Washington (CNN)Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee defended renting out his email list to a group selling hidden cures for cancer embedded in Bible verses, saying it was no different than CNN allowing advertisers for catheters or adult diapers to air alongside programming.
Mike Huckabee defends spamming supporters
"My gosh, that's like saying, 'You run some ads on CNN. Do you personally agree with all the ads that run on CNN?' Huckabee said Wednesday to CNN's Jake Tapper on The Lead.
"I doubt you do. I'm sure there are some for maybe, I don't know, catheters or adult diapers. They're not products that you use or that you necessarily believe in," the 2016 Republican presidential candidate said. "I don't hold you responsible for that, and in that same way I don't think that people that understand how advertising works would hold me responsible for something that I didn't personally sign up for or endorse."
Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses during his first presidential bid in 2008, explained he couldn't dictate how people decided to use his large email list.
"I didn't actually control that part of our company," he said.
In 2008, Huckabee showed the ability to win over the Hawkeye State's social conservative base but little ability to move beyond that and win over more business-minded voters. He pledged his coalition this year would draw on more working-class voters who harbor deep antipathy for Washington.
Huckabee, who has drawn fire for saying that the Supreme Court could not overrule the law of God, defended himself Wednesday with Tapper.
When asked what he would do if the high court effectively legalized same-sex marriage, which the former Baptist preacher opposes, Huckabee said states should decide how to move forward.
"Well, I think states have to decide, do they follow through with legislation and create a law? The Supreme Court can't create a law," Huckabee said. "They can invalidate one, but even then the legislative body and the executive branch has to enable legislation, executives have to sign it, they have to enforce it. The courts can't do that."
If the court could unilaterally decide whether to overrule the other two branches, Huckabee said, "then we have turned the court into this super branch of government."
It was not immediately clear what Huckabee meant, though CNN has reached out to Huckabee's campaign for clarification.
The Supreme Court ruling would be based on the Constitution, which Congress does have the power to amend but requires a two-thirds majority to approve.