TEXARKANA, ARK. -- After feeling wronged by reports he had pulled out of Florida (ultimately, he was there for more days than he had been in South Carolina) and participating in debates that didn't give him equal time, Mike Huckabee is playing defense.
Huckabee has taken offense to Romney's effort to call a vote for Huckabee as a vote for John McCain. Huckabee has called that "voter suppression" while Romney is saying it's just politics.
Huckabee told CBS News' Nancy Cordes: "The point is-- that you're trying to affect the outcome of the election by manipulating who people vote for. And I just think...[Romney] needs to tell people why he should be elected. He shouldn't try to...engage in the speculation that my voters really would be his voters, or a vote for me is a vote for McCain…He needs to just work on getting his folks out there. And that's it. And not try to manipulate everybody else's election like he's tried to manipulate everybody else's point of view and everybody else's record."
And in regards to Romney's statement that the first rule of politics is "no whining," Huckabee said, "I'm hoping he'll live up to that. 'Cause he's the one — every time he spends millions of bucks on John McCain and me and then we push back, then he jumps up and down and just screams and hollers and says, 'Oh it's a personal attack! It's a personal attack!' No, this is running for the presidency. It ain't beanbag. So, if he's going to throw a few at our heads, he needs to know that when he comes into play, he's going to see some 98-mile-an-hour fastballs coming back. That's how it goes. If he thinks this is tough, he ain't seen nothing 'til he faces Hillary or Obama in the general election. So that's why I don't think he's the best guy to put on the field in the starting lineup for the big game."