Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee defended his failure to read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in early December, joking in an interview Monday that President Bush didn’t read intelligence reports for four years.
Huckabee came under fire in early December when, in response to a reporter’s question about the Iran report, Huckabee said he wasn’t aware of it. Huckabee’s lack of familiarity with the National Intelligence Estimate — a report that showed Iran had discontinued its nuclear program — provided fuel for his critics who said he was a lightweight on foreign policy.On top of the briefings about Britney and 'Dancing with the Stars'.
“The whole perception was based on an ambush question on the NIE report,” Huckabee said in an interview Monday with the Quad-City Times. “From there, it was like, ‘Wow.’ That was released at 10 o’clock in the morning. At 5:30 in the afternoon, somebody says, ‘Have you read the report?’ Maybe I should’ve said, ‘Have you read the report?’ President Bush didn’t read it for four years; I don’t know why I should read it in four hours.”
His comment about President Bush appears to be a reference to allegations made by Bush’s critics that Bush didn’t pay close enough attention to intelligence reports, particularly in the early years of his presidency.
When asked to clarify, Huckabee said this:
“The point I’m trying to make is that, on the campaign trail, nobody’s going to be able, if they’ve been campaigning as hard as we have been, to keep up with every single thing, from what happened to Britney last night to who won ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ ”
He said the campaign learned from the criticism related to the Iran report and now he gets regular briefings about developments in foreign policy.
The NIE had been out for 30 hours. Not only hadn't Huckabee read it, he didn't know what it was.
Why is this guy running?