Mitt Romney has a message for evangelicals: Your choice is between the Mormon and the “liberal” McCain. Reports the Los Angeles Times:

Evangelicals can “vote for Mike Huckabee and feel good about their vote,” the former governor of Massachusetts told a Missouri TV station. “But they’re basically saying, ‘We’re going to give the conservative vote – we’re going to divide it in half, give some to Mike Huckabee, give some to Mitt Romney.’” …

Romney, speaking from San Diego to KYTV in Springfield, Mo., pointed out the danger that Huckabee posed to his candidacy as he sought to offer conservatives a rationale for supporting him. He framed the race as a battle between himself and McCain. “If you vote for someone besides one of those two people, you’re basically not getting the bang for your vote buck.”

Romney – and several conservative commentators – went further and suggested that Huckabee get out of Romney’s way.

After acknowledging that he “appreciated” how McCain recognizes him as a “worthy competitor and not as a nuisance,” Huckabee took strong exception to Romney’s suggestion that voters ignore him or that he step aside so Romney can realize his manifest destiny:

“John McCain has not suggested that somehow he has a right to the nomination and I should quit because I’m in his way.”

Huckabee said, by contrast, Romney is making the “suggestion that I ought to step aside and allow him to waltz to the nomination.”

“Frankly I’ve been a little offended.”

Romney has gotten Huckabee’s righteous indignation up in the past couple of days:

† In Tulsa, Huckabee told reporters that a vote for Romney is a vote for Hillary, and that if he ran his campaign like a business he would have shuttered it by now seeing what a poor return he’s gotten on his investment.

† In Macon, GA, Huckabee decried Romney’s presumptuousness and arrogance, and said:

“This old Arkansas boy is not for sale. He doesn’t have enough money to buy me. I’m not some troubled company that he can buy, sell off the assets and send us home. There’s a whole lot of people like me in this country who are tired of people waving their checkbooks at us and making us think they own us and they can buys us. Well you can’t buy us, you can’t even rent us. We’re not for sale. We’re going to the polls Tuesday and we’re going to show America this country is about ordinary people who believe in the extraordinary power of the American dream and we’re going to prove it at the ballot box Tuesday.”

† Campaigning in AL, Huckabee made this promise to his supporters:

“If this were a boxing match, you’re gonna have to completely knock me out and have me carried me out of the ring, because I’m not throwing in the towel. Absolutely not going to leave the ring and I’m going the distance. On any given day another candidate can say something that can take them completely out, so I’m never one that gives up hope.” …

“Let me explain something to Mr. Romney and his supporters who have said that. It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

The Stiletto’s take on all this: A vote for McCain or Huckabee is a vote against Romney.

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog.

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