Fox denies making ultimatum to Huckabee

Fox News denied that it has given former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) a deadline of the end of May to decide whether to run for president.

A senior Fox official disputed a report Thursday by Real Clear Politics that Huckabee has been given a deadline of the end of May to decide whether to enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination, which would prompt him to forfeit his lucrative contract with the network.

"There is no truth whatsoever to this report," said Bill Shine, the executive vice president of programming for Fox.

At issue is the relationship between Fox and a number of Republicans who are thinking of running for office. Several candidates or possible candidates had signed as contributors with Fox, which means they're paid for their appearances on the network.

Fox suspended former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) from their contributor roles in early March after judging both were likely to run for president. Both ultimately have taken steps forward with their campaigns for the GOP nomination, and both still appear sporadically on Fox, albeit in an unpaid capacity.

Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) both remain on the payroll, though, despite the fact that both might run for president.

The former Arkansas governor polls at the top of most surveys of Republican primary voters, but a number of political observers have speculated he might not decide to run. Huckabee's done a great deal of work to dispel the notion he might not run, and has said he'll decide whether to run in the summer.

To that end, he similarly denied that Fox has at all limited his decision-making process.

"The governor has been clear — his timeline for a decision is this summer and that has not changed," said Hogan Gidley, his spokesman, on Thursday. "Fox is aware of the governor's timetable and he is aware of his limitations in considering another run."