Maggie Haberman | Mitt and Huck Not the Best of Friends

Maggie Haberman | Huckabee throws a Mitt Fit

Mike Huckabee may be especially tempted to run in 2012 by a lingering feud between him and Mitt Romney, a severe hangover from the 2008 campaign that has created a lasting and bitter rift between the two, Republicans who know both men say.

“[Huckabee] hates Mitt, and his goal in Iowa last time was to stop him,” said one prominent Republican, who’s known both men for years. “If he sees an opportunity to cut Mitt off [during the nominating process], he will take it.”

Huckabee and Romney were never exactly pals before the Iowa caucuses two years ago — and none of the other contenders had much affection for Romney either — but the battle for the Hawkeye State permanently turned the former Massachusetts governor and Huckabee into lasting enemies, sources say.

As Huckabee weighs whether to run again, several Republicans with ties to Huckabee say his disdain for Romney is a real factor in his decision-making about whether to mount a second campaign for the White House.

Ed Rollins, a national GOP strategist who ran Huckabee’s 2008 effort, recalled the “personal animosity” that the former Arkansas governor felt for Romney, citing the rawness over the negative campaign Romney ran as Huckabee started surging as the dark horse with no money or national establishment support in Iowa in January 2008.

“I don’t think he particularly likes Romney,” Rollins said, although the strategist insisted Huckabee “doesn’t’ think much about Romney or Palin” and would only run if he believes the time is right. “I don’t think he felt that Romney had a real core of convictions.”

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