Thursday, February 24, 2011

Huckabee Defends Michelle Obama: Let's Move! Is "Exactly What Republicans Say They Believe"

Video: Potential 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says First Lady has been unfairly criticized: "I think we ought to be thanking her and praising her..."
UPDATE, Feb. 28: Huckabee voices support for the First Lady yet again, and New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie joins the con chorus of support
Former Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee (R) has been a steadfast supporter of First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts with the Let's Move! campaign since it was launched in 2010. On Wednesday, the potential presidential candidate spoke out in defense of the First Lady once again. (Above: Huckabee during his remarks)

At a reporters' breakfast in Washington, DC, sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, Huckabee didn't mention the names of Mrs. Obama's most high-profile critics, such as Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Rep. Michelle Bachmann. But he was blunt about the motives of fellow conservatives who have regularly assailed Mrs. Obama and her campaign. It gets blasted, Huckabee said, "because she is the one presenting it."

"And that is why I have been defensive of her,” Huckabee said. "She's been criticized unfairly by a lot of my fellow conservatives. I think it's out of a reflex. We don't have to believe that everything she says is bad."

"I still think her approach is the right one," Huckabee said. "I do not think that she is out there advocating that the government take over our dinner plates. In fact, she has not."

While governor, Huckabee ran his own obesity campaign after losing 100 pounds (and wrote a book about it), and he pointed out that the Let's Move! campaign has, at its core, a conservative architecture.

"It is exactly what Republicans say they believe," Huckabee said. "That you put a focus on individual responsibility. You encourage people to make good choices, and you reward them for doing so. I thought that's what we were about."

Huckabee stressed what Mrs. Obama has herself repeated over and over.

"She does not dictate what families do with their own children," Huckabee said. "She doesn't say you can't have a cookie, you can't have a birthday cake. That's not anywhere in her program."

Huckabee said that obesity is not only an economic issue, but a national security threat, something that Mrs. Obama frequently uses in her campaign rhetoric.

"75 percent of the kids who are recruit age for the military cannot pass the physical because they're obese by Army standards," Huckabee said, quoting from Too Fat to Fight, a study from Mission: Readiness, a cabal of retired military brass who support Mrs. Obama's campaign.

During a recent visit to Fort Jackson in South Carolina, Mrs. Obama was told by Army Brass that 40 percent of young recruits show up too overweight or too malnourished by Army standards.

"Rather than us condemn Michelle Obama, I think we ought to be thanking her and praising her for what she's done," Huckabee said.

The luncheon was not entirely an Obama love fest: Huckabee spoke out against President Obama's "evolving" position on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced that it will no longer support court battles over the Defense of Marriage Act.

Other Huckabee lauds...
Mrs. Obama appeared on Huckabee's Fox show in February of 2010, shortly after she launched her campaign. A statement from him appeared on a White House-released list of high-profile people lauding President Obama for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act 2010.

Huckabee last weighed in on Mrs. Obama and her campaign on Dec. 21, 2010, during a radio interview on "The Curtis Sliwa Show," after Sarah Palin told America, during a moment on her reality TV show, that Mrs. Obama doesn't want people to eat dessert.

“With all due respect to my colleague and friend Sarah Palin, I think she's misunderstood what Michelle Obama is trying to do,” Huckabee said. “Michelle Obama's not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government's desires on people. She’s stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity problem in this country...the First Lady's campaign is on target."

The audio:

*Photo by Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor; CSM video