Nashville Post blogger A.C. Kleinheider reports that Chip Saltsman — former Mike Huckabee for president campaign manager and current candidate for RNC chairman — is trying to quell rumors he’d be a stalking horse for a Huckabee 2012 run:
“[The Huckabee campaign] is part of my resume but it doesn’t define me politically,” Saltsman explained. “I’m not sure if you look at my history that you’d think I was a Huckabee guy. You could just as easily say I’m a Bob Corker guy, a Lamar Alexander guy or a Frist guy.”
He also noted his strong leadership against his political mentor Governor Don Sundquist on the state income tax issue shortly after becoming chair of the Tennessee Republican Party as evidence that he is a man willing to go against politicians he may be associated with.
Saltsman certainly made no apologies for his association with Huckabee and spoke with pride of his “13 months” on the campaign but he did make sure to put a bit of distance between himself and the Huckabee message. Saltsman made it plain that he was a straight politics guy in his role as campaign manager — a hired hand — not the idea man.
“Mike Huckabee was responsible for the issues in that campaign, not me,” Saltsman said.
Those disclaimers might come in handy when persuading RNC members who backed candidates other than Huck during the primaries.