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Republican drug smears begin

Mike Huckabee jokes that Sarah Palin “did line after line on the glass table”.

The race for the 2012 Republican nomination has barely begun and already the party's stars are promoting drug smears against each other.

Mike Huckabee used an appearance on Fox News's Red Eye to take issue with Sarah Palin's recent comments on marijuana and to joke that the former Alaska governor may be fond of what Barack Obama once referred to as "a little blow".

He said: "After Sarah Palin made these comments she then produced a gram of coke from her purse and did line after line on the glass table."

That Huckabee chose to challenge the only vaguely sensible remarks Palin has made, rather than, say, her dubious belief that environmental groups are responsible for the Gulf oil crisis, is not encouraging.

Palin made her opposition to drug legalisation clear, but added: "I think we need to prioritise our law-enforcement efforts. And if somebody's going to smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at."

Incidentally, Huckabee is the subject of a fine profile in the current edition of the New Yorker (whose editor, David Remnick, was interviewed for this week's NS by my colleague Jonathan Derbyshire).

Here's the key passage:

In some ways, Huckabee seems like a promising candidate for 2012: a squeaky-clean family man and bona-fide Christian who loves to talk. His communication is folksy but fluid; he never seems flummoxed, like George W Bush, or befuddled, like John McCain, or unprepared, like Sarah Palin. "If we're running a race against their most articulate guy," Steve Schmidt, John McCain's former campaign manager, told me, referring to President Obama, "we should put our most articulate guy. Huckabee's that guy.

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