Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is pushing back on a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll result released on Tuesday, saying that a question put to likely Iowa caucus-goers about the Obamas' parenting mischaracterized his position.
The question in the poll said: "Mike Huckabee said the Obamas were guilty of bad parenting for allowing their daughters to listen to her music. Do you think Huckabee is mostly right about the Obamas, or did he go too far?"
Huckabee communications director Alice Stewart said that he never actually called the Obamas "bad parents."
"Governor Huckabee has said many times that the Obamas are excellent and exemplary parents; in this case, he doesn’t understand how they don’t see anything that might not be suitable for their daughters in the lyrical content and choreography of Beyoncé," Stewart said in an e-mailed statement. "The Bloomberg/DesMoines Register poll statement 'Mike Huckabee said Obamas were guilty of bad parenting for allowing daughters to listen to Beyoncé’s music' is completely false. It was a statement made up in the media, but never made by Governor Huckabee. The Governor quoted from a Glamour Magazine article in which the President himself said that his daughters loved Beyoncé, but he couldn’t listen to her lyrics with them because it was embarrassing. It’s irresponsible to base a poll question on a media narrative as opposed to a factual quote."
In his latest book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Huckabee characterized some of the singer's lyrics as "mental poison," and later appeared to knock the Obamas parenting skills in an interview with People magazine.
“I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything—how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school…and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable,” Huckabee told the magazine.
In a subsequent interview on ABC's This Week, Huckabee was again asked to clarify his stance on the Obama's letting their daughters listen to Beyoncé.
"My point was, even in speaking about the Obamas—and I said about them in the book, they're great parents," Huckabee said. "But it was President Obama, in an interview with Glamour, who said that some of the lyrics he won't listen to with his daughters, because it embarrasses him."
Huckabee then added, "if it embarrasses you, then why would you possibly think it's wholesome for your children to put it into their heads?"
"They're great parents. They're careful about making sure their kids get a lot of vegetables and eat right. That's terrific," Huckabee continued. "Well, what you put in your brain is also important, as well as what you put into your body."
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this post, the pull quote should have been attributed to Huckabee spokeswoman Alice Stewart.