GRINNELL, IOWA -- Mike Huckabee weighed in today about anonymous mailings received by Iowa pastors supporting Huckabee. The letters warn the IRS might penalize their churches for political involvement and became a topic of conversation during a conference call yesterday.
"I know there is some real – just frankly – anger among pastors across the state," said Huckabee, in response to a question from CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.
"They feel like this is one of the most underhanded things they've ever seen. To try and trick people in their first amendment rights for speaking up. It's a form of voter suppression ... I don' t know where it's coming from. I'm not even going to venture a guess."
He said he would let his national campaign chair Ed Rollins and campaign director Chip Saltsman handle the situation.
Countering reports that he didn't know he would be crossing picket lines to go on the Tonight Show, Huckabee went on Fox saying he saying he had seen a document which showed there was an agreement between the Writer's Guild and the show.
At the press conference Huckabee explained, "The fact is we talked to the Leno people and they had an agreement with the president of the Writer's Guild that they were not going to bring replacement writers in. And that the strike is really against the producers and the network, not against Jay Leno. What Jay Leno did was put 160 people back to work and made sure they had a living. But they didn't bring in replacement writers, so they weren't violating that part of it. I support the writers. I think they are right on this issue and still do."
Huckabee has been accused for failing to know the news of the day – including the writer's strike, the National Intelligence Estimate report on Iran, and the latest situation in Pakistan. Asked whether this was a matter of concern for voters, Huckabee replied, "It's not a matter of not knowing, it's a matter of how people want to interpret it. And come to view different events that are taking place."
"I think I am more than aware of things that are important ... there are a lot of people in Iowa who want a president that is concerned about them, concerned about their job losses, concerned about the future," he said.
If the campaign is a marathon, Huckabee said today, then this is the halfway point. Huckabee said he believed the "gut check" today would "prove we can run the whole 26.2 mile distance."
As if to sympathize with the journalists, Huckabee said he realized "some of you start chasing me from early in the morning 'til late at night, and you still have to file your stories."
"So we've decided that, so long as we can keep the energy, hopefully you can. And when then the stories get nasty, we'll try to stay up later and kill all of you," he joked.