During his presidential campaign launch Tuesday, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee managed to take shots at a majority of the declared presidential contenders and more than a few likely candidates, most of them Republican -- and without mentioning any names. That's a fairly impressive display of attack chops.
Herein, his top speech swipes, ranked (all bolding for emphasis ours):
1) Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton:
"I don't have a global foundation or a taxpayer-funded paycheck to live off of. I don't come from a family dynasty, but a working family. I grew up blue collar, not blue blood."
2) Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio (and really, anyone currently holding elected office, including Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal):
"And you know, if someone is elected to an office, then give the taxpayers what they're paying for and the job that you said you wanted. If you live off the government payroll and you want to run for [an] office other than the one you've been elected to, then at least have the integrity and decency to resign the one that you don't want anymore."
"Now, there are some who propose that to save the safety nets like Medicare and Social Security, we ought to chop off the payments for the people who have faithfully had their paychecks and pockets picked by the politicians. ... My friend, you were forced to pay for Social Security and Medicare...let them end their own congressional pensions, not your Social Security."
Bonus: A potential double-duty dig: an attack on President Obama -- which also served as a sideways swipe at Cruz, Paul and Rubio, a trio of freshman senators running for president:
"You know, it was eight years ago that a young, untested, inexperienced and virtually unknown freshman senator made great speeches about hope and change. But eight years later, our debt has more than doubled. America's leadership in the world has completely evaporated. And the country is more polarized than ever in my lifetime. … We were promised hope, but it was just talk. And now we need the kind of change that really could get America from hope to higher ground."
Don't expect those knocks to remain too subtle for long. During the 2008 election -- while Huckabee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney were locked in a tight race for second-place -- the former Arkansas governor brought the hurt, bluntly.
"This idea that the conservatives are rallying around Mitt Romney -- I mean, here's a man who didn't hit political puberty in the conservative ranks until 60 years old," he told MSNBC.