WASHINGTON -- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is so fed up with the anti-Republican "War on Women" narrative that he went on a rant Thursday, accusing Democrats of trying to convince women they need the government to help them "control their libidos."
"Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women," Huckabee told his audience at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting in downtown Washington. "That's not a war on them. It's a war for them. 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, a former preacher and 2008 Republican presidential candidate, was referring to the provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires most employers to cover the full range of contraception in their health insurance plans. Many Republicans argue that employers should be allowed to refuse to provide such coverage on moral grounds, and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh called one women's health activist a "slut" for advocating for contraception coverage.
Huckabee told GOP leaders on Thursday that women are "outraged" when Democrats paint them as nothing but "victims of their gender."
"Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication," he said. "Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything that anybody else can do."
The "War on Women" charge against the GOP refers to Republicans' opposition to equal pay legislation; repeated attacks on family planning funding and legal abortion; lack of women in leadership roles; controversial comments about women, rape and birth control; and push to leave it to employers to decide whether contraception should be part of health insurance plans. Presidential nominee Mitt Romney's loss in 2012 and the major gender gap in the voting booth have been attributed to the GOP's poor reputation among women voters.
Still, this week the Republican National Committee is considering a resolution that would urge Republican candidates to speak out more aggressively on the subject of abortion.
Huckabee had made similar comments on his radio show Sunday. "It doesn't help that some of the supposed rock stars of Republican consulting tell candidates not to even discuss issues like the sanctity of life for fear of offending women voters," he said.
Huckabee added on Sunday, "For Democrats to reduce women to beggars for cheap government-funded birth control is demeaning to the women that I know who are far more complicated than their libido and the management of their reproductive system."
White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about Huckabee's comments at his daily briefing on Thursday. A reporter read aloud the quote about women's libidos.
"Whoever said it sounds offensive to me, and to women," Carney replied.