Spin Cycle

Why Mike Huckabee Vouced for Mitt’s Mormonism

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

Mike Huckabee says it was the elephant in the room.

The former Arkansas governor tells me in a video interview that he mentioned Mitt Romney's religion in his Republican convention speech because "a lot of people had this narrative that evangelicals are not going to vote for a Mormon, that somehow that makes it suspect. I think we have to talk about it."

Huckabee repeated to me his line—picked up by Maureen Dowd—that you don't care if your neurosurgeon is a jerk if your life is at stake.

"I think Mitt's likable, but this isn't a personality contest," he says. Romney should just cheerfully concede that he is "a little bit stiff, a little bit buttoned up."

In his speech, Huckabee joked that he could hear Debbie Wasserman Schultz's voice from the next hotel. The Democratic chairwoman told me earlier on Beast TV that Huckabee "isn't familiar with the voice of a strong woman ... He has a real problem when it comes to women."

Huckabee responded to the strong woman comment: "Have you ever met my wife?" He added that "you can't go getting your feelings hurt every time someone makes fun of you."

Finally, the Fox News host says he has no regrets about not mounting a second presidential bid. Broadcasting, he says, "is a little easier than going out there and getting clobbered every day by all the people who have a microphone."