By all accounts Mike Huckabee made a mess of things at a news conference to announce he was talking Mitt Romney to task over Romney's "contrast ads." Carl Cameron on Huckabee's "Enough Is Enough" news conference:
So after calling Romney, "desperate" and "dishonest," Huckabee calls a press conference to announce he is retaliating against Romney with a negative ad campaign. At the presser, Huckabee says he is going to maintain a positive and won't air the negative commercial and proceeds to play it for the large media crowd.
Reporters saw the spectacle as a transparent charade to get them to run Huckabee's ad for him while allowing him to maintain the high road. The ad was a standard attack ad with pictures of Romney and claims about his record on taxes, the death penalty, and the deficit he left in Massachusetts after his term as governor. Despite Huckabee's switcheroo, the room was also filled with easels displaying Romney distortions, which Huckabee and aides said couldn't be pulled down because the candidate had made his decision so recently.
Maybe, despite al the bravado, Huckabee doesn't have the cash to run the ad. Whatever was behind Huckabee's fiasco, it sure didn't present the image of a decisive leader. I'm sure Carl Cameron's report will have al Qaeda shaking in their caves.
On NBC's "Meet The Press" Mike Huckabee went negative, calling fellow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "desperate" and "dishonest:"
MR. RUSSERT: You're suggesting that Mitt Romney's not running an honorable campaign.
GOV. HUCKABEE: I've been very clear about it. Mitt Romney is running a very desperate and, frankly, a dishonest campaign. He's attacked me, and, and yesterday--or Friday, I guess it was, he launched then just a broadside attack against Senator McCain. Now, Senator McCain and I are rivals for the presidency, but I've said on many occasions, I'll say it again here today, Senator McCain is an honorable man, and I believe he's an honest man. I believe he's a man of conviction. And I felt like that, when Mitt Romney went after the integrity of John McCain, he stepped across a line. John McCain's a hero in this country. He's a hero to me.
And I just felt like that when Mitt Romney gets on your show and says that he had the NRA endorsement when he didn't; when he comes on and says he's pro-life and yet he signed a bill that gives a $50 co-pay for an elective abortion in his state's health care plan; when he claims that he's really for the Second Amendment, but he--on this show he talked about how he supported limitations and restrictions on lawful, law-abiding citizens having gun ownership rights, those are not the marks of a person who's pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. And then the things where he's made up these visions that he's had of marching with Martin Luther King and his dad marching with him. You know, Tim, what I've said, and I've been pretty blunt about it, if you aren't being honest in obtaining a job, can we trust you to be honest if you get the job?
You can watch the exchange in the following video. Huckabee reverts to name calling at the 5:00 mark.
At the beginning of the show Russert asked if Romney had said anything that's untrue about Huckabee? Huckabee claimed Romney "said many things that are untrue:"
MR. RUSSERT: But has Mitt Romney said anything that's untrue about you?
GOV. HUCKABEE: How long do we have on the program today? He's said many things that are untrue. He said that I reduced methamphetamine sentences in Arkansas. Truth is I signed a bill in 1999 that doubled those sentences. We did not reduce them. Our sentences were four times harsher than they were in Massachusetts. He said that I supported special breaks for illegal aliens. That's not true, Tim. We supported simply giving children who had earned a scholarship the same--it never happened, it didn't make the legislature. He made allegations that our increased spending by ridiculous amounts, and The New York Times came back and defended that, and said that's just simply not true. And they took him apart and showed that the increases in spending were, frankly, the same if not a little better than his if you took into consideration the accounting methods we changed in Arkansas, very modest gains in spending.
He made claims about things like tax increases, but he failed to mention that some of those were either court ordered or they were voted on by the people and approved by the people for things as roads. And I left my roads in great shape, took them from the worst in the country to what Truckers magazine said were the most improved. He left his roads in a mess in Massachusetts, with huge problems in the infrastructure. He claimed that he didn't raise taxes, but, in fact, he did raise taxes by half a billion dollars.
MR. RUSSERT: Fees.
GOV. HUCKABEE: Fees. It's a tax. If you're a small business person and you pay more money than you paid last year to the government, you can call it a fee, call it a tax, it's a three letter word that means the same.
MR. RUSSERT: But you raised taxes, and the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, gave you a D and an F for your tenureship as governor. So there have been some legitimate criticisms of you as a Republican for raising taxes and for spending money.
GOV. HUCKABEE: Well, I don't think they're legitimate criticisms when you improve education for the children of your state or when you build highways that give you economic incentives and capacities that, frankly, created the lowest unemployment numbers that our state had over had over a sustained period of time. We saw more new jobs created. That's what being a governor is about. It's about creating opportunities for the people of your state.
The Romney campaign provided a research briefing checking Huckabee’s facts on taxes, spending, methamphetamines, and special tuition breaks for illegal aliens. the "fact check" is extensive and include the following gems:
MYTH: Gov. Huckabee Claims That Arkansas Voters Approved A Gas Tax For Highway Rebuilding:
Gov. Huckabee Claimed That Arkansas Voters Supported A Tax For Highway Improvement. GOV. HUCKABEE: "He made claims about things like tax increases, but he failed to mention that some of those were either court-ordered or they were voted on by the people and approved by the people for things as roads." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/30/07)
FACT: Gov. Huckabee Signed The Highway Improvement Gas Tax Into Law WITHOUT Voter Approval:
The Club For Growth Has Called Huckabee Out For His Misleading Statements On The Gas Tax. "From the start of Huckabee's campaign -- literally -- the Club has been hounding the former Arkansas governor for what its leaders believe is his support of big government and higher taxes. Their latest gambit is a web video that seeks to paint Huckabee as flatly dishonest when it comes to his past statements about supporting an increase in the gas tax in Arkansas." (Chris Cillizza, "Club Vs. Huck," The Washington Post, 11/8/07; www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO-flytX2HQ)
[. . .]
MYTH: Gov. Huckabee Said "We Did Not Reduce" Sentences For Meth:
Gov. Huckabee Claimed He Did Not Reduce Sentences For Meth Manufacturers. GOV. HUCKABEE: "He said that I reduced methamphetamine sentences in Arkansas. Truth is I signed a bill in 1999 that doubled those sentences. We did not reduce them." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/30/07)
FACT: Gov. Huckabee Signed A Bill Reducing Mandatory Minimums For Meth Manufacturers:
Huckabee Supported A Measure To Reduce Mandatory Minimums For Methamphetamine Makers. "Methamphetamine makers could shorten their mandatory time in prison with good behavior under legislation approved Tuesday by the Arkansas House. The bill, by Sen. Jim Luker, D-Wynne, is part of a legislative package intended to help control the state's burgeoning prison population and is supported by state prison officials, the state prosecutors' association and Gov. Mike Huckabee." (Melissa Nelson, "Arkansas House Approves Bill To Reduce Mandatory Prison Time Of Meth Offenders," The Associated Press, 3/8/05)
[. . .]
MYTH: Gov. Huckabee Said He Did Not Support Special Breaks For Illegals:
Gov. Huckabee Claimed He Did Not Support Special Tuition Breaks For Illegals. GOV. HUCKABEE: "He said that I supported special breaks for illegal aliens. That's not true, Tim. We supported simply giving children, who had earned a scholarship the same, it never happened, didn't make the legislature." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/30/07)
FACT: Gov. Huckabee Supported A Bill Granting In-State Tuition Breaks To Illegals: Gov. Huckabee Proposed Extending Taxpayer-Funded College Scholarships To Illegal Aliens. "Gov. Mike Huckabee is proposing extending eligibility for state-funded college scholarships to illegal aliens who graduate from Arkansas high schools - an idea that several legislators predicted will go nowhere" (Laura Kellams, "Huckabee Plan Would Aid Illegal Aliens," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/12/05)
You can read the entire fact check here. It makes one think that it is Huckabee who is "desperate" and "dishonest."
You can watch the first part of Huckabee's appearance on Meet the Press where he incorrectly alleges Romney's claims aren't true in this YouTube video.
Fred makes his pitch as to why he's the best candidate for the presidency.
Seventeen minutes may sound long, but it's not too much time to invest in selecting a president. Watch it.
Fred's pitch is very powerful. I wish Fred gave a speech like this when he addressed the Lincoln Club of Orange County's annual dinner in May.
UPDATE: Here' an excerpt of Fred's pitch to help persuade you to watch it:
Because right now in this final weekend another issue is before us: that of electability. I believe I am the only candidate in this race who can bring our party to victory in the Fall. First, because of the firmness of my principles and the trust that that engenders. Secondly, because of the detailed program I've put before the people. Third, because I've been tried and tested - and I'm a known quantity in public life. But, most of all, I think I know how to talk to the American people about the opposition and the danger their victory would pose to the principles we hold dear.
You know in the last debate - when I was asked the biggest problem with American education-- I had a ready answer: "The NEA." By which I meant the National Education Association -- that highly politicized, Washington-based union that is a hindrance to students as well as to the teachers it claims to represent.
But you know the NEA is not the only problem. Just like its education policy, the Democratic party's foreign policy is heavily influenced by another left-of-center pressure group-Move On.org which implied that our leading general in Iraq betrayed us, that tells our men and women in uniform that the war they are fighting is lost, and then tries to cut off funds for our troops in the field. And its social policy is heavily determined by the radically secularist ACLU -- which tries to take God out of the public square and leaps to the legal defense of our Nation's enemies.
You know, when I'm asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn't matter. Because these days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They're all NEA, Move On.org, ACLU, Michael Moore Democrats. They've allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course. So this election is important not just to enact our conservative principles. This election is important to salvage the once-great political party from the grip of extremism and shake it back to its senses. It's time to give not just Republicans but independents and, yes, good Democrats a chance to call a halt to the leftward lurch of the once proud party of working people.
So in seeking the nomination of my own party, I want to say something a little unusual. I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party -- the millions of Democrats who haven't left the Democratic party so much as their party's national leadership has left them.
In this campaign I will be seeking the support of millions of Democrats who no longer believe that they can trust their own party's leadership on the issue of national security.
I will be seeking the support of millions of Democrats with young families who are beginning to see the economic burdens they may face because of their party leadership's taste for high taxes and politically motivated refusal to fix social security and remove the threat of a shortfall in federal benefit plans that could be a catastrophe for younger taxpayers.
And, finally, I'll be seeking the support of Democrats who are weary of spin politics and the permanent campaign and endless attempts to control the media dynamic-- who think policy stances ought to be judged on a higher criteria than what works better in a sound bite or fits this week's campaign-message guidance.
So I'll be asking good Democrats as well as Independents to give us another chance - to see if a Republican president and Congress that's dedicated to conservative principles can move forward with an agenda that goes beyond narrow partisanship and political expediency and actually deals with the long-term foreign and domestic crises we face.
I know we can do better than a 14% approval rating the current Congress had. And I know we've learned our lessons from last year's election. We're the party of smaller, smarter government, lower taxes, and less Washington spending. And the only way we win is if we understand that, remain true to it, and refuse to yield to those who would have us abandon it.
The full as-delivered transcript of Fred's address is in the extended post.
Hillary's favorite Californicators, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, are in Iowa along with Hillary's adulterer in chief, former president Bill Clinton.
Newsom and Villaraigosa are both national co-chairs of Hillary's campaign. Both Californicators are sorry examples of family values.
Villaraigosa's adulterous affair with Telemundo reporter Mirthala Salinas resulted in the break up of Villaraigosa's marriage and with Salinas leaving Telemundo, where she was a rising star.
Newsom is the poster for San Francisco values. He betrayed his campaign manager Alex Tourk, who was also one of Newsom's best friends, by sleeping with Tourk’s wife. Newsom is best known nationally for openly defying California state law in 2004 by directing clerks at City Hall to sanction same-sex unions. According to the Chronicle, Newsom's flaunting of the law made him a pariah within the Democratic Party. Some observers credit President Bush's reelection and the passage of constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in 11 states that same year on a backlash triggered by Newsom's lawlessness.
Why is it that Hillary continues to associate herself with political adulterers? Republican strategists couldn't be happier about Hillary's willingness to accept support from the Californicators. As far as the GOP is concerned, the more face time the pro-gay-marriage, pro-sanctuary-city, pro-gun-control mayor of the most leftist, liberal city in America spends with Hillary, the better. The Republican National Committee recently previewed what may become a general election theme in a press release titled "Hillary's San Francisco Treat." The release highlights Newsom's plan to issue identification cards to illegal aliens, saying Newsom's plan picks up where New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's failed attempt to issue drivers licenses to illiegals left off. Hillary said Spitzer's plan made "a lot of sense," But that was before she denied she said that it made sense:
Hillary's campaign continues to embrace the Californicators. Continuing to rely on Newsom, who stands for things Hillary says she opposes, such as same-sex marriage, may hurt Hillary in general election. But at least she would carry San Francisco.
“On the Democratic side, the race is about as close as it can get, but keep an eye on Edwards,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the survey. “Edwards has really moved up since our last poll. Obama and Clinton have each slipped a little bit.”
[. . .]
While the survey shows a virtual statistical tie, it also shows Edwards with some momentum heading into the final days. He's gained 3 percentage points since McClatchy-MSNBC polled Iowa before the holidays, while Clinton lost 4 points and Obama lost 3 points.
Also gaining were Richardson and Biden, each picking up 3 points.
The second tier is particularly important in Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, where a candidate can win delegates only if they register at least 15 percent support in each town hall-like precinct meeting. Voters whose candidates don’t make that threshold can support someone else.
As of now, that appears to help Edwards.
In the Republican contest, Huckabee’s support dropped 8 percent in the last three weeks. While Huckabee's support fell, Romney regained 7 percent:
Iowa Republicans gave him their highest favorable rating, and he ranked first among GOP voters looking for experience, leadership and the ability to win in November. He also led among voters who ranked immigration, taxes or terrorism their top concerns.
A key gain: He now has the support of 27 percent of the state’s evangelical Christian Republicans, up sharply from 8 percent several weeks ago. Concerns about his Mormon faith appear to have ebbed.
Don't bet the farm on these poll numbers. Polling for the Iowa caucuses isn't easy and the voters remain fickle. One in three Iowa Republicans and one in five Iowa Democrats say they might still change their preference.
"What's been brought home to us, in very stark ways in the last 48 hours, is the importance of proven experience and ability in dealing with domestic and foreign policy issues," he said. "Caucusgoers had a sobering experience with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and they're now going to think twice about maybe earlier choices, or they will solidify their decision to go with a lesser-known candidate but a more experienced one."
Dodd may be right that the Bhutto assassination will remind the voters that we are still in a war against extremists. That is not going to help Dodd's campaign. Dodd has consistently polled poorly in Iowa. I expect Dodd to withdraw from the race shortly after the New Hampshire primary.