ABC News’ John Berman Reports: Standing on the banks of the chilly Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa, Mitt Romney gave a great big political bear-hug to President Bush. Praising the president’s foreign policy, Romney said, "I believe that our president has acted in good faith, and in an effort to protect his country, and do everything in his power to keep America safe."
Bush has been without majority public support for 35 months straight, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released in December, with only 33 percent approving of the president’s job performance. So, why would a candidate show so much love for a president so low in public opinion polls?
Why, to draw distinctions with his chief opponent in Iowa, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. In a piece in a "Foreign Affairs," Huckabee criticized Bush for having an "arrogant bunker mentality."
Romney apparently thinks that’s unfair," I think that Governor Huckabee made a significant error in insulting the president as being subject to an arrogant bunker mentality, he said, "that is not accurate."
He went on further to question Huckabee’s leadership credentials, "I was not impressed with his perspective on foreign policy."
Romney has been in full attack mode when it comes to Huckabee (or as his campaign would call it, full "contrast" mode.) He chooses to spend time at virtually every campaign stop, saying Huckabee has a "liberal record" on taxes, spending and crime..
Romney is trying to chip away at Huckabee’s lead here, while at the same time make himself seem like the scrappy underdog. Romney frequently says Huckabee has a 22 point lead in the polls here, even though most polls show the race much closer. Romney seems to be playing the expectations game, trying to cushion the blow if he loses here.
This, even though he has spent more time and MUCH more money in Iowa than Huckabee.