Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus said Monday that he criticized former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) over comments about women’s libidos because it gave Democrats the perfect opportunity to “spike the ball” on the GOP’s approach to women’s issues.
Huckabee told an audience Thursday at the RNC’s winter meeting that Democrats make women believe they can’t control their libidos without government aid. Priebus at first said he wasn’t sure what Huckabee was talking about, and told the crowd at the RNC’s winter meeting that Republicans must be “very conscious of the tone and choice of words” in communicating GOP policies.
“The Daily Rundown” host Chuck Todd asked the RNC chairman to clarify if those statements rebuked Huckabee.
“Sure. Yes, I was,” Priebus said. “And the reason is that, you know, you have to accept the political world we live in, in the sense that you cannot offer up words like libido — wherever that came from — you don’t offer up these sorts of, you know, lobs and set up passes and serves that allow the Democrats to spike the ball.”
“It’s not where our party stands, it isn’t really even what Mike Huckabee meant to say,” he added. “I mean he had a pretty good message and it was overshadowed by a choice of words that was just a little bit off, that’s all.”
For his part, Huckabee doubled down on his remarks in a fundraising email, saying Democrats’ reactions to his comments were overblown.
“I am apparently the worst conservative ever or at least the most annoying one according to the left wingers in Washington today,” Huckabee wrote to supporters Thursday night. “My remarks to the RNC today were immediately jumped on and blown sky high by hand-wringing, card carrying liberals from coast to coast, some of them in the media.”
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.