WASHINGTON – Mike Huckabee wouldn't rule out a 2012 run for president Wednesday, but he acknowledged it could be hard to take back the spotlight from fellow Republican Sarah Palin. "I'm not ruling anything out for the future, but I'm not making any specific plans," Huckabee told reporters at a briefing to promote his new book, "Do the Right Thing."
"It's not something I'm sitting around thinking about."
Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said he expects Palin to continue to have a leading voice in the Republican Party, though he acknowledged he was envious of her meteoric rise after Sen. John McCain brought her out of relative obscurity as governor of Alaska to run with him this year as the vice presidential candidate.
Huckabee credited Palin with energizing McCain's campaign and said that her surprise selection for the GOP ticket helped her to "leapfrog over the process" that other Republicans — including himself — had to endure to become national political figures.
"I'm not frustrated by it," Huckabee said. "It's not a resentment on her part. It's an envy."
The former Arkansas governor ran a scrappy but underfunded presidential campaign this year, staying in the race until March, when McCain secured enough delegates to win the nomination. All the other serious Republican contenders had dropped out weeks before.
Huckabee ran as a religious conservative, though many conservative leaders wouldn't support him. Despite a lack of money, Huckabee won the leadoff caucuses in Iowa and seven other states. His book tour will take him to Iowa later this month.
Huckabee and McCain had a cordial relationship during the campaign, but Huckabee clearly didn't like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, another contender for the GOP nomination.
In his book, Huckabee slams Romney for changing positions on issues such as abortion rights and gay marriage.
Romney's record, he wrote, "was anything but conservative until he changed all the lightbulbs in his chandelier in time to run for president."
A spokesman for Romney dismissed Huckabee's comments in the book as "petty stuff."
"We need to focus on moving the party forward with new ideas," Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said. "Unfortunately, Mike Huckabee seems more interested in settling scores than bringing people together."
Huckabee said Wednesday he was simply writing with the same candor he showed during the campaign.
"There was obvious tension, and again, it wasn't just me, but with other candidates, and so I addressed where that came from," Huckabee said. "One of the things people came to believe that they would get from me was candor."
"If I had written this book and totally ignored some of the obvious issues that were there, I think people would have said the book lacked credibility and candor," he said.