CNN is currently running with this short report on former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, with a somewhat breathless headline. It seems that for the Baptist preacher turned pol, the "abortion issue trumps all":
Several likely GOP presidential candidates have spent the bulk of their time stressing fiscal and economic issues, but Mike Huckabee said Monday that for him the issue of abortion still trumps all other pressing concerns facing the country.
"For me this is an issue that - as I've said before - it transcends all of the political issues," Huckabee said at a fundraiser in Tennessee for the Center for Bioethical Reform, an anti-abortion group.
"I've often said I would gladly lose an election before I would ever yield on the issue of the sanctity of human life," Huckabee added.
Despite the way CNN is framing this, for most Americans -- as well as most potential GOP presidential candidates -- choosing between social issues and the economy isn't likely to be an either/or proposition. It's somewhat interesting that Huckabee is saying this in light of Indiana governor and rumored presidential candidate Mitch Daniels's comments about a "truce" on social issues. However, even Daniels has a good pro-life record as governor, and I doubt his truce would extend to doing anything truly radical and alienating to Republicans on the issue, such as considering appointing pro-abortion justices.
At the same time, Huckabee's fiscal record as a governor isn't the greatest, and given our fiscal problems, this election is going to be a green eye-shade moment. Huckabee's charm and goodwill among Republican primary voters might fade quickly if the debate stays focused on fiscal issues. The media always like to play-up internal GOP rifts and it might be to Huckabee's advantage to capitalize on any tension here -- even if it's a debate largely created and fueled by the press.