WASHINGTON — Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee doesn't yet know if he wants to run again — but there is one thing he does know. He didn't like running last time against Mitt Romney.
"I don’t know whether or not I have a future in politics. I'm not being coy. But it's silly, before we even inaugurate the 44th president, to be talking about the 45th,” Huckabee said Wednesday at a breakfast with reporters where he pitched his new book, Do the Right Thing.
He takes aim at former rival Romney in the book, calling him a free-spending flip-flopper without the class to personally concede the night Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses.
"There was obvious tension, not just with me but with every candidate," Huckabee said over a breakfast with reporters.
In the book, the former Arkansas goernor blasted Romney for switching from abortion rights supporter to abortion rights foe just in time for the campaign.
"I would be more inclined to accept his change as genuine rather than politically expedient if he hadn't changed on so many issues at once — abortion, homosexual rights, gun control, the Bush tax cuts, campaign finance reform, and his appreciation for President Reagan’s legacy, which he ran from in 1994 and clung to in 2007," Huckabee wrote.
"He spent more time on the road to Damascus than a Syrian camel driver. And we thought nobody could fill John Kerry's flip-flops."
At another point, he noted acidly that Romney changed his comment that he'd once owned guns. "Any of you out there not sure if you own a gun? I didn't think so," Huckabee wrote.
He took it as a personal affront when Romney once noted that he was the only Republican presidential candidate still married to his first wife. (McCain is on his second marriage, Rudy Giuliani, his third.)
"When I pointed out that Janet was my first and only wife of over 33 years, he retorted, 'Well, of the major candidates,' " Huckabee said.
He noted that when he won the Iowa caucuses, rivals John McCain and Rudy Giuliani both called to personally congratulate him.
"The call from Romney never came," Huckabee writes, "which we took as a sign of total disrespect, something that would continue to be a source of angst among our team even though we had grown used to this kind of treatment from the Romney camp."
Romney could not be reached for comment.
At the breakfast, Huckabee stressed that the book covers much more than just his icy relationship with Romney.
Among the other things he talked about:
The economy: He feels "somewhat vindicated" for saying in a 2007 primary debate at Dearborn, Mich., that working people were feeling squeezed. He was criticized by the right at the time for "talking down" the economy.
On John McCain's campaign: McCain faced an “extraordinary headwind” but that the race was still winnable. The key turning point? He said McCain should have opposed the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.
On his continued primary challenge to McCain after it was clear McCain would win: "I was the best thing he had going. He should have given me some of his delegates" to keep their duel going and drawing media coverage that kept McCain's name in the news as Obama and Clinton otherwise dominated the spring.
On whether Barack Obama should name Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State: "She would do a good job." He likened the long interview process to a teasing courtship, akin to a boy knocking on a girl's door twice. "He better ask her to the dance."
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