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Huckabee and Gingrich: Not a great week for GOP presidential candidates

Conservative columnist George Will takes off on Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich for their comments about President Obama's upbringing, railing against "careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing" presidential candidates.

By Staff writer / March 5, 2011

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee at a luncheon hosted by The Christian Science Monitor at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington on February 23. In recent days, Huckabee has had to backtrack from comments he made about President Obama and actor Natalie Portman.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to the Christian Science Monitor


It hasn’t been a great week for Republicans yearning to be the next president.

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Mike Huckabee put his foot in his mouth – twice – and had to reel in controversial (and in one case hilariously wrong) comments he’d made.

Newt Gingrich, giving all indications that he’d announce the obligatory “exploratory committee” – the first official step in running – instead merely unveiled a new web site, then was uncharacteristically indecisive in telling Fox News it might be another six or seven weeks before he made up his mind.

Former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to President George H. W. Bush John Sununu had critical things to say about Gingrich and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Questions have been raised about Haley Barbour’s days as a lobbyist for the energy industry.

Maybe it’s the late winter season, when many street corners are still filled with piles of dirty snow, and the atmosphere is grumbly.

Could that explain conservative columnist George Will’s diatribe against the “vibrations of weirdness emanating from people associated with the party?”

In his Washington Post column to be published Sunday, Will takes after Huckabee and Gingrich, suggesting that they are “careless, delusional, egomaniacal, [and] spotlight-chasing.” (Which sounds more like comedian Mort Sahl than the sober Mr. Will in his bow tie.)

Specifically, Will is talking about comments both men have made about President Obama’s upbringing and family background.

During a radio interview Tuesday on the Steve Malzberg Show, Huckabee went on at some length about how Obama had “grown up” in Kenya. This might have influenced Obama’s view of Great Britain as a colonial power because of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, the former Arkansas governor explained at some length.

When it was pointed out that Obama was born in the United States (Huckabee is not an ardent “birther,” by the way) and never lived in Kenya, a Huckabee spokesman said that his boss “simply misspoke” and had meant to say “Indonesia.” Which doesn’t explain the bit about the Mau Maus, who never made it to Indonesia. Or the fact that most of Obama’s growing up – 13 of his first 18 years – was in Hawaii.


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