ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: Fast-rising Mike Huckabee took a swipe at Mitt Romney on Wednesday for allegedly having used a lawn service firm which employs illegal immigrants.
"I guess Mitt Romney would rather keep people out of college so they can keep working on his lawn," said Huckabee while appearing on the Fox News Channel.
Huckabee’s shot at Romney came when the former Arkansas governor was asked about criticism he has received from Romney for backing an unsuccessful proposal in Arkansas to offer college scholarships to the children of illegal immigrants.
The campaigns of both Romney and Fred Thompson see Huckabee’s record on "tuition breaks for the children of illegal immigrants" as key to their hopes of slowing his momentum in Iowa, a state where anti-illegal immigration passions run high.
A new CBS/New York Times poll shows Huckabee just six percentage points behind Romney despite the former Massachusetts governor’s substantial fundraising lead (Romney 27, Huckabee 21, Giuliani 15, Thompson 9).
Huckabee has defended his record on the "tuition break" issue by saying it is unfair to punish children for things their parents did. His detractors have painted it as a proposal that would have rewarded law-breaking and encouraged additional illegal immigration.
Romney’s decade-long use of a lawn service firm which "relies heavily" on illegal immigrants was first reported by the Boston Globe on Dec. 1, 2006.