Washington (CNN)Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is framing himself in contrast to the Clintons even before he launches his expected presidential bid, targeting "Bill Clinton's Arkansas" in an announcement video out Friday.
Mike Huckabee signals campaign against 'Bill Clinton's Arkansas'
"On his first day in office, Governor Huckabee's door was nailed shut. It was in Bill Clinton's Arkansas" says Rex Nelson, a former Democrat-Gazette reporter, to open the video.
Nelson goes on to say that "all the apparatus of the Democratic Party" were "aligned against" Huckabee, and yet "all of a sudden this Republican comes out of nowhere and wins."
The nailed-door story is an old favorite of Huckabee's; he's told it in previous speeches as evidence of his political tenacity in the face of heavy Democratic opposition. But the video somewhat muddies Huckabee's history in the state. He's previously said his door was nailed shut on his first day as lieutenant governor, when he was serving under Democratic Gov. Jim Tucker, after Clinton left office.
But the announcement video signals that Huckabee could lean heavily on his experience as governor of Arkansas during his expected campaign, a useful foil to draw a contrast with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Clinton allies pushed back, with pro-Clinton group Correct the Record accusing the Republican of living in the past with his positions on women's reproductive rights.
"Mike Huckabee is living in the 1890s with his belief that women should submit to their husbands and his support of a ban on all abortions without exception," said Correct the Record spokeswoman Mary Rutherford Jennings. "Hillary Clinton is looking to the future, as she always has, with a vision of good paying jobs, opportunity, and fairness for all."
Huckabee is planning a May 5 announcement in Hope, Arkansas, at which he's expected to launch his second bid for president. The former Fox News host has spent the past few months preparing for a bid, traveling to early primary states to meet with activists and raising money for his prospective campaign.
In the video, he emphasizes his willingness to fight to the finish, in contrast to "any drunken redneck" picking a fight.
"Every day of my life in politics was a fight and sometimes it was an intense one. But any drunken redneck can walk into a bar and start a fight. A leader only starts a fight that he's prepared to finish."
Huckabee also hints at his campaign platform. He says in the video that government "power needs to be local and limited, because the closer government is to the people, the more accountable it is to the people who are being governed."
He also expresses reluctance at raising the minimum wage, saying that instead of engaging in that debate, "I'm going to focus on solutions to help every American earn his or her maximum wage."
And Huckabee promises to "lead with moral clarity in a dangerous world."
"I'll keep all the options on the table in order to defeat the evil forces of radical Islam," he says.
Huckabee is polling at the middle of the pack of the GOP field, coming in fourth with 9% support in a recent CNN/ORC poll.