December 19th, 2007
08:30 AM ET
3 years ago

Huckabee denies subliminal Christmas message

Is the bookshelf behind Huckabee in his Christmas ad a subliminal message?

(CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee poked fun at critics who said a bookshelf in his new Christmas-themed ad that appeared to highlight the shape of a cross was meant to send a subliminal message.

“Actually I will confess this, if you play this spot backwards it says ‘Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead,’” the presidential candidate joked to reporters in Houston Tuesday. “So the next thing you know, someone will be playing it backwards to find out the subliminal messages that are really there.” (Watch Huckabee's comments)

The ad is intended for the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The former Arkansas governor said the spot was last-minute and ad-libbed: “They had a bookshelf behind me, a bookshelf. So now I have these people saying, ‘ahhh there was a subtle message there,’” said Huckabee. “….I never cease to be amazed at the manner in which people will try to dissect the simplest messages, can't even say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore without somebody getting all upset about it.”

The former Baptist minister also shot back at some who said the spot should have been more inclusive, and that he should have wished voters “Happy Holidays.”

“I don’t know what else to call Christmas, last time I checked that is what we celebrate. If somebody can give me a way to get around that and do it honestly, then perhaps that’s what Christmas is,” said Huckabee.

“The very word Christmas comes from the contraction of 'Christ Mass' - the worship of Christ – again, change the word if we don't want to talk about it, but that’s what it symbolizes and represents.”

–CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand and Steve Brusk


Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (505 Responses)
  1. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix AZ

    Personally, I have absolutely no problem with Merry Christmas, but I absolutely have a problem with the Huckster's very calculated, sneaky moves. He is not proud at all of his record and can't find anything in Romney's record to discredit him, so he plays the religion card again and again.

    Bill from NY, NY exposed the whole thing with his comment:

    Not intentional?? Then why does the bookcase have more light on it than the darned Xmas tree and most of the Huckster's face?

    December 19, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Read More Books, NYC NY

    1. To the person who confused the terms "fact" and "theory" when speaking about evolution: "Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered." Stephen Jay Gould.

    2. Kudos to Dave from KS for this: Sorry for centuries it's been the begining of the Winter Solstace that we celebrate. Romans celebrated the God Saturn on this day. There's very little truly Christian about your so-called "Christ-mass" The tree is Pagan, as well as the yule log. The exchanging of presents was from the Roman Saturadia. Celebrating Winter Solstace goes back to the Egyptians, long before your Jesus was thought of. And for almost two centuries after the so called life of Jesus, No christians celebrated X-mas"

    3. Why do some people think the founding fathers made America a "christian" nation?? Some of them often related their anti-organized church leanings in their speeches and correspondence, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson (who created the "Jefferson's Bible"), Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, and Thomas Paine. Several of the Founding Fathers considered themselves to be deists or held beliefs very similar to that of traditional Deists, including Jefferson, Paine and Ethan Allen. "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," states the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli. This document was ratified by Congress without much debate or contention and stands today as a reminder of the founding fathers' intentions.

    December 19, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Charlie Brown, Charles, Schultz

    Oh good grief...

    December 19, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. Malissa, Pittsburgh, PA

    MERRY CHRISTMAS! Liberals like to preach tolerance, but then they turn around and show intolerance toward Christianity. What hypocrites! And enough of these false religions like Kwanzaa. Why does Kwanzaa take place on Dec 26 – the day after CHRISTMAS? That's not just a coincidence – looks like they're trying to benefit from the CHRISTMAS season. Or else, Kwanzaa would take place in June or August. Liberals, get the hatred and intolerance out of your hearts and start embracing other people's right to celebrate CHRISTMAS. You have no right to impose your views on them. Oh, and did I say, MERRY CHRISTMAS?

    December 19, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. JC Topeka, KS

    And the red lights on the tree are actually red glowing eyes of a demon. Get a life.

    Bye the bye I am anot a supporter of Huckabees, but really.

    December 19, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Ms. Nelson, Pahrump, NV.

    Christmas is a legal holiday and is on many calendars just as is Independence Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day, etc.
    Where “The very word Christmas comes from the contraction of 'Christ Mass' — the worship of Christ – again, change the word if we don't want to talk about it, but that’s what it symbolizes and represents.” what this says sounds correct, in fact one needs to look at the background of words to find the truth. This truth may be schocking to many Christians. We often hear not only of The Lord Jesus Christ, but the Anti-Christ. So, which Christ is in "christmas". Next look at Mass, an invention of not Catholics, but pagans who offered sacrifices. The Lord Jesus Christ, being the Lamb of God, was the PERFECT and LAST sacrifice necessary to please the Lord God Almighty. In keeping this brief,I hope people reading this will do some of their own homework on this to find truth for themselves.

    December 19, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Robert, Asheville, NC

    Come on. There really isn't a need to be subliminal. It's pretty obvious the Huckster is targeting Christian evangelicals in this ad. Sorry Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians. He doesn't care about your holidays.

    December 19, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Kevin, Cape Girardeau, MO

    Isn't it interesting that the very enemies of Christ who want to remove Jesus from His own birthday celebration notice a cross in the background! The fact that Jesus is the Savior of the world cannot be denied, even by those who reject Him. Facts is facts.

    December 19, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Somali/Gulf War-1 veteran

    When will this country grow up and stop acting like spoiled little brats. So what if youre offended! I get offended every time the alarm goes off in the morning. What the hell ever happened to freedom of expression, or freedom of speech, or constitutional and inalienable rights? This is the type of B.S. that enables the blind stupidity of the masses, and exactly why no one raises their voice in the face of governmental wrong doing any more. Get a clue people or prepare to lose your rights forever!!!

    December 19, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Chuck Denver, CO

    Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Uh oh, I might have offended someone, get over it.

    December 19, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Ralph Young, Washington, DC

    Actually, it looks like an addition symbol...is Huckabee trying to promote mathematics!!!!! Holy cow, we do NOT need that in our country

    December 19, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Doug, New Jersey

    "Liberals hate Huckabee because they hate Christians and can't stand see a candidate devoted to his morals."

    Nice to see that there are some people who understand and accept the truth.

    I'm not a Christian, but the hate that libs have for Christians is something I find extremely disgusting. Not that the hate that some on the right have for gays isn't, but the hate that almost all on the left have for Christians is far worse.

    I don't see how anyone who is Christian, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, or Jewish could ever vote Democrat. You do realize that you are casting a vote that is getting our nation one step closer to losing our freedom of religion? You vote is in direct contradiction to the morals and values of your religion.

    For me it is not religion, it is just common decency, respect and true love for our other citizens. I realize that most on board with me have needed religion to get there. Regardless, we are all united together, to represent what is best about America, to keep the dreams of the founding fathers alive. We all must vote against liberal Democrats since they have made it known that they are committed to destroying the America we know and love. It may be your faith, or it just may be the way you feel obligated to treat your fellow Americans, stand by those beliefs, and vote against liberal Democrats. If you are a religious person who is a Democrat then you do not know the truth. Please take the time to hear what liberals are saying, what they think, what they truly believe and want for our nation. This election is really about decent, caring people Vs. mean selfish Narcissists. Help defeat them in the polls and change the lib hate in their hearts and lead them on the path to being decent people who make a positive impact on our society. Thank you.

    December 19, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Jonah, Boston MA

    "To JONAH regarding 'he does not believe in scientific fact'. When did the THEORY of evolution become FACT?
    You need to get your FACTS right."
    -Jill from Minnesota

    "Uhh… Jonah, do you realize that it's called the 'theory of evolution'? No, it's not a fact, as you claim, anymore than the story of Adam and Eve is"
    -Brad from Texas

    You are both confusing the word "theory" with the word "hypothesis." Nothing in science is described as fact; even gravity is a theory. There are only a few absolute truths, or axioms, and they include a handful of mathematical and logical principles. Anything else starts as a hypothesis, and once it is proven through rigorous testing and analysis of all other possible explanations, it is called a theory. It doesn't mean it's a guess or a loose inference. Yes, if you use the language of science, evolution is a theory, but for practical purposes, it is a fact.

    And, by the way, it is CERTAINLY more of a fact than the story of Adam and Eve. Given that Genesis has essentially been proven false by simply measuring the age of the Earth (which is a completely sound science), I would put the odds of Adam and Eve's validity at 0 percent. Compare that to 99.999999999 percent for evolution.

    Also, to respond to Brad's claim that "it's all speculation" since no one was around: no it's not. "Speculation" means inferring a number of potential scenarios with very limited information. We, on the other hand, have a wealth of information which has been examined, tested, and analyzed to rule out every single explanation besides evolution, which holds up under any light. EVOLUTION IS UNDOUBTABLY FACT. It's not up for debate. Try arguing that gravity is a lie, or that the sun orbits the earth.

    December 19, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Thomas, Honolulu Hawaii

    Good for Mr. Huckabee.
    I will never say happy holidays to anyone. This is Christmas. So Merry Christmas to all Americans and everyone around the world.

    December 19, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. Marti, San Diego CA

    Personally, I have absolutely no problem with Merry Christmas, but I absolutely have a problem with the Huckster's very calculated, sneaky moves. He is not proud at all of his record and can't find anything in Romney's record to discredit him, so he plays the religion card again and again.

    Bill from NY, NY exposed the whole thing with his comment:

    Not intentional?? Then why does the bookcase have more light on it than the darned Xmas tree and most of the Huckster's face?

    December 19, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Jews and Muslims also celebrate Christmas.
    Anyone who wouldn't vote for Huckabbe because of his faith
    Posted By Matt, New York, New York : December 19, 2007 10:14 am

    Uhhh, WRONG, what an absolutely ludicrous statement.

    And it's Huck's faith that will make me not vote for him, it's his lack faith.
    Lack of faith in evolution in the face of mauntains of empirical and forensic evidence. Or perhaps it is his faith, his faith that the Earth is only 6000 years old. Anyone who espouses those two viewpoints gives me great concern and causes me to suspect their objective judgment.

    December 19, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. J. D. Billingsley, Pensacola FL

    Hey all you despisers of the cross (there isn't one in the Huckabee ad), where was your cynical outrage and hatred when Obama and Hillary were filmed leading church services (there were crosses all over the place in those ads)?

    December 19, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. Ellen Withrow, St. Augustine, Fl

    It was quite obvious to me (and most people I'm sure)that it was a shelf behind Mr. Huckabee. we had some exactly like them not long ago. I think it was Pat Buchanan that first referred to a cross as I feel sure
    Huckabee didn't even think of such a thing while making this.

    December 19, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    that first sentence was supposed to read
    And it's not Huck's faith that will make me not vote for him, it's his lack of faith.

    December 19, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. Sara

    The comment that "we" celebrate Christmas is infuriating and most of all, ignorant. It does not matter that the majority of the US is Christian. Is he running to be president for just the Christians? Congratulations, Mike, you just alienated millions of voters. Merry Christmas to you.

    December 19, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. blinky

    i'm no more offended by this bookshelf than i am the t in the headline.

    December 19, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Bob

    Matt, your argument is *really* tiresome. Most liberals in America *are* Christian. Whether you like it or not.

    (P.S. You don't get to decide who's a Christian.)

    December 19, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. Jonah, Boston MA

    Correction: I said "undoubtably" when I should have said "undoubtedly."

    Oh, and to Jill and Brad– put your punctuation inside the quotation marks. It's easier to take you seriously when it looks like you have at least a sixth grade education.

    December 19, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. Lisa Burke

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Grow Up.

    December 19, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. John, Sturgis, SD

    What do these candidates think would happen. Religion and politics is a cheap, weak way to speak to the uneducated, the niave Americans.
    I'm insulted when these idiots speak like Bush has that they have late evening talks with the frolicing Christ.

    December 19, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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