Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, rebuked Mike Huckabee Monday for using the word "libido" in a speech condemning the Democratic Party's so-called "war on women" at the RNC's annual meeting.
The day after Huckabee's controversial speech on Thursday, Priebus delivered a speech at the same meeting in which he said Republicans need to be "very conscious" of their "tone and choice of words." When asked on MSNBC Monday morning if that was a "mild rebuke" of Huckabee's "libido" speech, he answered, "Sure, yes I was."
Priebus believes that Huckabee's remarks were an easy target for Democrats who seek to portray Republicans as waging a "war on women."
"The reason," he said, "is that you have to accept the political world we live in, in the sense that you cannot offer up words like 'libido,' wherever that came from. You don't offer up these sorts of lobs and set up passes and serves that allow the Democrats to spike the ball. It's not where our party stands, it isn't really even what Mike Huckabee meant to say. I mean he had a pretty good message, and it was overshadowed by a choice of words that was just a little bit off, that's all."
In Huckabee's speech, he argued that Democrats treat women with condescension by seeking their vote with offers of free birth control.
"Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women," he said. "That's not a war on them, it's a war for them. If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without 'Uncle Sugar' coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take that discussion all across America, because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be."
That quote, though, was misrepresented by much of the media.
On his Fox News show, "Huckabee," on Saturday, he noted that he had said words nearly identical to that (and used the word "libido") on the previous week's show, but there was no uproar about it at the time.
After explaining that his views had been mischaracterized, Huckabee again explained his view.
Republicans, he argued, "want [women] to have the power to choose their children's schools and not be forced to accept the government's choice for one that fails. We want them to be treated with respect for the decisions they make, whether it's a decision to raise children or enter the workforce. For the Democrats to believe that women can't make it without dependence on a government program or giveaway is disgusting."
Huckabee then explained that he appointed more women to executive positions in his state's history when he was governor of Arkansas because he believes "they can do the job and do it well."
He finished his remarks by criticizing journalists for being inaccurate in their reporting on his speech.
"If the Democrats want to patronize women," he said, "that's their business. But the public deserves professional and accurate journalism, whether it's reported by men or women. And last week, some in the media could have used a little assistance in trying to be more accurate, a lot more accurate, in fact."
You can watch the full segment below.