Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist is standing firmly by his endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, after an article Tuesday said he's having second thoughts.
"I'm pretty positive of him. There is no way that I'm revoking my endorsement. In fact, now I'm going to come out stronger," Gilchrist told FOXNews.com.
Gilchrist was referring to a story on WorldNetDaily.com reporting that Gilchrist was reconsidering his endorsement after hearing that the former Arkansas governor said he favors allowing illegal immigrants who leave the United States to wait just a matter of days before being allowed to return.
Huckabee made those comments in an interview with FOX News' Chris Wallace on Dec. 9 — but Gilchrist said Tuesday he's confident Huckabee was referring only to those undocumented residents who wanted to return under valid work visas. And Gilchrist is fine with that.
"That should not take years to do, to come and pick lettuce," he said. "Those who are not valid guest workers are not going to be able to get back here easily."
He added, "If the governor were to come out and say, 'I'm gonna repatriate 12 million illegal immigrants ... and let them come back the following day,' certainly I'm going to pull my endorsement."
But Gilchrist said that's not the case and that his remarks were taken out of context in the WorldNetDaily story.
Gilchrist's endorsement has caused a stir in a race where illegal immigration is a pivotal issue — GOP rival former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney just released an ad going after Huckabee for moderate stances on immigration.
Chris Simcox, head of the separate Minuteman Civil Defense Corps who co-founded the Minuteman Project with Gilchrist, decried the endorsement. In a statement released afterward, he said Gilchrist does not speak for the Minutemen and that Huckabee's record on immigration is weak.
Gilchrist clarified Tuesday that his endorsement only speaks for himself and not the Minuteman group, which advocates for immigration enforcement, as a whole.
He has said Huckabee's recently released immigration enforcement plan was a deciding factor in the endorsement. Gilchrist said Huckabee's stances overshadow past positions he doesn't agree with, such as his support for a proposal while governor that would give tuition breaks to children of illegal immigrants.
During the Dec. 9 FOX News interview, Wallace asked Huckabee to reconcile discrepancies between past statements in favor of giving illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship and the campaign's get-tough plan on illegal immigration. The plan advocates a zero-tolerance policy toward amnesty and states that all illegal immigrants would have 120 days to register and leave the country.
Wallace told Huckabee this plan meant "years of waiting" for those individuals, but Huckabee disagreed.
"Well, I don't think there's an inconsistency. ... You do have a pathway that gets you back home," Huckabee said. "But that pathway to get back here legally doesn't take years. It would take days, maybe weeks, and then people could come back in the workforce."
FOX News' Judson Berger contributed to this report.