ABC News' Michael Falcone reports
Once bitter enemies, Mike Huckabee appears to be cozying up to Mitt Romney, offering a strongly-worded defense of Romney's time at Bain Capital.
In his latest newsletter to supporters, Huckabee lashes out at fellow Republicans who, he says, have embraced a "leftwing argument against capitalism."
"Romney has come under a lot of fire for Bain Capital's investments in some companies that were then scaled down with layoffs to become profitable," the former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate writes. "That's been demonized thoroughly by the media as corporate raiding, But it's surprising to see so many Republicans embrace that leftwing argument against capitalism."
His comments come just two days before he is set to host Romney and the other GOP candidates at a forum in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday.
Earlier on Thursday, in an appearance on "Fox and Friends," Huckabee refused to define the battle for the GOP nomination as "a conservative vs. moderate" race, but rather "more of a Romney vs. the challengers," contest.
But ever since their bruising battle in the Iowa caucuses four years ago, the two former governors have had a complicated relationship. He once called the Massachusetts health care plan that Romney helped pass a "total disaster" and famously said in a 2008 campaign ad that "most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off."
Here's Huckabee's full statement from his e-mail newsletter:
Romney has come under a lot of fire for Bain Capital's investments in some companies that were then scaled down with layoffs to become profitable. That's been demonized thoroughly by the media as corporate raiding, But it's surprising to see so many Republicans embrace that leftwing argument against capitalism. It's terrible for the workers who lose their jobs, and nobody likes to see viable companies looted and destroyed. But if downsizing can turn around a failing company, then at least it prevents all the jobs from being lost, and it sets up a stronger company that can grow and start rehiring. The term for this among people who aren't hostile to capitalism is "creative destruction." Bad companies have to die to make way for stronger companies, in the same way that old trees fall over to make way for new trees. The other alternative, the Obama way, is to use vast amounts of taxpayer money to prop up companies that are failing in the marketplace. Sometimes, with a big enough cash transfusion, they survive, like GM. Other times, all the money in the world can't stop them from going belly-up and losing all their jobs, like Solyndra. But at least when a company that's bought out by investors goes bankrupt, the money that's lost was voluntarily invested, not taken from taxpayers at gunpoint.