The Washington Times - February 10, 2012, 10:40AM

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee expressed solidarity with a growing movement by the U.S. Catholic bishops to fight President Obama’s new mandate that religious institutions pay for their workers’ birth control, telling a gathering of conservative activists Friday that  “we’re all Catholics now.”

Echoing a theme that has dominated the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week Washington, the 2008 Republican presidential hopeful told the gathering that Mr. Obama has “trampled all over the Constitution” with the mandate.

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“I remember very vividly when John F. Kennedy said that we are all Berliners, but in many ways, thanks to President Obama, we are all Catholics now, we are all standing together,” said Mr. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister.

“You know, growing up a Baptist in the South I never thought I’d see the day when I would stand in front of several thousand people and say ‘We’re all Catholic.’”

Amid speculation that the Obama White House was preparing a new compromise proposal designed to tamp down the political fury, Mr. Huckabee added the president has done more to rally the Republican Party base than any of the current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls.

“I want to say a great big thank you to President Obama. … You have done more than any person in the entire GOP field, [than] any candidate has done, to bring this party to unity and energize this party as a result of your attack on religious liberty,” he said.

Mr. Huckabee was the opening speaker on the second day of the three-day CPAC event at the Washington Marrott Wardman Park hotel — one of the premier annual gatherings of conservatives in the country.