Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) came down hard on Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) Monday, saying Perry's stance on Social Security has hurt his campaign and may undercut his chances for success in a general election.
The Fox News host and 2008 presidential candidate said on The Laura Ingraham Show that he thinks former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) endorsed former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) over Perry because Romney is more electable.
"Rick likes to come across as the straight-shooting, blunt-talking guy, and that works very well in Texas and it will work very well in what I call the 'hardcore center' of the Republican primary," Huckabee said. "But when you have to branch out and get to those younger voters and general election voters, I’m not sure how it's going to play out.”
Ever since Perry once again likened Social Security to a Ponzi scheme in a Republican presidential debate last week, both sides of the aisle have gone after those remarks as proof that Perry would try to take away benefits that seniors have come to depend on. His Republican rivals have used that to make their case that general election voters would be more likely to choose them than Perry over President Obama.
Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and was widely discussed as a potential presidential candidate in 2012, but declined to run, citing personal reasons.
As an evangelical minister and former southern state governor, he appeals to a similar base of support as Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R). If Huckabee were to endorse Romney over Perry or Bachmann, it would likely say more about his lack of confidence in those two candidates than his support for Romney.