INDEPENDENCE, IOWA -- The "Mitt Mobile" made an unscheduled detour to allow Mitt Romney a chance to issue an unexpected reaction to Mike Huckabee's earlier press conference, in which the former Arkansas governor said that he had decided not to air an anti-Romney advertisement his campaign had produced but then showed the ad to reporters anyway.
"In reaction to the press conference Governor Huckabee had today, I think I'd note that I'm running a serious campaign, that there are serious issues that face the country at this time," Romney said. "I want to bring change to Washington. That's what my campaign is about. The press conference which Governor Huckabee had today I think is confusing to the people of Iowa. On the one hand he says he wants to run a positive campaign and on the other hand he shows a negative campaign ad and hopes that people promote it and provide it to the public through the earned media. And I think that's a very confusing and puzzling message."
Romney's press secretary had previously told CBS News that the governor would not be making an on-camera statement about Huckabee's press conference today. But he (or perhaps Governor Romney himself) must have changed his mind.
Before Romney made his statement, a campaign staffer told reporters on the press bus that the governor was going to make an unscheduled stop at an event that had previously been cancelled, so that he could say a quick hello to anyone who might have showed up anyway. But when the bus came to a stop and reporters started getting off, word suddenly spread that the governor was going to make a statement on Huckabee. Sure enough, Romney was standing outside his "Mitt Mobile," waiting patiently as members of the media scrambled down the icy road to set up their cameras.
After Romney made his statement, he asked the press, "Now who wants a slice of pizza?" Romney then went to board his bus to get the food when a man who later identified himself as a former Arkansas state legislator tried to ask the governor a question about $50 co-payments on abortions in Massachusetts. The campaign later sent reporters an email saying that the co-pay was a "court imposed requirement from many years ago" and that Governor Romney did not have the ability to issue a line-item veto on it.
Romney's press secretary Eric Fehrnstrom offered the heckler (who must have been following the governor's bus on the highway) a slice of pizza, but the man declined it.