(Repeats to fix garble in lead)
MANCHESTER, N.H. Jan 6 U.S. Republican
presidential rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney picked up on
Sunday where they left off the night before -- bickering bitterly
in a late bid for votes in a tight New Hampshire primary race.
With Romney fighting for his political life in Tuesday's
New Hampshire primary, the former Massachusetts governor went
on the attack against Huckabee and Arizona Sen. John McCain on
their tax records during a New Hampshire debate.
Romney and Huckabee, sitting shoulder to shoulder on a Fox
News set, clashed after Romney criticized Huckabee for raising
the tax burden on Arkansas residents when he was governor.
"Did you raise taxes in your state by half-a-billion
dollars?" Romney asked Huckabee.
When Huckabee said he turned a budget deficit into a
surplus and improved education in his state, Romney asked him
the same question two more times.
"Mike you make up facts faster than you talk, and that says
something," Romney said.
Huckabee said he was forced to raise taxes by a court order
to improve education. "Maybe you don't have to obey the courts
in Massachusetts," Huckabee shot back.
The exchange occurred one night after Huckabee, McCain and
other Republican contenders ganged up on Romney in a debate in
New Hampshire, the next battleground in the state-by-state
battle to pick candidates for the November presidential
Huckabee beat Romney in the first contest in Iowa last
week, and Romney trails McCain in many polls in New Hampshire
in a contest that could amount to a last chance to revive his
Romney also criticized McCain for voting against President
George W. Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. McCain said he was
trying to hold down budget deficits.
(Writing by John Whitesides, editing by Lori Santos)
(For more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters
"Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at