(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Fox News Host Mick Huckabee distanced himself from an ad produced by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign bearing his name and featuring his voice. The move shows social conservatives remain uncomfortable with supporting the former Massachusetts governor.
Huckabee issued a statement Monday clarifying that he did not work with the Romney campaign to produce the campaign video titled “Huckabee.”
“The use of the actual audio from my show, “The Huckabee Report,” was not authorized for use by any candidate. My quotes are public domain and just like the numerous complementary things I have said about other candidates, they have been used to highlight something positive in a political ad,” he said.
The video features Huckabee’s Jan. 10 criticisms of fellow candidates’ Bain Capital attacks.
Bain Capital is a venture capital and private equity firm Romney co-founded. Romney has highlighted his experience with the firm as an example of his job-building experience. Republican candidates, namely Newt Gingrich, have attacked Romney and the company for laying off workers and breaking up companies.
The political ad, which featured Huckabee’s likeness, gave the appearance that Huckabee had aligned with the Romney camp to demonstrate that the former Massachusetts is the most knowledgeable business leader in the GOP race.
Huckabee is quoted in the ad saying, “Romney’s come under a lot of fire… [it’s] surprising to see these attacks coming from fellow Republicans. They ought to know that if downsizing can turn around a failing company, then at least it prevents all the jobs from being lost and sets up a strong company that can grow and start re-hiring.”
The ad concludes, “You’d expect Obama to attack free enterprise, but not fellow Republicans. Mitt Romney: the experience and Know-how to put America back to work.”
Huckabee, a former Baptist minister and pro-life champion, would have been a valuable endorsement for Romney in the social conservative South Carolina.
However, Huckabee confirmed in his statement, “This in no way is an endorsement of any candidate.”
Similarly, key evangelicals and social conservative leaders have not endorsed Romney though he is the current front-runner and winner of the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.
Gathering in Texas last weekend, an assembly of evangelicals and conservative Christian leaders discussed a possible alternative candidate that could better represent their values. Surrogates from many of the Republican candidates including Romney met the leaders to discuss a possible endorsement. Many leaders left resolving to stand behind former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins admitted to reporters outside the meeting, “Romney was never seriously considered by the group. If that had been the case, there would have been no need for the meeting.”
Still, social conservatives have expressed a desire to coalesce behind the eventual GOP nominee.
Huckabee stated, “I have not nor do I anticipate endorsing anyone until after the primary at which time I will fervently campaign for the Republican nominee so that we can make sure Obama is a one-term president.”
Until that time, he said, “Any attempt by anyone to imply an endorsement of a candidate or opposition to a candidate is not true.”