During a relatively unnoticed speech in early November, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said he found it "deplorable" and "shameful" that his fellow Republicans were attacking the president for even the most trivial or well-intentioned matters.
Appearing before the Hudson Union Society to discuss his forthcoming book, "A Simple Christmas", Huckabee took umbrage with the criticism levied by some conservatives over Obama's visit to Dover Air Force base to see the coffins of returning soldiers.
When he [Barack Obama] was at Dover the other day, and went there to pay respect for soldiers, I heard a lot of people on the Right say "Aw, that's just a cheap photo-op." No, I think it was the Commander-in-Chief of our military paying respect to a dead soldier, and I'm grateful that he did that, and I was proud of him for doing that. And I think we all -- as Americans -- should give him credit for doing that.
When he and Michele hosted the tricker-treaters on Halloween, quit finding something wrong with that. Say "Good, I'm glad that he and the First Lady are treating children to an experience at the White House." And I just find it deplorable that some people on my end of the aisle want to find everything wrong and nothing right about the man as a man.
The underlying point, Huckabee concluded, was that knee-jerk criticism to the president was counter-productive to civil debate. "I hated it when people did that to George Bush," he said. "They couldn't even laugh at the man's jokes they found something wrong with everything and if we do that to Barack Obama, then shame on us, shame on us. No wonder our country is so divided when that happens."
The remarks are fairly vintage Huckabee -- who, for all the firebrand conservative talking points he espouses, has maintained a image and reputation for Southern amiability. It also seems likely to spur even greater anger at his politics among the die-hard conservatives who regarded him with suspicion in 2008. As the conservative site GOP12 -- which first posted on the exchange -- pointed out, Huckabee's remarks came one day after Rush Limbaugh appeared on Fox News Sunday, during which he criticized Obama for his trip to Dover.
The video of the Huckabee exchange can be viewed here. It starts at roughly the 25 minute mark.