?

Even Mitt understands change is needed - AP says of him "Still, Romney carefully stressed that he believed the administration had engaged in missteps during the war in Iraq and said his defense of Bush did not mean he would follow the president's current policy to the letter.

"We were under-prepared and under-planned and understaffed," he said of the war following the fall of Saddam Hussein. "There is no question we weren't perfectly managed."

Posted by: patrickshaughness | December 16, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Someday we have to learn that our two stage competition doesn't work.

The opposition wants the weakest candidate and will use whatever tricks it can because control of billions or trillions of dollars is at stake.

Thats what Watergate/CREEP was all about, eliminating the strong Democratic candidates. Thats why Howard Dean was assassinated with the anonymous Bin Laden ads. Mitt would have been eaten for lunch in Massachusetts governor race by Robert Reich, but the Democrat's weakest candidate surged.

Frank Luntz, who develops and spintests Republican phraseology, is undercover on Roger Ailes' Fux News pushing for Obama, because race and Hussein will be easier to wedge than "Less sexy than Monica Lewinsky."

I'm a Democrat for Huckabee, because opponents to creationism and intolerance are organizable.

Posted by: bnscientist | December 16, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Romney says: "Republicans must our house in order," and I take that to mean it is currently disorderly or 'out of order' entirely. I tend to the believe the latter. I love it when Mitt talks out of both his two faces at once. Go ahead neocons, nominate a fundamentalist Baptist preacher who wants to put AIDS victims in concentration camps--as well as any number of bizarre ideas this goofball has in mind. Your whole line up is doomed. Get ready to be run from office en masse. As far as putting your house in order is concerned--America has seen what you're about and we reject it. Prepare for your day of reckoning.

Posted by: _murray_ | December 16, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Romney really doesnt believe in anything.

Although I could never vote for Huckabee beacuse of his narrow view of Womens Choice RIghts, I respect him for having views that are thought out right or wrong.

Romney has neither unless it is first tested by a pollster.

Posted by: hhkeller | December 16, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

response to (vote4mikehuckabee | December 16, 2007 11:34 AM)

You seem a little bit giddy there. But I don't see any of the candidates winning the GOP primary hands down. Huckabee has some momentum, but he hasn't drastically pulled away from Romney and Guliani nationwide.

Posted by: con_crusher | December 16, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Reduhblicans aren't renowned for thinking for themselves. But the president this time around is understandably unpopular. Romney will not win primaries by arguging that Huckabee is a Democrat. It's obvious that the Republicans have no fresh ideas or policies, but they won't win anything by determining who is the more Republican-like. George W. Bush isn't running next year, but everything he stands for has gone sour with most of the country. With 2/3rds of the country disapproving of his indolence and missteps, it would behoove the GOP candidates to not merely jump ship, but start sailing in a different direction.

Posted by: con_crusher | December 16, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Anyone, absolutely anyone, who remotely believes the republican party has any chance to win this election is mentaly incompetent to stand trial for the crimes committed by their present incarnation. Even Kathrine Harris and the supreme court couldn't throw this election to the right even after another call to Osama to try to distract the American public. The question is will they try or better yet, will they even survive to be tried for their actions. Nice that they want to delay the CIA tape case and the resulting crimminal charges from the Plame outing until after they know who will take power and weather they might get a friendly pardon. Bush has allready made overtures to exit the country after he leaves office and he deserves to become an illegal alien for his rape of the treasury for the benefit of dad's war profit machine. Who amoung us shall become our version of the Jewish war crimminal hunters and will we be American enough to support their efforts to correct the sins of the religous right neocon nazis? I just wonder if???and when???

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | December 16, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Ed Rollins is a master at campain strategy. This guy knows what he is doing. It's not by luck that Ronald Regan won all but one state out of 50.

With Mike Huckabee skyrocketing in the polls and now picking up Ed Rollins, his HUCKABUS is going to go from HUCKABOOM to HUCKABAMBOOM!!!

I can see a movie in the making here, Mike Huckabee coming out of no where sprinting pass the competition like they were stuck on honey.

This is an incrediable success story in the making. You are going to see everybody and their brother wanting the rights to make this movie about Mike Huckabee's charismatic success.

Look out world, America is back in the running! Mike Huckabee is going to steer this big ship of ours and he has the masses supporting him. Just as a rockband of supporters cheering on Mike now... GO MIKE GO, GO MIKE GO, GO MIKE GO!!!!!

With Mike's super ability to connect with people, he will connect with national leaders. The Earth will shift, I can hear the rutters start to grind and turn now, an amazing amount of force is coming.

The evil terrorist will be stomped on like a pancake, the poor will become richer, the sick will become healther, the economy will become brighter. This is an amazing historical time for America on the horizon.

Don't lose this opportunity, let's rally behind Mike Huckabee. Tell all your friends and family about him. Go vote for him. Be a part of the success story to pass on to generations that you were part of the making of this historic success. He's depending on you.

Skyrocketing polls from HUCKABOOM to now HUCKBAMBOOM!!! Let's raise the bar one more time again and let the light shine!!!

Posted by: vote4mikehuckabee | December 16, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee has every right to defend himself and it will be quite convenient knowing that he will have to confront the likes of Romney. Especially because of his ties to the Mormon church. They are a secretive and exclusionary organization that many people simply are ignorant or made to not know about. They seem to operate under their original doctrine of treating minorities with inferior and condemning status. That explicitly racist doctrine was in effect in their church constitution up until the late 1970s, when only political pressures made it convenient to revoke them. People say how we should not condemn Romney's religious background or give him unfair treatment. I'll leave the Mormon church alone only if they somehow explain their seemingly institutionalized bigotry. If I vote republican, I don't want all this baggage that Romney contains.

Posted by: acp6s | December 16, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Mike, you shouldn't criticize the Bush... my campaign finance co-chair, Melvin Sembler says so.

http://www.reason.com/news/show/121088.html

We bigoted wolves in sheep's clothing are suppose to stick together. I'm a uniter, not a divider!

Posted by: MrTracker | December 16, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Defending Bush will taint Romney with the Administration's failed policies. This lockstep support for the Republican partyline, despite the mood of the country and the opinions of the majority was a flawed, desperate step. No matter how our nation's current situation is described, no matter how it is spun, the obvious truth is that we are not headed in a good direction. A turd wearing a pretty dress is still a turd.

Posted by: scott | December 16, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse

As the legendary Ronald Reagan said when he left the democrat party, "I didn't leave the party, the party left me!" Bush has disappointed true conservatives on economic and immigration issues.
Huckabee has strong grass roots support, is building momentum, and gaining steam.

Posted by: Phil6 | December 16, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Anyone interested in a funny (but it really happened) column about what Huckabee is really like face-to-face should try:
http://goupstate.us/index.php/lanefiller/2007/11/02/title_14

Posted by: lanefiller | December 15, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Please, Please, Please nominate Huckabee or Romney. This country cannot afford another republican president. From Iraq, to putting idiots in the Justice department, to banning stem cell research, while destroying the environment, to changing scientific study findings to match the Republican's political philosophies. The country needs a president that can begin to repair the damage that the worst president in the history of this country has caused.

Posted by: gkg020 | December 15, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

People ask why he would defend one of the worst president's in history. Well the reason for that is clear. He will do anything for a vote. Romney sees Huckabee's comments as offputting to a segment of voters and so rushes in to scoop up a potential vote, regardless of what he really feels about Bush. What this demonstrates to me is that Romney is in it for himself only. He's power hungry. He has completely shifted politically on positions that he held as governor of Massachusetts. This shows that all he cares about is winning the presidency. He is like Giuliani in that regard. These men crave power. You can see it in their faces. Don't vote for either of them.

Posted by: 1180 | December 15, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

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.

Posted by: d_shoup | December 15, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

If you like George Bush, you'll love Mitt. He unapologetically exudes partisanship; if you don't fit Mitt's born again definition of republican, watch out.

Posted by: clyde_carson | December 15, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I really thought intelligent conservatives read the WA Post. Maybe not, judging by the responses.

Romney is not only defending Bush but holding true to the fact that as a Republican candidate you don't criticize the Republican incumbent.

Huck's comments are only the latest sign of being just out of touch with reality: AIDS, the NIE, women's rights, commutations (12 murderers? )and in this case: foreign policy.

Evangelicals, I beg you to please think with your head and not your heart. Even Rove (you may not like him but he's pretty accurate when it comes to campaigns) said a while ago: defeat Hillary and the GOP will win. Hillary's currently going down, as you may have noticed...but now the GOP could potentially make the same mistake by voting for Huck. Huck is a good man, but he cannot appeal to moderates and nominating him will be the equivalent to the dems nominating Obama...a sure way to lose.

Posted by: stevekittel | December 15, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

A TERRIBLE SHAME THAT A CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENCY WOULD ADMIT TO CONTINUING TO "LEAD" THIS COUNTRY AS DID BUSH.

Posted by: eliricky | December 15, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

to: manwaringjd

Sir or Madam--I think you should walk over to Walter Reed or the other Vet hospitals and spend some time before saying anyone "has it about right"with Iraq and the Surge. It was a big blunder, this war!

So we start "positive thinking", "up with People"? Don't give that benefit of doubt to Romney or any of the other spermata seeking the Republican nomination.

7 years backward means 14 years missing from the future.

With sincere respect.

Posted by: walden1 | December 15, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

It was evident that the Bush family was handing over the presidential reins to Romney when senior Bush introduced him at his Mormon speech. It is also evident that Romney doesn't have a clue that the majority of Americans including a lot of Republicans are tired of Bush's lies.

Posted by: aztecpiper | December 15, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Let's hold all the nominees accountable for their visible and derisible loyalty to George W Bush and his extremism.

Why are Mitt, Mike, Rudy and Hillary dumbing down their brains to run in the footsteps of the worst, most self-destructive President in our history?

Because loser Bush won two tight elections on completely misleading and false pretenses. And now that's the political model for what you have to do. Lie. Say anything.

Only contest worth mentioning--god forbid the cream rising to the top--is McCain versus Obama. That would be a good test for the almost brain-dead American voter.

Posted by: walden1 | December 15, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee is reaching out past his current supporters to the reality-based voters. It isn't going to work. "GOP, social conservative, war hawk with no foreign policy experience or plan for health care" isn't going to fly in the 2008 election, no matter how hard he tries to distance himself from the policies of the last disastrous seven years.

Posted by: cturner3rd | December 15, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I think Romney has it about right! Bush made a lot of poor choices as Romney stated, but we have had no more attacks since 911 and the surge in Iraq is now working. Nothing is ever totally good or totally bad. Bush that goes for Bush too. We should support the good that is happening. The troops are more optimistic than the people at home and they are in the thick of it.

Posted by: manwaringjd | December 15, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

As usual The Post has written an anti-Romney hit piece to promote someone who will have no chance against the democratic nominee. One only need look at the photo that accompanies the article to know the tone of it.. No real point in reading it.

Posted by: UnitedStatesofAmerica | December 15, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Romney is definitely getting desperate. Is it also "liberal" to attack Bush and Republicans in Congress for wasteful government spending and corporate give-a-ways?

Posted by: citizennc | December 15, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney towing the party line for worst president in the history of our nation is doing no one any favors.

Mitt wake up before you cost yourself the presidential campaign.

Posted by: llids | December 15, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

It saddens me to see Romney, a decent man, protect looney Bush and disastrous policies which any normal thinker can see are a result of neocon sick fantasies. Mitt, run in the opposite direction away from Bush! Stop explaining him.
As to Hucksterabee, God protect us if he gets the Oval Office as his next pulpit. He's no moderate, and we don't need a Pope.

Posted by: zaney | December 15, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Romney is getting pretty desperate. I guess Mitt has jumped the shark!

Posted by: Phil6 | December 15, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

IF HUCKABEE IS WRONG, THAN 90% OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD IS WRONG AND MITT ROMNEY AND GEORGE BUSH ARE RIGHT. WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HE THINKING. IF HE DOESN'T WANT TO USE GWB's STUPIDNESS TO GAIN SOME VOTES, WELL HE SHOULD JUST SHUT UP. OH WELL, HE'LL REALIZE THAT WHEN HE LOOSE BUNCH OF VOTES IN THE NEXT STATE. GOODBYE ROMNEY, WE VOTED FOR GWB LAST TIME AND WE GOT SCREWED PRETTY BAD, WE NEED FREEDOM AND SECURITY, NOT JUST SECURITY. YOU AND YOU COWBOY FRIEND CAN'T ACHIEVE THAT. SREW YOU.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | December 15, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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