The 'Liberal', NEA-backed Mike Huckabee
When is getting an education endorsement not a good thing?
When you're a Republican, and you get the approval of a state affiliate of the National Education Association.
About a month ago, my colleague and Campaign K-12 contributor Alyson Klein wondered whether Mike Huckabee's endorsement by the New Hampshire affiliate of the NEA would help him win his party's nomination.
Well, someone finally used it as ammunition in a debate.
Last night, at the South Carolina debate televised on Fox News, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson included that NEA endorsement in a list of other perceived Republican sins (like raising taxes) that Huckabee has supposedly committed. Sen. Thompson said: [Huckabee] has the endorsement of the National Education Association, and the NEA said it was because of his opposition to vouchers.”
Update: Read the transcript for yourself.
To clarify Sen. Thompson's comments, what Huckabee had was the endorsement of the New Hampshire affiliate—the granddaddy-of-them-all national NEA hasn't endorsed anyone in the presidential race yet. It's worth noting, again, that Huckabee was the only Republican candidate to even speak to the NEA convention last summer (video included below.)
Still, this debate would have been an excellent time for Huckabee to clarify his position on vouchers. But he didn't.