[O]n the ground in Iowa, which holds the first nominating contest, a pitched battle has broken out involving two lesser-known candidates who are trading accusations of religious bigotry and hypocrisy. The battle has become the most heated and personal rivalry in the Republican field.I love a good catfight. I say we settle this by taking the hottest intern from each campaign staff and making them Jello Wrestle for Jesus.
The fight is for second place in the Aug. 11 Iowa Straw poll, a traditional bellwhether that signals the strength of Republican campaigns, and it pits Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, against Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas. And it could mean life or death to either of their candidacies.
The current tensions stem from an e-mail message sent to two Brownback supporters by Rev. Tim Rude, the pastor of an evangelical church in Walnut Creek, Iowa. In the message, Mr. Rude, a Huckabee volunteer, compared the religious backgrounds of Mr. Huckabee, a Baptist pastor, and Mr. Brownback, who is Roman Catholic.
“I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002,” Mr. Rude wrote. “Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the Governor’s.”
Grasping at straw poll
The message struck some as an attempt to highlight Mr. Brownback’s Catholicism in a state with a large Protestant electorate. After the message found its way into several blogs last week, Mr. Huckabee issued a statement on Wednesday saying that his campaign neither disseminated nor condoned the message. He called Mr. Brownback a “Christian brother” and added, “As believers, we don’t have time to fight each other.”
But the matter did not end there. After the Brownback campaign cried foul, Mr. Huckabee’s campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, a Catholic, said, “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 continued, “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.”
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Okay, whose is bigger? Let's settle this once and for all...
From the Department of Remarkable Political Time-Wasters, I fully expect Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Brownback, at least in time for the August 11 straw poll, to whip 'em out to see whose Jesus is bigger: