In his home state, Huckabee has a reputation for an elephantine memory for slights and criticism. “The local cliché about him is that he is thin-skinned,” says Prof. Janine Parry, who teaches Arkansas state politics at the University of Arkansas. “And he can be mean. The national press hasn’t seen much of that. So far he’s kept it under control.
“Huckabee, on one wellremembered occasion, banned an alternative newspaper, The Arkansas Times, from the services of the governor’s press office. His usual weapon, though, has been his sharp tongue. Huckabee is never profane — one of his first acts as governor was to ban swearing and inappropriate sexual remarks by his staff — but he has a way of expressing himself that sometimes flirts with vulgarity. “Once he told a group of journalists that I was constipated,” John Brummett recalls. “That was his way of saying I was full of [expletive].”
This fall, Huckabee demonstrated his style in an interview with The Washington Times. Assailing Hillary Clinton for failing to denounce MoveOn.org’s attack on Gen. David Petraeus, he said, “If you can’t get your lips off the backside of George Soros long enough to use those lips to say it’s wrong to declare a sitting general . . . guilty of treason, how would you ever expect to have the support of the very military you might have to send into deadly battle?”