Mike Huckabee surged to the top of the polls in the Republican presidential contest partly because of his squeaky clean image, but the persona emerging from years as governor of Arkansas is quite different, the New York Times reports. Supporters and critics alike remember him as a hard-charging iconoclast with little tolerance for opposition and an appetite for unpopular positions.
He pardoned or cut prison sentences for more than 1,000 criminals, angering victims’ families. Cited five times by the state ethics board, Huckabee accepted lavish gifts and alienated colleagues by raising taxes and spearheading an effort to shutter redundant rural schools. “Huckabee didn’t build bridges,” sniffed one Dem leader. “If you didn’t agree with him, he attacked you.”