Republican White House contender Mike Huckabee refused to apologize Sunday after a rival accused him of insulting President George W. Bush by describing his foreign policy as “arrogant.”
Huckabee butted heads with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney after publishing a foreign policy paper calling for American foreign policy to change its “tone and attitude, open up, and reach out.”
“The Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad,” the former Arkansas governor wrote in the journal Foreign Affairs.
“My administration will recognize that the United States’ main fight today does not pit us against the world but pits the world against the terrorists,” said Huckabee.
Romney, who has seen Huckabee surge past him in opinion polls with just three weeks until the first nominating contest in Iowa on January 3, expressed outrage at his rivals criticism of the Republican president.
“That’s an insult to the president, and Mike Huckabee should apologize to the president,” Romney told NBC television.
At a campaign stop in Iowa on Saturday, Romney said Huckabee sounded more like one of the Democratic candidates than a Republican.
“Well, did this come from Barack Obama or from Hillary Clinton? Did it come from John Edwards? No, it was one of our own,” Romney said.
“I can’t believe he’d say that. I’m afraid he’s running for the wrong party. The truth of the matter is, this president has kept us safe these last six years,” he said.
But Huckabee hit back at Romney, saying his article was a critique of the administration’s policies and not a personal attack on the US president.
“Well, the some (critics) who are coming down pretty hard happen to be running for president,” Huckabee told CNN.
“They happen to be wanting to get a little attention, standing and waving their arms and say, ‘look, I’ve spent millions and millions of dollars trying to be president; I’m behind, and I’m behind this guy that doesn’t have a whole lot of money and just happens to have a message that’s resonating with the American people,’” he said.
“I think he needs to read the article. … Because if he did, he would see that there’s no apology necessary to the president,” Huckabee said.