Thompson vs. Huckabee

From CBS News' John Bentley

MIAMI -- Slipping in the polls against Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson spoke out against his Republican rival today.

Thompson took issue with Huckabee's proposed policy of quarantining AIDS patients when he was governor of Arkansas. "[AIDS] is something that has more to do with human behavior, and I'm not sure isolation, or quarantine, would be of major assistance in that regard," Thompson said. "I have no idea what was in his mind when he said that."

On Cuba, Thompson criticized Huckabee, who in 2002 asked President Bush to lift the embargo against that country, saying it "has not helped the people of Cuba."

"He thinks we should lift the embargo against Castro. I disagree with that," Thompson said today at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami. "I think it raises issues when politicians change their views on a dime to appeal to a particular group of people right before an election." The governor recently issued a statement saying he supports the embargo.

Huckabee defended himself in Miami this morning, according to CBS News' Joy Lin, saying his "major concern" in 2002 was to try and "revive a sagging economy" impacted by the recession. "Our rice markets were in trouble…At that time, my primary responsibility was simply to hear the concerns unique to my state," he said.

Since then, Huckabee said, he had been able to find new markets for the rice market by going to Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea to find Asian markets for the state's rice. Another reason for the policy change, explained Huckabee, was that he was "really not that aware" of the issues the issues that exist between Cuba and the United States.

"Being in Arkansas, that's not one of the issues I am in close proximity with," he said.