Portman is expecting her first child with her fiancé, Benjamin Millepied, a choreographer whom she met on the set of “Black Swan.” Her critically lauded performance in the film made her a staple on the red carpet this award season, culminating in her Academy Award win for Best Actress on Sunday.
The former governor, who is also a pundit on Fox News, called Portman’s pregnancy “troubling” and suggested it might “glorify and glamorize” the idea of having children outside of marriage. He argued that most single mothers aren’t in the same position as Portman in terms of her lifestyle and resources.
“There aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie,” Huckabee said, per the liberal group MediaMatters. “And I think it gives a distorted image … Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing.”
It’s the third time this week that Huckabee has made headlines for controversial remarks.
On Monday, the ex-governor mistakenly suggested in an interview that President Obama had grown up in Kenya. Huckabee later insisted he had simply misspoke, saying Kenya when he had meant Indonesia, and he slammed the media for the “sensationalized” way reporters covered his remarks.
But Huckabee found himself on the defense again Wednesday, after he referred to Obama’s “different worldview” that was influenced, in part, by growing up around Muslim culture.
“I have said many times, publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview, and I think it’s in part molded out of a very different experience,” Huckabee told radio host Bryan Fischer on Wednesday. “Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings, and you know, our communities were filled with rotary clubs, not madrassas.”
Madrassas are schools in Muslim countries, but the term has taken on a negative connotation in the struggle against Islamic terrorism. A Huckabee spokesman did not respond to requests for comment from The Ticket about why the ex-governor used that specific wording. But in a statement to CNN, a Huckabee spokesman suggested that people should read his boss’s new book to gain a full understanding of what exactly Huckabee is trying to say about Obama’s upbringing.
All of this publicity is no doubt good for Huckabee, as he peddles a new book and looks to shore up support among conservative GOP voters as he considers a second bid for the White House. But this isn’t necessarily the sort of attention that can aid Huckabee’s reputation among swing and independent voters, with whom he’s performed well in the past in spite of his conservative views on social issues. Polls show most voters, even if they disagree with him, tend to find Huckabee “likable.”
Just last week, Huckabee seemed to cast himself as a moderate voice on several hot-button issues that have whipped up the conservative right. In one statement, for example, he dismissed “birther” conspiracy theories about Obama–telling reporters the talk is simply a distraction. He defended Michelle Obama’s push to combat childhood obesity against attacks from Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin–saying the GOP should instead be “thanking her and praising her.” Huckabee even had kind words for Obama, lauding him as a good role model for the country.
In a statement issued Friday afternoon, Huckabee defended his comments on Portman, insisting he wasn’t trying to “slam” or “attack” her.
“Natalie is an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar and I am glad she will marry her baby’s father,” Huckabee said. “My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death. That’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock.”