huckabee6.jpgFollowing yesterday’s uneventful Republican presidential debate in Iowa, Mike Huckabee made a beeline for Mitt Romney to apologize for his “‘Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” remark to The New York Times Magazine. CNN has the story. A top Huckabee aide tells God-o-Meter this morning that the ex-Arkansas governor was “genuinely distressed” that his comment had made it into print and had caused an uproar. The aide says Huckabee made the apology entirely on his own, and that even his traveling staff didn’t know it was coming until the deed was done.
It’s worth nothing that from the Huckabee camp’s perspective, it’s Huckabee–not Romney–who’s being singled out because of his religion. “He’s been trying to chart a course of bringing the conversation back to policy,” the Huckabee aide tells God-o-Meter. “But he’s constantly getting hit with questions about his religion.” Asked why Huckabee hasn’t come out and plainly stated that Romney should not be opposed because of his Mormonism–rather than simply refusing to answer questions about whether Mormonism is a cult–the Huckabee aide insisted he has, pointing God-o-Meter to recent appearances on the Sunday morning newsmaker shows. If Huckabee has made such a statement, God-o-Meter asks its faithful readers to clue it in. Until then, GOM is still unconvinced that Huckabee has not played the Mormon card, albeit in subtly.
For The New York Times’ version of how Huckabee’s comments came about, check out The Politico:

…Huckabee should not have been too shocked, according to Megan Lieberman, the Times Magazine editor who handled the piece.
Lieberman told Politico that the article was thoroughly fact-checked, and that Alice Stewart, the Huckabee campaign’s press secretary, raised no concerns when briefed on that specific quote prior to publication.
Stewart did not return a call seeking comment.
….Reached Wednesday in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he’s writing a book on the National Baseball Hall of Fame, [Zev] Chafets [The New York Times Magazine writer who did the Huckabee piece] told Politico: “I asked him the question about Mormonism and whether he thought it was a religion or a cult.
“He said it was a religion, and didn’t know much about it. There was a pause. Then he asked his question,” Chafets continued.
“He can spin it any way he wants. It was on the wires and picked up by candidates, and I can’t be accountable for that,” Chafets said, adding, “I hope that the article, as I wrote it, was entirely in context.”

[italics are God-o-Meter’s]


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