Evangelical endorsement? Romney to go on Huckabee’s show this weekend
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be a guest on Mike Huckabee’s Fox News show this weekend, the New York Times reports, prompting speculation that the former Arkansas governor may be planning to endorse his old rival.
Romney and Huckabee had a history of trading barbs when they ran against each other for the 2008 Republican nomination. Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, wondered aloud if Mormons, like Romney, “believe that Jesus and the Devil are brothers.” Romney implied Huckabee was soft on crime. “You make up facts faster than you talk,” he once said to Huckabee.
This year, however, Huckabee has been much more critical of Romney’s main opponent for the nomination: Rick Perry. Huckabee said Perry’s decision to announce the day of the Ames straw poll was a “tactical blunder,” attacked his “newfound commitment to hyper-conservatism” and said Romney is the more electable candidate.
The animus seems to stem from Perry’s endorsement of former New York City mayor and 2008 GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani at a time when Huckabee could have used his support. “Governor Huckabee was very upset when Perry endorsed Rudy,” a source familiar with the situation told the Washington Post earlier this month. “And then after Rudy dropped out, [Perry endorsed] McCain.”
An endorsement from Huckabee, who remains popular figure among evangelical Republicans, could help Romney win over that critical voting block in primary states like South Carolina. In 2008, Romney lost the Palmetto State after taking just 11 percent of the evangelical vote, dropping out of the race soon after.