PELLA, IOWA -- Just three short blocks from where Mike Huckabee was speaking at The Pizza Ranch in Pella, Iowa, Fred Thompson had harsh words for the Iowa front-runner from the Smokey Row Coffee House.
"I think that statements like 'we need to apologize' – I'm not sure what Governor Huckabee meant when he said we needed to apologize for this assassination," Thompson said, referring to a Huckabee quote that his campaign later clarified.
"I'm more concerned with what people around the world will think when they see a presidential candidate was apologizing for the assassination of former Prime Minister Bhutto."
It was a rare unprovoked attack on Huckabee. Thompson has been reluctant to single out his opponents by name recently, and he was answering a question about the Democrats reaction to the assassination when he made the statement.
Thompson said his main concern was how that remark, where Huckabee offered "our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan," could be misinterpreted by other countries.
"I wish he would clarify that because I don't want that to be mistaken by other people around the world in terms of the implication that the U.S. somehow owed someone an apology about that assassination," Thompson continued. "That's hard to understand."
The Huckabee campaign tried to help the senator understand. They later clarified that the governor meant "sympathies," not apologies.