Could we be looking at the first spite-driven presidential campaign in modern memory? Politico says yes:
Mike Huckabee may be especially tempted to run in 2012 by a lingering feud between him and Mitt Romney, a severe hangover from the 2008 campaign that has created a lasting and bitter rift between the two, Republicans who know both men say.
“[Huckabee] hates Mitt, and his goal in Iowa last time was to stop him,” said one prominent Republican, who’s known both men for years. “If he sees an opportunity to cut Mitt off [during the nominating process], he will take it.”
. . .
As Huckabee weighs whether to run again, several Republicans with ties to Huckabee say his disdain for Romney is a real factor in his decision-making about whether to mount a second campaign for the White House.
There’s no doubt that Mike Huckabee doesn’t like Mitt Romney, and Mitt’s in good company. Allegedly, Huckabee doesn’t like Sarah Palin either:
Ed Rollins, a national GOP strategist who ran Huckabee’s 2008 effort, recalled the “personal animosity” that the former Arkansas governor felt for Romney, citing the rawness over the negative campaign Romney ran as Huckabee started surging as the dark horse with no money or national establishment support in Iowa in January 2008.
“I don’t think he particularly likes Romney,” Rollins said, although the strategist insisted Huckabee “doesn’t’ think much about Romney or Palin” and would only run if he believes the time is right.
I’m not exactly Mike Huckabee’s biggest fan, but this story seems too crazy to be true. And, sure enough, Huckabee has denied it with very clear and convincing words:
“I found that laughable,” Huckabee said on a conference call with reporters. “My gosh, if a person’s ever been even near a presidential campaign, you don’t make decisions that pull you, your family, your friends, all of the supporters you’ve ever had and ever hope to have into the vortex of something like this over some personal issue. That’s absurd. It’s beyond absurd.”
I take Governor Huckabee at his word. I just refuse to believe he’s that petty. Presidential campaigns are draining beyond words, and to launch one merely to act as a political kamikaze? No chance.