Mike Huckabee: GOP Gadfly

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Southern, courtly, and an ordained Baptist minister, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was the candidate of choice for social conservatives in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries. He may very well try again in 2012. So why, in the span of a week, has he emerged as designated Republican to critcize other Republicans. Huckabee has called the furor over President Obama's ties to Rev. Jeremiah Wright "misplaced" and said conservative criticisms of First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity program (and her waistline) originated "out of a reflex, rather than out of a thoughtful expression."

The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz takes it as a sign Huckabee isn't running in 2012. Huckabee, Kurtz argues, has a distaste for the process "of running for office and would rather give "a candid answer [to questions], not one calibrated to play well in Iowa and New Hampshire."

There's also the possibility Huckabee has always been a maverick in reliable Republican's clothes. His recent comments defending Rev. Wright echo remarks he made on Morning Joe in 2008 praising then-Senator Obama for handling the flap "about as well as anybody could... Sermons, after all, are rarely written word-for-word by pastors like Rev. Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you'd say, 'Well, I didn't mean to say it quite like that.'"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.