CNN's Candy Crowley reports on the recent infighting among GOP leadership. Seems we've got Mike Huckabee slamming the "listening tour". Mitt Romney is
May 13, 2009

CNN's Candy Crowley reports on the recent infighting among GOP leadership. Seems we've got Mike Huckabee slamming the "listening tour". Mitt Romney is not happy with Michael Steele for his comments about Mitten's Mormonism.

BLITZER: Republican infighting getting a little bit uglier right now -- top GOP players lobbing verbal bombshells.

Let's bring in our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley -- Candy, you've been watch this unfold for a while.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. And here's the latest edition of what's turning into a novel.

The GOP hierarchy chose Michael Steele as chairman of the RNC because they saw him as a symbol of inclusion and a gifted spokesman. Certainly, Steele has been saying what's on his mind. And that's the problem.


CROWLEY: After three-and-a-half months as chairman of the GOP, Michael Steele could put out a C.D. (ph) of greatest hits. He accused conservative fave Rush Limbaugh of ugly conversation, so mangled a question on abortion, he sounded pro- abortion rights -- which he is not -- and accused Republicans of being disingenuous in criticizing Democrats for the bank bailout program.

Now, his explanation of why former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney did not win the Republican presidential nomination.

STEELE: It was the base that rejected Mitt because of his switch on pro-life from pro-choice to pro-life. It was the base that rejected Mitt because it had issues with Mormonism.

CROWLEY: Suggesting that the most reliable Republican voters are intolerant is what's called being off message. And honestly, if someone has to criticize the GOP, most Republicans would prefer it be a Democrat. Romney's one-time rival John McCain on damage control.

MCCAIN: But I think the fact that Mitt Romney succeeded as much as he did and remains an important and central figure in our Republican Party, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him run again as a testimony, I think, to the inclusiveness of the Republican Party.

CROWLEY: Romney world mildly objected. Sometimes a spokesman said when you shoot from the hip you miss the target. In a partial oops, a Republican Party spokesperson issued a statement. Chairman Steele, it said, regrets the way his comments have been interpreted.

Still, Romney and McCain is the latest in what some see as an unsettling string of Republican on Republican assault bringing us to '08 wannabe Mike Huckabee. Writing on the Fox News website, Huckabee launched another rocket as a new Republican group, a kind of mini think tank to help rebuild the party begin with grassroots outreach, organized by Congressman Eric Cantor, headliners include Romney, Jeb Bush, John McCain and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Huckabee wrote it was hard to keep from laughing out loud what he considered an inside the beltway group wanting to go on a listening tour. He also said it was sad that Jeb Bush has suggested the party needs to get past Ronald Reagan and the hits just keep on coming.

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