Carol Platt Liebau: A Slickster from Hope and a GOM

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Slickster from Hope and a GOM

Byron York hits it on the head when he characterizes last night's debate as Mike Huckabee's weakest performance ever.

And to my mind, Huckabee didn't do too much better this morning on "Fox News Sunday." What's most disturbing about Huckabee -- who tries hard to set himself above the fray -- is a certain tendency to try to slice the baloney a little too thinly when it comes to questions about his record. Here's the latest, from the FNS transcript:

WALLACE: In last night's debate, you said that you supported President Bush's troop surge when he announced it in January of last year. But let's take a look at what you actually did say in January, and this is when Mitt Romney had already said that he approved the surge.

You said, "Well, I'm not sure that I support the troop surge, if that surge has to come from our Guard and Reserve troops, which have already been overly stretched."

Governor, you were not the supporter of the troop surge that you represented yourself as last night.

HUCKABEE: Well, I supported the surge. I questioned the use of our Guard and Reserve in repeated deployments because as a governor, I'd seen what that had done to our own Guard troop.

. . .

And what we've done with Guard and Reserve forces has got to be changed. It's one of the things that I would do as a president.

And my point was and remains that if we're going to have the kind of war we're going to have, we've got to have more troops at the beginning.

WALLACE: Governor, I'm not saying you're right or wrong. I'm simply saying that you misrepresented yourself last night when you said you approved the troop surge. In fact, days later you said you weren't sure you supported the troop surge.

There's no doubt that other candidates in the race have changed their positions in various ways. But no one tries to play word games like Huckabee -- not since the last politician from Hope.

As for John McCain, perhaps one of the most insightful characterizations of the Arizona senator came from a commenter below, who described his persona as follows: "John McCain -- Hey, you kids! Get off of my lawn! Why I oughta..."

He's a war hero and a tough guy. But he also comes across as a grumpy old man. Does anyone really think he's the guy to take on a sunny-style opponent like Obama?


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