Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wasn’t going to let Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, take any of the glory.
So when the sharp-elbowed Texan, a fellow GOP presidential rival, showed up in Grayson, Ky. to meet and presumably comfort then-jailed county clerk Kim Davis, Huckabee pushed back - hard.
Davis, who has become a cause celebre among Christian conservatives for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because of her religious beliefs, was unexpectedly released - just in time for a Huckabee-organized rally in her support.
And there was Cruz, ready to take some of the spotlight. Only Huckabee, who is known for his genial demeanor, wasn’t having it. He showed he can play hardball and had his staff block Cruz from the stage and the microphone, although the Texan was able to meet privately with Davis.
“Well, this was our event,” Huckabee said today on NewsMaxTV’s Steve Malzberg Show. “My team put it together. We’re the ones who recruited the people not only to be on the program, but we’re the ones who coordinated the effort. We’re the ones who secured the permits, the staging. We had no idea Ted Cruz was going to show up until the day before and he didn’t call us, he called several other people on the program and asked about it.”
Sharp-eyed observers saw the back of Cruz’s head on MSNBC but it was the Arkansas governor who was the center of the media coverage.
“He can come, but he’s not free to come to an event that we’re putting together and invite himself on the program anymore than I could go a few weeks ago to his event in Des Moines and just show up and expect to be a speaker,” said Huckabee. He said he thought he had been “gracious” by facilitating Cruz’s meeting with Davis.
As for Cruz, asked about the episode this morning by McClatchy, he gave a small smile and said, “It was their rally. It was organized by Gov. Huckabee. I respected their right to decide who was speaking.”