WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee rejects letting states decide whether to allow abortions, claiming the right to life is a moral issue not subject to multiple interpretations.
"It's the logic of the Civil War," Huckabee said Sunday, comparing abortion rights to slavery. "If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong."
"For those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have 50 different versions of what's right," he said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
The former Arkansas governor, who has drawn within striking distance of Mitt Romney in Iowa's leadoff presidential caucuses, said he was taken aback by the National Right to Life Committee's recent endorsement of Fred Thompson, the ex-Tennessee senator.
"But my surprise was nothing compared to the surprise of people across America who had been faithful supporters of right to life," said Huckabee, who is challenging Thompson's claim that he is the most reliable conservative in the GOP field.
"Fred's never had a 100 percent record on right to life in his Senate career. The records reflect that. And he doesn't support the human life amendment which is most amazing because that's been a part of the Republican platform since 1980," Huckabee said.
In a separate interview aired Sunday, Thompson said Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision allowing legal abortion, should be overturned, with states allowed to decide whether to permit abortions. "We need to remember what the status was before Roe v. Wade," he said.
Thompson spokeswomen Karen Hanretty said Thompson has a very strong record on abortion. The National Right to Life Committee said when it endorsed him that Thompson "has had a strong, consistent pro-life voting record throughout his political career."
Huckabee also previewed his first television ad of the campaign on the program. The 60-second spot, which features actor Chuck Norris, was to begin running in Iowa on Monday.
"My plan to secure the border. Two words: Chuck. Norris," says Huckabee, who stares into the camera before it cuts away to show Norris standing beside him.
"Mike Huckabee is a lifelong hunter who'll protect our Second Amendment rights" on gun ownership, says the tough-guy actor, who takes turns addressing viewers.
"There's no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard, only another fist," Huckabee says.
"Mike Huckabee wants to put the IRS out of business," Norris adds.
"When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the earth down," Huckabee says.
"Mike's a principled, authentic conservative," says Norris.
In closing, Huckabee says: "Chuck Norris doesn't endorse. He tells America how it's going to be. I'm Mike Huckabee and I approved this message. So did Chuck."
Huckabee acknowledged that the ad probably will not change many minds.
"But what it does do is exactly what it's doing this morning," he said. "Getting a lot of attention, driving people to our Web site, giving them an opportunity to find out who is this guy that would come out with Chuck Norris in a commercial."
Thompson's campaign said the ad shows Huckabee is not serious about immigration, an issue in Iowa.
"With his new campaign ad featuring Chuck Norris, Mike Huckabee has confused celebrity endorsement with serious policy. What would Huckabee do to secure America's border against millions of illegal immigrants pouring into our country? According to his ad, 'Two words: Chuck Norris,"' said Thompson campaign spokesman Todd Harris.
Thompson was interviewed by ABC's "This Week."