ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Matthew Zavala Report: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., stepped up his attacks on a GOP rival’s authenticity Sunday, saying that Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest he was a lifelong hunter even though he never took out a license.
"I think it was a major mistake," Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said on CBS’ "Face the Nation." "It would be like me saying I’ve been a lifelong golfer because I played putt-putt when I was 9 years old and I rode in a golf cart a couple of times."
"I think American people are looking for authenticity," Huckabee added. "Match their record with their rhetoric."
Huckabee’s Sunday comments about Romney were his most explicit to date. Previously, Huckabee’s attacks on his rival’s authenticity have been accomplished without naming names.
When speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 2, Huckabee took a thinly veiled swipe at Romney for only recently joining the National Rifle Association.
"I’m not a latecomer to the NRA," said Huckabee, adding to laughter and applause: "I was the first governor in America to have a concealed carry permit, so don’t mess with me."
Romney found himself on the defensive last week after he said on the campaign trail that he has been a hunter nearly all his life. The next day, his campaign said Romney had gone hunting only twice in his life. Officials in the four states where Romney has lived told the Associated Press that he never took out a license.
Romney explained later that his staff was wrong and that he had hunted rabbits, rodents, and varmints, mainly in Utah, where hunting certain small game does not require a license.
"The report that I only hunted twice is incorrect," Romney said in a statement issued Friday. "I’ve hunted small game numerous times, as a young man and as an adult. I’m by no means a big-game hunter. I’m more Jed Clampett than Teddy Roosevelt," he said, contrasting the Rough Rider with the character from the "Beverly Hillbillies."