Mike Huckabee Backtracks on Natalie Portman Pregnancy Slam

Former Arkansas gov. says media distorted his statements.

March 5, 2011, 2:00 PM

March 5, 2011— -- Potential 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said he didn't mean to criticize actress Natalie Portman's pregnancy when he talked the problems of single mothers last week, and blamed the "Hollywood media" for distorting his remarks.

Huckabee told ABC News that he was trying to say that it is government programs that keep the children of most single mothers from starving, not that the actress' pregnancy was glamorizing the idea of having children outside of marriage.

While speaking to conservative radio host Michael Medved on Monday, the former Arkansas governor spoke of his opinion of the decisions of Hollywood's actresses.

"One of the things that is troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine,'" Huckabee had said.

"Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job," he said. "It's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock. But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie."

Though representatives for Portman, who just received a slew of awards including a best actress Oscar for her role in "Black Swan," did not respond to Huckabee's comments, his statements have angered some feminists.

"It does anger me," writer Joanne Bamberger told "Good Morning America." "A lot of conservative Republicans have come out and done things to try to take us back to the June Cleaver motherhood role or picture of motherhood in America."

For his part, Huckabee accused the "Hollywood media" of distorting his words, while he has praised Portman for her acting and for her decision to marry Benjamin Millepied, the father of her child.

"My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can't get a job and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death," Huckabee said in a statement posted on his political action committees web site.

"That's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock," Huckabee added.

Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucus in 2008, has said he's seriously considering another run for president, but some observers have said his comments this week could be a major misstep in a 2012 bid.

"It was going to get you attention and all attention is good attention when you're trying to sell books or you just were sloppy and just didn't think about it," ABC News Political Director Amy Walter said.

"And that suggests that you're not as serious about being a presidential candidate," she added.

Some comentators have compared Huckabee's comments on Portman to remarks Vice President Dan Quayle made in 1992 when he criticized TV series "Murphy Brown," saying its depiction of a single mother was "mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another 'lifestyle choice.'"

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