Even before the revelation about his incendiary 1992 views on AIDS policy, Huckabee was facing questions about whether he will be a durable candidate and is prepared for commander-in-chief responsibilities.
The scrutiny has been harsh, leading some Republicans to wonder if Huckabee peaked too soon.
This week in Iowa, he left reporters agape when he said he had not heard about an intelligence report on Iran that had been dominating newscasts and front pages for two days. He later blamed his staff.
Perhaps more damagingly, he has not warded off questions about his role in the 1999 parole of a rapist, supported by Arkansas pastors, who went on to kill a mother of three.
Saturdays are typically slow news days –but not the Saturday before absentee ballots are available in New Hampshire.
As Huckabee leaners shudder and bolt –whether over the quarantine, the DuMond case, or Huckanomics— where will they go? Nobody knows, but it was a very good thing for Romney to have given a great speech just as the Huckabee campaign hit the wall.
UPDATE: Governor Huckabee has issued a statement about his proposed quarantine of AIDs patients that includes these graphs:
At the time, there was widespread concern over modes of transmission and the possibility of epidemic. In the absence of conclusive data, my focus was on efforts to limit the exposure of the virus, following traditional medical practices developed from our public health experience and medical science in dealing with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
We now know that the virus that causes AIDS is spread differently, with a lower level of contact than with TB. But looking back almost 20 years, my concern was the uncertain risk to the general population-if we got it wrong, many people would die needlessly. My concern was safety first, political correctness last.
Others with much better knowledge of what was known about HIV/AIDs at the time will review this closely, but the Clintonesque “almost 20 years ago” to refer to 1992 was not a good choice by Team Huckabee.