Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has been embattled Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s most prominent defender, went on the offensive, attacking GOP strategist Karl Rove for an off-the-cuff remark he made about Akin turning up “mysteriously murdered.”
Huckabee said in a lengthy post on his website published on Saturday that Rove’s comment was “disturbing,” especially “in light of the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.” Rove has reportedly called Akin to apologize for the remark, which he made at a donor gathering in Tampa that a reporter attended unbeknownst to Rove.
Huckabee argued that Rove should be as ostracized as Akin has been, after Akin suggested last month that women were unlikely to get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.” Akin later apologized, but Republican officials, including Rove, have tried to shove him from the Senate race, fearing he cannot win the seat currently held by Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Huckabee complained of a double standard in the GOP for those “in the club” and those not. The episode highlights the simmering tensions between the Republican Party establishment, embodied by Rove, and its grassroots social conservative base, which Huckabee represents.
“Todd erred, apologized, and we need to help him win, not convince ourselves he can’t,” Huckabee wrote. “Karl erred, apologized, and we need to treat him in the way we want Todd Akin to be treated. If Todd is continued to be alienated and Karl doesn’t suffer the same fate, then I will encourage all the activists I can to spend all their time, money, and effort in Missouri.”
“If the party doesn’t want us, then I guess they don’t need us,” Huckabee concludes, saying he and his wife were sending the biggest legal donation they could to Akin.