Asa Hutchinson says endorsing Eric Holder for AG was a "mistake"

(KATV)-Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson endorsed Attorney General Eric Holder in 2008. In an interview with Channel 7 News on Wednesday, Hutchinson said the endorsement was "one of the biggest mistakes I've made."

In the letter of endorsement, Hutchinson said Holder "puts the law first and political considerations second."

"Let me tell you, it's one of the biggest mistakes I've made in terms of evaluating a public figure. And whenever I looked at Eric Holder, I knew he was a United States Attorney and that was important to me to have someone in the Department of Justice that understood front line prosecutors but as I look back and I look at the record he established I have no hesitation in saying, one that was a mistake, but secondly Eric Holder should resign as Attorney General of the United States," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson added Holder has done an "atrocious job" of enforcing the law. The Republican Governor's Association has been up on the air in Arkansas with two six figure ad buys comparing Democratic candidate Mike Ross to Pres. Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Hutchinson said he was not worried his past endorsement of Holder would be used against him.

"Well I'm not worried about that at all. The main thing I'm concerned about is that our system of justice works well and I'm a former administrator of the DEA and whenever I look at the atrocious record of this administration in terms of drug enforcement, I'm embarrassed by that and I'm embarrassed that the Attorney General of the United States turns a blind eye to enforcing the law," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said at the time of his letter he was looking for someone with prosecution experience.

"I certainly would have rather had someone who had a history of prosecution and being in the courtroom versus someone who's an academic and that's what I was expressing," Hutchinson said.

Holder was held in contempt in Congress for failing to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking incident. In Hutchinson's letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the late Sen. Arlen Specter endorsing Holder, he said he found Holder to be "truthful and forthcoming in his dealings with Congress and with me personally."

"Well you have to judge it based upon your own experience. And while I was a member of the judiciary committee and he was deputy Attorney General. He was forthcoming in the investigations that we had going at that time. And so my letter was reflecting my experience with Eric Holder at the time. One, he was a federal prosecutor and secondly, in my dealings with him, he had been straight forward. Now he has certainly proven me to be incorrect in terms of his record with the department of justice," Hutchinson said.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Curtis Coleman released a statement regarding Hutchinson's past endorsement and reversal today:

"I am shocked that a Republican gubernatorial candidate would write a glowing endorsement of Obama's Attorney General who tells states attorneys general not to enforce their own state laws, who demands acceptance of gay marriage, who wants to outlaw homeschools, has sanctioned the killing of American citizens using drones and supports gun control.

These are not Arkansas values. This news is a devastating blow to the Republican Party. Most Arkansans are going to struggle with Asa's judgment and intentions."{}

Democratic candidate Mike Ross' campaign also released a statement regarding the news:

"This is just the latest example of bureaucrat-turned-lobbyist Asa Hutchinson doing one thing in Washington, and saying the exact opposite here in Arkansas. {}The fact that he worked so aggressively to bring Eric Holder to power - one of the NRA's biggest adversaries - has to cause many Arkansans to question Congressman Hutchinson's judgment," spokesperson Brad Howard said.