Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who had a reputation for wit during his campaign for president, thanked the "elite media" Wednesday "for doing something that, quite frankly, I wasn't sure could be done, and that's unifying the Republican Party and all of America in support of Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin."
"The reporting of the past few days has proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert," he said.
A former Baptist minister who won the Iowa caucuses, Huckabee bowed out of the presidential race in March after John McCain clinched the Republican nomination.
Huckabee, who plays bass guitar in a band, ran an upbeat, joke-telling presidential campaign.
In his speech to the Republican National Convention, he balanced the story of his own modest beginnings with a mix of humor and sharp attacks.
"Barack Obama's excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don't even vote or pay taxes here," Huckabee said. "But let me hasten to say that it's not what he took there that concerns me. It's what he brought back: European ideas that give the government the chance to grab even more of our liberty and destroy our hard-earned livelihood."
Huckabee said McCain "doesn't want the kind of change that allows the government to reach even deeper into your paycheck and pick your pocket, your doctor, your child's school or even the kind of car you drive — or tell you how much you have to inflate your tires."
Huckabee, who opposes abortion, offered red-meat rhetoric on social issues.
McCain, he said, "doesn't want to change the definition of marriage. And, unlike the Democratic ticket, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin believe that every human life has intrinsic worth and value from the moment of conception."