Although Republican presidential candidates took the gloves off for their candidates debate on NBC this morning, they handled him with kid gloves in the ABC debate Saturday night, in the eyes of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“If last night was a NASCAR race, Mitt Romney had a couple of laps on everybody, and all he had to do was keep from hitting the wall. And I would say this, when his car came off the track last night there was no dents in it,” Huckabee said during an interview with George Stephanopoulos this morning on ABC’s “This Week.”
Huckabee’s comparison of the GOP presidential cycle to a race car oval came after Stephanopoulos, one of three posing questions Saturday night in what some critics said was a snoozer of a debate, asked Huckabee: “Did you see anything last night to slow Mitt Romney down?”
Continuing the race lingo, Huckabee added, “It was one of those kind of unexpected debates, because I think everybody thought that it was going to be a pile-up and that Mitt Romney's car would be right in middle of it, but it appeared that everybody was a little hesitant, if not timid, in going after him directly. And I think everyone who watched the debate was surprised by that.
When Stephanopolous asked Huckabee for an explanation, the influential former Republican presidential candidate said, “You know, I don't explain it. It's inexplicable to me that a person who is clearly the front-runner who has leads not only in New Hampshire, but surprisingly in South Carolina, who could well be on his way to running the tables in the first several states and if that happens, it's going to be very difficult to catch up to him, because it will create an imbalance in not only the financial contributions, but a sense of the momentum. And the media has lot to do with driving the sense of the inevitable.”
It was critical for Romney’s rivals to “dent up his car a little bit and stay close to his fender. They just didn't do it.”
However, the opponents, particularly Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, launched a few salvos during the “Meet the Press” Facebook debate
this morning. Sparks flew aftermoderator David Gregory started the debate by asking them to answer why Romney shouldn’t be president.
Although many conservatives are worried that their votes will be divided among Gingrich, Santorum, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Huckabee told Stephanopolous that he doesn’t anticipate conservatives’ gathering around one single candidate.
“You have people heavily invested in each of these candidates,” Huckabee said. “Nobody’s going to work this hard to get this far and suddenly just exit the stage because someone suggested they ought to.”
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