Huckabee on women: Treat female opponents as "special treasure," with "sense of pedestal"

"I treat my wife very differently than I treat my chums and my pals," ex-governor says in new interview

Published March 10, 2014 3:44PM (EDT)

  (AP/Keith Srakocic)
(AP/Keith Srakocic)

Asked about the prospect of a presidential run against Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee said that while a male opponent is “common,” a female opponent necessitates “a sense of pedestal,” according to an article in the new issue of the New Republic.

Noting his two past campaigns against female candidates, the former Arkansas governor told reporter Nora Caplan-Bricker that “it’s a very different approach,” because “for those of us who have some chivalry left, there’s a level of respect … You treat some things as a special treasure; you treat other things as common.” (The story is not yet online at TNR.)

Huckabee added, “I’ll put it this way. 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.”

After relating that exchange – held in a Starbucks near Fox News HQ – Caplan-Bricker writes, “It’s not entirely accurate to say that Huckabee’s unmediated style gets him into trouble. It’s that plus his tendency to double down during the backlashes that inevitably ensue.” As she notes, Huckabee made national news with a January speech suggesting the Democratic message to women was “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 government.” Explaining his refusal to let others “dictate to me a lexicon of words I can use,” Huckabee told Caplan-Bricker that if someone told her, “Here are some words you can and can’t use,” then “your creativity is being stifled as a writer because it might upset someone!”

Huckabee’s PAC, which backs candidates including Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial opponent Gregg Abbott, as well as incumbent senators Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander and Mike Enzi, did not immediately respond to Salon’s inquiry regarding his comments to TNR. In a Friday speech to CPAC, Huckabee expressed his “hope” that the U.S. would “repent before we ever have to receive his fiery judgement,” and called the Second Amendment “the only last resort we have in this country to protect all the other freedoms we enjoy.”

Update (3/10): Huckabee responds.

By Josh Eidelson

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