Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Romney backers: Huckabee nice but not ready



U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, former House Speaker Allan Bense and Al Cardenas -- prominent backers of Mitt Romney -- took a few jabs at Mike Huckabee today, saying the former Arkansas governor has a terrible record on raising taxes and is inexperienced on foreign policy.

"We have some concerns as conservatives about Mike Huckabee," Feeney said, citing his record of raising taxes. Feeney said Huckabee is a "likable" guy but recalled another likable politician from Arkansas who "tricked some voters who wouldn't vote for him again."

The men, speaking in a conference call with reporters, acknowledged that Marco Rubio's endorsement of Huckabee means something. Rubio, for one, is certainly not soft on taxes. He's as anti-Castro as anyone, and he could help deliver key Hispanic voters.

Replied Huckabee backer David Rivera: "I would hope all the Republican candidates and their supporters would follow Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, particularly those who live in glass houses. I suspect the reason candidates' backers feel the need to attack Gov. Huckabee is because of concern over the shortcomings on their own candidate, or perhaps because of Gov. Huckabee's frontrunner status in the polls."

Romney has been endorsed by three former speakers of House: Feeney, Bense and John Thrasher. "Three speakers beat one speaker," Feeney said to laughter.

Cardenas, former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said at this point in the race, individual endorsements mean less than campaign infrastructure -- a big advantage Romney has over Huckabee. "We'll see how the election goes," he said. "It's a very fluid time period."

Rubio said he was not concerned about the tax issue. "I don’t think any of of the Republican candidates are going to raise taxes if elected." He said he was aware of Huckabee's record but noted that some of the tax hikes were mandated by a court or approved by referendum.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:10pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours