ON THE ROAD IN IOWA -- Mike Huckabee told reporters on his "Huck-a-bus" tour that he had "nothing but respect and admiration" for Secretary Condoleeza Rice, describing her as "probably one of the brightest and most capable people we've had in the U.S. government for a long time."
Earlier today, Rice reacted to an article in Foreign Affairs that Huckabee penned where he alleged that the Bush administration had a "bunker mentality" regarding U.S. foreign policy.
"The idea that somehow this is a go-it-alone policy is just simply ludicrous," said Rice.
"I'm hoping that she's reacting to what she heard about the article rather than having read it," Huckabee said.
"I would need to know, did she actually read the article or is she reacting as others have to the headlines and to the synopsis that has been printed. And until then, I wouldn't know exactly how to respond."
Huckabee said Rice "certainly has a right to speak out. She's still a citizen and I respect her very much."
He added the "context" of his "remark" was not "offensive" or an "attack on President Bush."
"It was in fact a specific observation about that part of the administration's policies. And I think in the context of the articles, that's very clear ... The words were easily lifted from the context – 'Oh this is a pretty bold statement' – yeah, it is a fairly a bold statement."
"I think if you're running for president, you should be taking bold positions and taking positions. It was not intended to be a personal characterization of the president at all and in fact it was not."