None of this hurts him, however much righty blog readers may wish it were so. He’s running on domestic policy in the primary, which makes his task on foreign policy simple: Sound hawkish enough not to spook the religious conservatives you’re counting on to get you the nomination and dovish enough to impress the independents you’ll need to win in the general. Hence his criticism of Bush offset by warnings about the evil of the Iranian regime.

Still no word on whether he did in fact write the “bunker mentality” line himself, but he supports it strongly enough to defend it here to CNN — after admitting he’s not sure he’d write it the same way if he had it to do over again. Your exit question: Where does he find the stones to lecture us about taking unpopular stands when he reversed himself on Gitmo precisely because it’s unpopular with the vaunted international community? Click the image to watch.

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Update: Anyone who didn’t know this was coming had only to look at his immigration plan, which, as I noted at the time, went suspiciously out of its way to make “support” for immigration law enforcement a core plank of his policy. That was his way of pandering to the base by suggesting that he’d pardon Ramos and Compean, an easy way for a guy whose record on this issue is spotty to buy immigration cred. In case you didn’t get the message, here it is again, loud and clear:

At the Iowa event, Huckabee began by saying, “It’s interesting you bring up that case.

“You may be aware that I’ve been criticized rather roundly on commutations,” he continued, according to Lin.

“Some people running for president bragged they would never give one. Well, let me tell you, you look at people like these border agents who are doing their job, protecting their border, they get in prison for it? They’re going to be spending Christmas Day in prison for that?

“It’s absurd. And of course I would review their case, and from what I can tell … by Christmas of 2009, they wouldn’t be there — in fact, hopefully by Valentine’s 2009, if not sooner, they would be back home with their families.”

Update (Bryan): Huck said the same thing regarding Ramos and Compean when he appeared on the Laura Ingraham Show back on Dec 13, so it’s not a new line. During that same interview he ducked Laura’s direct questions about matricula consular cards.