THE FIGHT FOR AMES
From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The Huckabee campaign is hitting back at Brownback,
telling him to "stop whining," start showing some "Christian character"
and questions whether or not he's "tough enough to be President." Yesterday, Brownback's campaign complained that
Huckabee did not explicitly apologize for what they called an
"anti-Catholic" e-mail sent out by a Huckabee supporter. What the
Huckabee campaign had said was
they were "glad" the supporter "issued an apology" and his comments
"were not authorized by, disseminated by, approved by, or condoned by
the Huckabee people are taking off the reins, saying Brownback's
"silly" call for an apology "is nonsense," and they wonder why after
Huckabee's statement yesterday, Brownback "continued to cry about it."
a lifelong Catholic, I was taught that when a person apologized, we
were to forgive him and go forward," Huckabee Campaign Manager Chip Saltsman writes, "not shop for other apologies from people not even involved in the original sin."
Here's the full Huckabee statement:
"It's time for Sam Brownback to stop whining and start showing some of the Christian character he seems to always find lacking in others. He has attacked Governor Huckabee for something that a Huckabee supporter said in an email sent to two individuals. The person who originated the email has apologized and is not a member of the Huckabee staff.
"For Brownback to claim that the Governor 'owes him an apology' is nonsense and indicates that if Brownback is going to fall to pieces every time a supporter of the Governor says something he doesn't like, he clearly isn't tough enough to be President. The Governor strongly disavowed the statement by the supporter, but that wasn't enough for Brownback. He continued to cry about it. The irony is that unlike Senator Brownback, I have been a Catholic my entire life, as have several of the senior staff members in the Huckabee campaign. Governor Huckabee enjoys strong support from Catholics and for good cause. If Senator Brownback wants to start apologizing for inappropriate things said, perhaps he could pull the 'beam out of his own eye before taking the speck out of someone else's' by apologizing for the website 'Baptists for Brownback' that states that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Fred Thompson and others are 'Hell bound.'
"We don't condone or support attacks on people for their faith--whether it comes from our supporters or from his. Senator Brownback surely has better things to do than police the private emails of a single supporter who said things for which he later apologized and which should have been sufficient for most Christians to accept. As a lifelong Catholic, I was taught that when a person apologized, we were to forgive him and go forward, not shop for other apologies from people not even involved in the original sin. It's time for these silly accusations to stop and for all of us to focus on leading the country and solving problems that the American people care about."
**** UPDATE **** The Brownback campaign released a statement this afternoon in response, calling Saltsman's statement "hysterical" and said they had contacted the Huckabee campaign privately to stop what they called an "anti-Catholic whisper campaign." But after two days, Brownback Iowa Communications Director John Rankin said the Huckabee campaign did not respond.
And the Brownback camp maintains that Huckabee's apologetic original response "lacked a clear denunciation" of the e-mail.
"We are saddened that the Huckabee campaign has criticized Senator Brownback for calling out an anti-Catholic whisper campaign for what it was," Rankin writes.
The Brownback campaign called the Baptists for Brownback Web site "a spoof site with no ties to the Brownback campaign."
Rankin added that "In the final week before the Ames straw poll, Senator Brownback wants to focus on the issues that Iowa Republicans care about" -- listing the war in Iraq, abortion, gay marriage and appointing "strict contructionist judges." But he didn't miss a chance to follow with another attack -- on Huckabee's tax record.