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Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback said rival Mike Huckabee should apologize for a supporter’s “prejudiced whisper campaign” against him for being Catholic.

The supporter, a pastor in Windsor Heights, Iowa, sent an e-mail to Brownback supporters pointing out that Mr. Huckabee is an evangelical Protestant and Mr. Brownback is not. Mr. Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, is an ordained Baptist minister.

“I know Sen. Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002,” the Rev. Tim Rude, pastor of Walnut Creek Community Church, wrote in the e-mail. “Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the governor’s.”

In the e-mail, Mr. Rude calls Mr. Huckabee “one of us.”

Mr. Rude apologized yesterday, saying he never meant to sound critical of Catholicism, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Huckabee’s campaign did not apologize. Spokesman Eric Woolson said Mr. Rude is not a campaign staffer and was expressing a personal opinion in what he believed was a private e-mail.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or