Nothing like a little sound-bite tango to take the edge off of an Oscar win -- Mike Huckabee made headlines this last week for comments about actress Natalie Portman, specifically regarding her and fiance Benjamin Millepied getting pregnant while unwed.
On Monday, the will-he-or-won't-he 2012 presidential prospect went on Mike Medved's radio program to discuss his new book, and used Portman as a reference in discussing single mothers in the United States.
"People see a Natalie Portman who boasts, 'We're not married but we're having these children and they're doing just fine. ... I think it gives a distorted image. It's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out-of-wedlock children," Huckabee said.
The former Arkansas governor's book leads off with a chapter titled "The Most Important Form of Government is a Father, Mother, and Children."
In the days after that interview, Huckabee learned what happens when you say stuff about Natalie Portman.
The comments went wide, almost universally perceived as a diss, prompting Huckabee to post some follow-up remarks on his website Friday.
"Natalie is an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar and I am glad she will marry her baby's father. However, contrary to what the Hollywood media reported, I did not 'slam' or 'attack' Natalie Portman," he wrote.
"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. 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."
(For the record, the Christian Science Monitor notes, statistics show that while families headed by a single mom have a higher poverty rate than families headed by a single dad or a married couple, the majority of single-mom households do not fall below the poverty level.)
Portman remained mum. We'd love your thoughts, and can we just say -- how about a week of peace for the best actress Oscar winners after they take the prize?
Let us not forget that Sandra Bullock had only a precious few days with her gold statue before, well, you know.
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-- Matt Donnelly
Photo: Natalie Portman clutches her Oscar, and shows off her baby bump, at the 2011 Governors Ball following the Academy Awards. Credit: Getty Images