Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Friday denied that he was criticizing Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman when he suggested her pregnancy was glamorizing the idea of having children outside of marriage.
Huckabee, who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination, earlier this week complained about the perception of celebrities like Portman having children while unmarried. Portman, who won an Oscar for best actress for her role in "Black Swan," is expecting a child with fiance Benjamin Millepied.
"One of the things that is troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, `Hey look, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine,'" Huckabee told radio host Michael Medved on Monday. "But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie."
Huckabee made the comments after Medved mentioned the Oscars and Portman's pregnancy. Huckabee said the public wasn't seeing the financial struggles single mothers face.
Huckabee also said in the interview that "it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out-of-children wedlock."
A publicist for Portman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
On Friday, Huckabee accused the "Hollywood media" of distorting comments that he said were more about society as a whole and not Portman. Huckabee praised Portman as an actress and said he's glad she and Millepied are getting married. Huckabee said he wasn't trying to attack Portman or single mothers.
"My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can't get a job and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death," Huckabee said in a statement posted on his political action committee's website. "That's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock."
It's the second time this week that Huckabee has stepped back from comments he's made while promoting his new book. Huckabee suggested in a radio interview on Monday that President Barack Obama's childhood in Kenya shaped his worldview — even though Obama did not visit Kenya until he was in his 20s.
Obama's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was detained in a 1952 uprising against British colonial rule in Kenya. Huckabee said childhood stories of the Mau Mau rebellion would lead President Obama to want to remove from the Oval Office the bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who ordered a crackdown against that uprising.
The executive director of Huckabee's political action committee later said the former governor misspoke and meant to reference Obama's childhood in Indonesia, where he lived from the ages of 5 to 10. He didn't explain the reason Huckabee mentioned the Mau Mau uprising.
The winner of the Iowa caucuses in 2008, Huckabee has said he's seriously considering another run for president. His national book tour schedule includes stops in Iowa and other early GOP contests.
Huckabee's comments on Portman echoed remarks Dan Quayle made in 1992 when he went after the TV series "Murphy Brown" by saying its depiction of a single mother was irresponsible and set a bad example for America. The Republican vice president said the fictional character was "mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another `lifestyle choice.'"