Romney Portrays Huckabee as a Bill Clinton Clone

By Chris Cillizza And Shailagh Murray
Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's almost too easy.

Mike Huckabee and Bill Clinton. Two former governors both from the tiny town of Hope, Ark. One, the hottest thing in the Republican presidential race, thanks in large part to his support from social conservatives; the other, a former Democratic president loathed by those same voters.

It's a match made in heaven for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who is seeking to slow Huckabee's momentum in the lead-up to Iowa's Jan. 3 caucuses.

Romney is hammering Huckabee for his alleged similarities to Clinton (Bill, that is) in a new direct-mail piece that hit the Hawkeye State this past weekend.

"Two Governors from Hope: One was President, One Wants to Be" says the front of the mailer. Inside, voters are offered a series of questions and asked to choose between Huckabee and Clinton.

An example: "Which Governor granted 1,033 pardons and commutations, including 12 sentences for convicted murderers?" Any guesses? Clinton? Wrong. Huckabee.

Let's try another: "Which Governor supported amnesty for illegal immigrants, calling for a special pathway to legalization?" Huckabee again.

And so on.

By linking Huckabee to Clinton, Romney is trying to get the Republican base to think twice about its support for the former Arkansas governor.

The hard truth for Huckabee is that he spent more than a decade as the chief executive of a state where Democrats controlled the legislature. That means compromise -- a dirty word when it comes to winning a party primary.

Perhaps in expectation of these attacks, Huckabee has sought to portray his tendency toward compromise as governor as a sign that he can rise above partisan politics. "We've got Democrats who fight Republicans, liberals fighting conservatives, the left fights the right," Huckabee said in last week's GOP debate in Iowa. "Who's fighting for this country again?"

Service Employees Echo Edwards

A handful of local Service Employees International Union affiliates have banded together to form a third-party advocacy group championing many of the same issues emphasized by former senator John Edwards in his presidential campaign.

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