Huckabee: Obama White House has attacked faith

Former governor of Arkansas Michael Huckabee address delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Former governor of Arkansas Michael Huckabee address delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Updated 10:59 p.m. ET

(CBS News) TAMPA, Fla. -- In energetic remarks during the second full night of the Republican National Convention, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on Wednesday lambasted President Obama for a White House policy on contraceptive care, accusing the president of launching an attack on Catholicism and Americans' abilities to practice faith freely.

"This isn't a battle about contraceptives and Catholics, but of conscience and the Creator," said Huckabee, an evangelical Christian and staunch social conservative. Huckabee was criticizing a White House mandate requiring most employers to provide their employees with free contraception coverage. "The attack on my Catholic brothers and sisters is an attack on me. The Democrats have brought back the old dance the 'Limbo' to see how low they can go in attempting to limit our ability to practice our faith."

Targeting Mr. Obama for his support for abortion rights - which Huckabee characterized as the president's belief "that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb" - as well as his support for same-sex marriage, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate argued that Mr. Obama tells "people of faith that they must bow their knees to the god of government and violate their faith and conscience in order to comply with what he calls health care."

Huckabee said he cares "far less" where "Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country," making an oblique reference to the candidate's Mormon faith.

Declaring the nation "can do better," Huckabee pivoted to an attack of the Obama administration's handling of the economy, more closely reflecting the night's previous speeches. Earlier in the evening, South Dakota Senator John Thune, Ohio Senator Rob Portman and others lambasted the president for implementing policies they argued are dragging the nation's economy down.

"We have a sluggish economy, burdened by Obama administration policies that are weighing down our job creators," said Thune. "Folks, we won't be in this situation with Mitt Romney in the White House. He understands what it takes for businesses large and small to thrive."

Additional convention speeches:
Rand Paul: Obama is "uniquely unqualified" to lead
Rice: "An election of consequence"
Ann Romney: "You can trust Mitt"

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who said she's formerly a Democrat, said Mr. Obama promised bipartisan leadership to solve the country's economic problems. If the president wants to "take credit" for the importance of government, she said, "then he can take responsibility for adding $5 trillion to the national debt - because he built that," hitting him on his often mocked "you didn't build that" comment.

"In America, todo es posible," the governor, who is fluent in Spanish, said. "There is one candidate in that election to protect that dream."

Romney and Ryan would "get government out of our way" and lead the nation back to prosperity, argued Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno.

"Our families cannot grow their budgets if politicians keep growing Washington's budget," he said. "Get government out of our way, and let freedom and the spirit of the American people shine through."

Portman, once considered a vice presidential contender himself, accused Mr. Obama of a failure of leadership. He suggested the president has cast blame about the state of the economy rather than developing a plan to fix it.

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"Where is the president's economic plan?" wondered Portman. "Blaming others does not qualify as a plan."

Romney, he argued, not only "had a plan to build his business" but also "has a detailed plan to restore our economy and strengthen the middle class."

"America has a choice between Mitt Romney who seeks to grow the economy, and Barack Obama who seeks to redistribute it," he said. "Which one do you think will liberate America's entrepreneurial spirit?"

Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, continued on that theme, quipping that Mr. Obama "is the first president to create more excuses than jobs!"

"In his view, it's George's fault. It's the bank's fault. It's Europe's fault. It's the weather's fault. It's Congress' fault. Mr. President, if you want to find fault, I suggest you look in the mirror!" he said. Pawlenty went on to accuse Mr. Obama of being a "tattoo president."

"Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young," he said. "But later on, that decision doesn't look so good, and you wonder: what was I thinking?"

He added: "But the worst part is you're still going to have to explain it to your kids."