It has not been a particularly good week for Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, who spent most of it facing calls from Republicans and conservative pundits to resign over telling MSNBC that Mitt Romney did not think the individual mandate was a tax (Romney himself later corrected his senior adviser). On this morning’s Fox & Friends, however, Mike Huckabee disagreed, saying it “speaks well” of Romney to keep a loyal staffer like Fehrnstrom.
“It wasn’t Eric Fehrnstrom’s best moment,” Huckabee admitted of the interview where the adviser said it was a not a tax, given that ” the Republicans really knew they had lost the legal argument but they overwhelmingly won the political argument” precisely because of the tax message. Alisyn Camerota suggested it was possible they wanted to avoid that debate because Romneycare was very similar, though Dave Briggs replied that “a mandate from the states is legal” in a way that a federal one is not. Huckabee agreed: “he just separates and says that’s not the same thing.”
Huckabee did not think the confusion and disorganization was a staffing problem. “He’s got some people that are loyal and that he trusts,” Huckabee noted, and “you’d rather have some people around you that make mistakes from time to time” who are loyal. “Eric Fehrnstrom is a loyal member of his team– he’s not going to get rid of him, and he shouldn’t. It speaks well of Romney that he’s not going to throw him over the side,” Huckabee argued. On the health care front, Huckabee noted that “nobody say [the decision] coming” the way it did, with Chief Justice Roberts at the fore of the majority.
As for whether Romney had a personality issue, there Huckabee had some advice. “The campaigns get so insular, so afraid the candidate will be too emotional, too out there,” he argued. With Romney, they needed to “let him be who he is– he’s funny, he’s a practical joker,” and, Huckabee added, when he was free to be emotional could connect with people very well.
The segment via Fox News below:
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