Ed Rollins miffed at Townhall blogger for eavesdropping
Huckabee adviser acknowledges plan to go negative in South Carolina
In a testy exchange just after his candidate won Thursday's Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee's campaign chairman acknowledged discussing the potential Huckabee would "go negative" in South Carolina and boasting about onetime-frontrunner Rudy Giuliani's foundering campaign.
Ed Rollins, who ran Ronald Reagan's 1984 bid and recently joined Huckabee's campaign, was overheard discussing the Republican primary race as he lunched in Iowa Thursday. Amanda Carpenter reported what she had heard Rollins discuss, in a post at Townhall.com.
Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Rollins about some of the post's revelations, specifically one where he discussed "going negative" in South Carolina, which holds its GOP primary Jan. 19 and where polls show Huckabee leading. Rollins acknowledged having "a private conversation with my wife" about how the campaign might shift going into North Carolina, but he said no decisions had been made yet.
"The reality is Mike Huckabee makes the decisions on this campaign, I dont," Rollins said. South Carolina "is a more negative state, they're more used to those kinds of things. I was talking to her about where this thing goes. She's a political novice, and this is a whole new game to her."
Rollins married former CBS television executive Shari Lois Scharfer in 2003.
On Townhall, Carpenter quoted Rollins telling someone on the phone, "put some good in there if you have to, with the bad. Do what you gotta do."
South Carolina could present Rollins with an opportunity to go negative, after Huckabee scuttled a similar plan in Iowa. At a press conference Monday, the affable former Arkansas governor and ordained minister told assembled reporters that he had decided at the last minute not to run an attack ad aimed at Mitt Romney. Huckabee then played the ad for the press -- just to prove he actually made one, he said.
The attack ad, which questioned Romeny's positions on gun control, abortion and the death penalty, was Rollins idea, and the strategist told the Washington Post that he relishes the underbelly of politics.
"To me, hitting somebody, knocking somebody down, is a great feeling," he said. "Firing out a negative ad just feels amazing."
Speaking on Fox Thursday night, just after networks declared Huckabee had won Iowa, Rollins said he was "happy to confirm" another piece of his overheard conversation -- that Rudy Giuliani's campaign was "done" and that the former New York mayor was "hurt terribly by those police cruises with his girlfriends," referring to reports that Giuliani's third wife received NYPD security details before their affair even became public.
"Well he had a girlfriend, it's now his wife," Rollins said, referring to Judith Giuliani who began her affair with the former mayor before his second divorce. "The issue was that he basically sent police cars out to take his girlfriend shopping across the state and I think a lot of people didn't like that and I think a lot of people thought it was a misuse of public property and a misuse of office."
This video is from Fox News, broadcast on January 3, 2008.