Female candidates should be treated with a "sense of pedestal," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said during a recent interview with The New Republic while discussing a potential presidential run against Hillary Clinton.
While male adversaries are "common" in the political sphere, female opponents demand "a sense of pedestal," Huckabee told TNR reporter Nora Caplan-Bricker, according to Salon. The story on Huckabee will appear in the next issue of TNR.
Reflecting on his own experience running against female candidates, the former preacher explained that "it’s a very different approach." Huckabee beat out Democrat Charlie Cole Chaffin in the 1994 race for Arkansas lieutenant governor and later won a 2002 gubernatorial reelection campaign against Democrat Jimmie Lou Fisher.
"[F]or those of us who have some chivalry left, there’s a level of respect," Huckabee told TNR. "You treat some things as a special treasure; you treat other things as common."
"I’ll put it this way," Huckabee added, "I treat my wife very differently than I treat my chums and my pals. I wouldn’t worry about calling them on Valentine’s Day, opening the door for them, or making sure they were OK."
While the 2008 Republican presidential candidate hasn’t committed to a 2016 presidential bid, his Conservative Political Action Conference speech on Friday included a pointed criticism of Clinton's role in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi while she was serving as secretary of state.
A staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, Huckabee faced criticism in January for accusing Democrats of convincing women to rely on the government for controlling "their libidos."
"And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it," Huckabee said at a Republican National Committee meeting.
Refusing to back down from his controversial remarks, Huckabee told The New Republic he would not allow others to "dictate to me a lexicon of words I can use." Huckabee explained that limiting one's word choice means "your creativity is being stifled as a writer because it might upset someone!"