Huckabee Confronts His Past Comments About AIDS

Huckabee has stated via his campaign's Web site that if elected, his administration would be the first ever to support a comprehensive program to battle the disease -- "with a partnership between the public and private sectors that will provide necessary financing and a realistic path toward our goals."

In that same 1992 questionnaire, Huckabee wrote that "homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."

Saturday in North Carolina, Huckabee stood his ground and said he believed that homosexuality is sinful and is not normal behavior; that it "is outside the boundaries of man/woman relationship and its tradition of marriage."

As far as it being a health risk, as he believed in the 1992 survey, he backed off just a bit.

"There are lots of obvious changes in what we understand about transmission today that we didn't understand in 1992," he said.

Huckabee's views were at odds with the majority of Americans at the time. In a University of Michigan study from November 1992, 61 percent of Americans favored increased federal funding for AIDS research, 29 percent said it should be kept at the same level and 8 percent said it should be decreased. And in an April 1991 Harris poll, only 14 percent of Americans agreed that AIDS patients should be quarantined "to keep them away from the general public"; 85 percent disagreed.

Huckabee's rise in the polls has been followed by increased scrutiny by opponents and the media. Two days after the Des Moines Register proclaimed him first in its Iowa poll, the former Baptist minister was unable to answer any questions about the recent National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iran had suspended its nuclear program. More than a day after the NIE had been released, Huckabee not only hadn't read it, he hadnt even heard about it.

In Columbus, Ohio, Friday, former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., slammed his GOP rival.

"Not only is Iran the major long-term threat to our country, the nuclear program is the most important part of the Iran consideration," Thompson said. "For a presidential candidate not to know that and not to keep up with that is very surprising. These are the kinds of things I've been talking about all of my life."

Thompson then took direct aim at Huckabee, who despite meager campaign funds and a skeletal campaign staff, leads Thompson in polls of Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"If the American people have other priorities, if they want someone who smiles a lot more than I do, or someone who is a better quipster than I am, who has no experience in these areas, that's for the American people to decide," Thompson said.

ABC News' Gary Langer contributed to this report.

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