Houston Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Tuesday defended his Christmas ad amid suggestions that the ordained Baptist minister had gone too far mixing religion and politics.
The ad, which is airing in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, shows Huckabee in front of a Christmas tree as he says, "Are you about worn out by all the television commercials you've been seeing, mostly about politics? Well, I don't blame you. At this time of year sometimes it's nice to pull aside from all of that and just remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and friends."
Huckabee is courting evangelical voters and other religious conservatives in his bid to win the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3. In Texas on Tuesday for a fundraiser, he said the ad was a harmless holiday greeting even though it excludes other religions.
"If we are so politically correct in this country that a person can't say, 'Enough of the nonsense with the political attack ads, could we pause for a few days and say Merry Christmas to each other,' then we're really, really in trouble as a country," Huckabee said.
Catholic League president Bill Donahue said Huckabee went beyond wishing people a joyous holiday.
Donahue said that he was especially disturbed by the cross-like image created by a white bookcase in the background of the ad, saying he believed it was a subliminal message.