- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee yesterday said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is dishonest and underhanded when he talks about cooperating with President Bush while doing everything he can "to ruin this man's agenda."
The blunt-talking governor, playing an increasingly visible role in the Republican Party's national affairs, attacked Mr. Daschle as a duplicitous politician whom voters could not trust. He also had bit of advice for the South Dakota Democrat, who is considering a run for the presidency: Don't bother coming to Arkansas.
"The people in the South like people who are plain-spoken and who are not disingenuous, and I think sometimes the turnoff of Daschle to the Arkansas voter is that he tries to present himself as such a reasonable, calm, quiet voice. And it belies his actions that are very partisan, that draw a clear line against the president," Mr. Huckabee told a group of reporters at a briefing here on the gubernatorial elections.
Mr. Huckabee is considered a shoo-in for re-election to a second term this fall.
His attack against Mr. Daschle is the strongest any Republican leader has leveled to date. The White House still is operating under Mr. Bush's rule to set a "new tone" in Washington.
Even when the interview turned to who could be the strongest Democratic presidential candidate against Mr. Bush in 2004, Mr. Huckabee returned to the majority leader. "I can tell you who won't run well in Arkansas and that's Tom Daschle. There's no point in him coming down," he said.
Mr. Huckabee accused Mr. Daschle and his allies in the Senate of having "blocked important judicial appointments; they've dismantled the energy bill and [blocked] some other issues, and that has been a detriment."
But he said the Democrats' rejection of U.S. District Court Judge Charles W. Pickering of Mississippi Mr. Bush's nominee to the U.S. Appeals Court would have political repercussions among Democrats in the South.
"You can't rule out that there will be a certain segment of the voting population who will understand the impact it will have on Supreme Court nominees, Court of Appeals nominees," he said.
Mr. Huckabee also said Democrats' line of defense for President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal would invalidate any attack on the divorce of Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson, who is running for a second term in Arkansas.

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