Huckabee Answers His Critics

(CBS)
From CBS News' Joy Lin, who's trying to escape New England before today's big snowstorm:

LITTLETON, N.H. -- Mike Huckabee asked reporters Saturday, "Do you have any good news for me?" He ticked off the questions he had been asked – "Let's see, Romney's out to get me, an independent group is doing stuff to hurt me, Thompson's basically keeping the post office in business…"

"We deplore push polling," said Huckabee, responding to the McCain campaign's charges that Huckabee supporters are making push polling phone calls.

"It's not being done with any cooperation, coordination, or the blessing of our campaign," especially since it was directed at McCain, "who I have nothing but admiration for." Huckabee speculated that anyone who was doing this was "probably from another campaign, not from mine, maybe trying to blame me for it."

"If someone thinks they are doing me a favor, they are not," he said. Huckabee said the campaign had asked Bob Clegg to seek an Attorney General investigation of who was behind it.

Responding to Mitt Romney's criticism of Huckabee's article in "Foreign Affairs" where he blamed President Bush's foreign policy problems on the "administration's arrogant bunker mentality," Huckabee said a look at his record would refute Romney's accusation that he was a Democrat.

"He's obviously in very desperate position in his campaign. He's spent millions and millions and millions of dollars; he's hired an enormous number of people, and he's behind. What else is he going to do?"

Huckabee explained his critique of the Bush Administration was "not a slam but rather an evaluation of how we can improve" and "rebuild a new level of international trust." He said his characterization wasn't directed to the Iraq War as much as it was directed to making "very, very, very sure we are communicating with as many nations across the world as possible."

He said, with countries like Iran and Syria, Huckabee said he was advocating conversation with all countries, not negotiation, which implies "giving and taking."

Asked about Fred Thompson's anti-Huckabee mailings, he said, "At the time of year when people typically go to the mailbox to get really nice greetings of Christmas cheer from their friends, it's really pathetic that some campaigns have nothing else to do with their campaign money than fill their mailboxes with poison." Huckabee said he was going to "bet my farm and my future" that people want to know if "anyone has a vision for this country and its future."

A reporter asked whether Huckabee thought it was okay for him to joke to people that they shouldn't come to the polls if they don't support him, especially since new campaign chairman Ed Rollins has been accused of suppressing votes in the past. Huckabee responded that Rollins had been "accused but he was completely exonerated" and said that, anybody that couldn't find a little "levity" would probably need "something else to do."

Note about today's schedule: Huckabee canceled his events in New Hampshire due to the impending snowstorm.
  • Joy Lin

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