POLITICS

Anti-Mormon Calls Causing Infighting, Trouble Within GOP Field

03/28/2008 02:45 am 02:45:29 | Updated May 25, 2011

Days after anti-Mormon phone calls were first reported in New Hampshire and Iowa, the source behind the calls remains a mystery, causing speculation and infighting between the campaigns.

Even with evidence suggesting that, in a bit of political schadenfreude, Romney's people may have undertaken the endeavor - in hopes of casting his Mormonism in a sympathetic light - focus has shifted to the other GOP candidates.

One name increasingly thrown around among Republican insiders is the guy nipping at Romney's heels in the Iowa polls: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

"Who has the most to gain by this," one operative told the Huffington Post. "It's Huckabee. If Romney were to fall he would be the conservative option to Rudy Giuliani."

A source with another Republican presidential campaign added fuel to the fire by pointing out that the Huckabee's statement on the matter - "The Huckabee campaign does not condone this type of activity" - isn't exactly an "outright" denial.

"Of course it is a denial," Huckabee's spokesperson, Alice Stewart, told the Huffington Post. Moreover, it's worth noting that few if any political connections have surfaced linking the former governor and Western Wats, the company that made the calls.

Other candidates have been equally adamant in insisting their non-involvement. Romney's campaign, for its part, has come out forcefully against speculation that the Mormon candidate could behind the anti-Mormon calls.

"That's preposterous," Romney's spokesman, Kevin Madden, told The Politico. "Emphatically, I reject any insinuation that we would support phone calls attacking our own campaign," he added to the Salt Lake Tribune.

And so, general confusion over who's to blame persists. Still, there is one consensus emerging: that the guilty party would be better served getting it out into the open now rather than as the primary approaches.

"If it was Huckabee or someone else like Romney, they would be better off cutting their losses and saying they were sorry the day before Thanksgiving rather than Christmas eve," a Republican pollster told the Huffington Post. "Because if the Attorney General in New Hampshire does investigate this, and they don't need to do a lot to investigate - it could get messy."

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