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Huckabee continues to take heat — from all the right places?

Mike Huckabee -- Reconciliation

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee needed a shot in the arm if he hoped to break back into the top four or five of the GOP primary race, especially as a previous winner of the Iowa Republican Caucus. As one well-known political commentator pointed out last week: “Huck is stuck.”

Topic A LogoWell, he’s stuck no more.

Following a scathing rebuke of the Iran nuclear deal, in which he made reference to the Jewish Holocaust during World War II, he’s been attacked for the “insensitivity” of those comments. Fortunately for Huckabee, those complaints are coming from all the right places, including — according to conventional wisdom — from Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann.

Except Kaufmann isn’t upset about the Iran nuclear deal comments, though (well, at least not publicly). He’s more upset about Huckabee dropping out of the Iowa Straw Poll, and he hasn’t gotten over it, even slightly. In an interview with Tim Alberta of National Journal, he blames Huckabee for the death of the quadrennial event, which is the biggest RPI fundraiser each presidential election cycle.

“It just defies common sense that you would criticize the very entity that had brought you into the national spotlight, brought you into a situation where you could have your own show on national TV, that you would say something that completely and utterly contradicts what you’d said four years earlier,” Kaufmann said. “I’ve heard a lot of sadness about the straw poll, and disappointment that it’s not going to occur. I haven’t heard any anger about it — except for Mike Huckabee’s op-ed piece. People felt, and are still feeling, anger about that … He’s got some explaining to do. And I don’t know that he fully appreciates the damage he’s done. Because it was really a low blow.”

Although there’s plenty of blame to go around (one could point to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s comment that the Straw Poll needed to go) Kaufmann may be right, though. For an immensely popular former winner, Huckabee has seemingly found it all but impossible to recapture the enthusiasm his campaign found so easy to obtain just eight years ago. If Huckabee fails to land in to the top four or five in Iowa — assuring the end of his campaign — many will have to point back to his decision to very publicly skip out on the event that put him literally where he’s at today.