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Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee on Fox News Sunday, February 27, 2011

I guess Mike Huckabee has discovered that being a mean and nasty bastard doesn't play well if you're trying to run for president. Yesterday, he went all Dan Quayle on Natalie Portman, slamming her as if she were Murphy Brown for having a child out of wedlock. And now he's trying to pretend it never happened.

Huckabee's attack on Portman was so wildly off-base that even he realizes he crossed way, way over the line. So now he's trying to walk it back by denying he ever said it in the first place. "Contrary to what the Hollywood media reported, I did not 'slam' or 'attack' Natalie Portman," Huckabee said, "nor did I criticize the hardworking single mothers in our country. My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death."

But as Greg Sargent points out, Huckabee did slam Portman:

But he did, in fact, single out Natalie Portman as an example and cause of the "glamorizing" problem. He said: "One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.'" Clearly, Huckabee was saying that celebrities who make the personal choice to be single mothers -- people like Portman -- are partly responsible for glorifying and glamorizing their choices. Huckabee is now claiming that "society" is responsible for this. But he did previously blame Portman and others like her for it, particularly when he claimed they "boast" about their choices.

Obviously, Huckabee did attack Portman, indefensibly so. And even though the premise of his attack was entirely false—Portman actually plans to wed her partner—the inaccuracy of his attack is besides the point. It's the kind of attack that never should have been made in the first place.

If Portman weren't a Obama-supporting member of the 'Hollywood elite' (bonus points: she's Jewish), Huckabee never would have gone after her. He's never said anything similar about Bristol Palin, nor should he have. But beyond the hypocrisy, with unemployment at nine percent, what the hell is Huckabee doing talking about Natalie Portman's pregnancy anyway? Short answer: He was doing the same thing he was doing when he went gay-bashing and dog-whistling to birthers. In other words, playing to his lunatic base.

Huckabee built his brand on being an affable conservative, but in less than two weeks he's managed to expose himself as a dishonest and vicious asshole. And that's one egg he's not going to be able to unscramble.

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