In what has to be one of the most bizarre political press conferences in recent times, Huckabee told a packed room of reporters that he was pulling a negative TV ad his campaign had produced to respond to Romney’s attacks. . .
Then — via a laptop projector — he showed the ad anyway to the several dozen journalists in the room.
The last time I remember a Republican Presidential candidate saying that he wasn’t going to do something, and then he went and did it anyway, it was George H. W. Bush’s promise to not raise taxes. But at least the elder Bush waited a couple years before changing his mind. Mike Huckabee couldn’t wait a couple minutes before brazenly reneging on his no negative ads promise.
According to Kaus, Klein and Cooper think this was Huckabee’s scream moment. I concur since if you’ll remember back four years, the scream came after it was inevitable that Howard Dean was going to lose the nomination. How bad are Huckabee’s internals that they decided to pull this stunt? End-of-campaign bad is my guess.
Jonathan Martin witholds judgment on the success or failure of this move until he sees how the Iowa media portrays it.
The Caucus: “The assembled media found the display hilarious and at several points laughed out loud.”
Outside the Beltway: “There’s, of course, a completely innocent explanation: Huckabee’s an idiot. More likely, though, he thinks we’re idiots.”
NewsBusters: ” . . . a change of heart or manipulating the media? My personal opinion is of the latter.”
CBS: “We’ve all seen some very cheap stunts over the years, but they’re not usually this cheap and not this transparent. Reporters covering the campaign aren’t idiots, and Huckabee just insulted their intelligence.”
Ron Fournier: “If he loses Iowa’s caucuses, New Year’s Eve will forever mark the day Huckabee blew it — the day a crowd stopped laughing with the witty Republican and laughed at him.”
Donkelphant: “What Huckabee pulled today was not only hilariously and woefully transparent, it also made him appear worse than the guy he was trying to smear.”
Marc Ambinder: “The Romney campaign is already calling this a “meltdown.” Whatever it is, it’s a little bizarre.”
Hot Air has lots of video.
Stop the ACLU has lots of commentary.
American Pundit: “He may not know about the NIE, AIDS, immigration, foreign policy, or anything actually, ya know, important, but he definitely has the “slimy” part down pat.”
Speaking of the NIE . . . In a RELATED story:
The Sioux City Journal is reporting another Huckagaffe:
Mike Huckabee defended his failure to read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in early December, joking in an interview Monday that President Bush didn’t read intelligence reports for four years.
His quip, apparently intended to be funny, really just shows him to be the empty vessel he is.
It occurs to me that this is an opportunity for Fred Thompson to issue a press release announcing in a tongue-in-cheek way that he is taking the high road and has therefore directed his staff to pull all kinds of outrageous ads that he was prepared run–and then mention the text of the ads. Kind of like how Fred followed Huckabee’s apology with his own.