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Huckabee responds to Brownback

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
As we reported in First Read this morning, Brownback -- who has been perhaps the sharpest attacker of the rest of the GOP field in the run up to the Ames straw poll -- called on Huckabee to apologize for what Brownback said were anti-Catholic e-mails sent by Huckabee supporter the Rev. Tim Rude. Huckabee just issued a statement saying he is "glad" Rude issued an apology, but stopped short of offering an explicit apology of his own. He added, "As believers, we don't have time to fight each other."

**** UPDATE **** The Brownback campaign sent out another e-mail an hour and a half after Huckabee's statement, still calling for an apology from Huckabee. They say they saw Huckabee's remarks last night, don't consider it an apology and think the Huckabee campaign is "sidestepping the issue."

Huckabee's statement "said he's glad Rude apologized, not that Governor Huckabee or his campaign apologizes," a Brownback campaign spokesman said. "Our question is, Governor Huckabee himself, does he think what Pastor Rude himself says was wrong? Do they agree that the substance of his remarks were prejudiced, anti-Catholic or inappropriate?"

Here's the Huckabee statement:

"We are glad that Rev. Rude issued an apology and clarification for his comments. They were not authorized by, disseminated by, approved by, or condoned by the campaign. Our campaign enjoys strong support from Catholics as well as evangelicals, and for that matter, from people whose support is not faith-based at all. I have spoken in Catholic churches and maintained a strong relationship with Christian brothers and sisters from many denominations.
"While I'm deeply grateful that many people of faith support me because they know I represent views compatible with theirs, I know that there are many others who support me because of an effective record of achieving results. Either way, I'm grateful for the support.
"I consider Sam Brownback a Christian brother and know that he feels likewise toward me. Like Senator Brownback, several key members of my staff are Roman Catholic. As believers, we don't have time to fight each other. We need to focus on having a servant's spirit and bringing hope to those who have given up."