(Politico) — Mike Huckabee is going against the grain of conservative pundits and potential 2012 rivals who are merciless in attacking the Obamas, taking a softer tack as he defends the first couple on issues like healthy eating and the president’s citizenship.
While conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh trashed First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy-eating initiative — one of her few forays into public policy — as an effort to have a government-run food program, Huckabee went the other way.
“I do not think she’s out there advocating that the government take over our dinner plates,” Huckabee, who’s been open about his own battles with weight and diabetes, said last week. “In fact, she’s not. She’s been criticized unfairly by a lot of my fellow conservatives.”
On the so-called birther issue, Huckabee described doubts over the president’s citizenship as an “obsession” and a “waste of time.”
And he yoked debate over the president’s religion at conservative fringes to the attacks Obama faced in 2008 regarding his flame-throwing former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
“If people went back and heard every sermon I heard when I was a little kid and some of the more fundamentalist pastors were yelling from the pulpit at me, if they took every one of those sermons and lifted out of them certain phrases and things, it could be scandalous, but only out of the context of the bigger picture,” he told Christianity Today.
Huckabee has also said the Obamas provide a model of a good family, and has lauded the president as a loving father and husband.