PENSACOLA, Florida (CNN) – Mitt Romney's failure to eat fried chicken with the skin on is nothing short of blasphemy here in the South, according to GOP rival Mike Huckabee.
Romney, of Massachusetts, dug into a piece fried chicken at KFC while campaigning in Lutz, Florida on Saturday, but not before peeling off what most would consider the best part - the crispy skin.
Admittedly, KFC's chicken doesn't exactly stack up against the delectable kind that comes out of deep fryers in kitchens around the South, and Romney said he was looking for the healthiest option available to him for lunch.
Huckabee, looking ahead to a flotilla of southern states up for grabs on Super Tuesday, was told about the move by a reporter here in the Florida panhandle.
"I can tell you this," he said, "any Southerner knows if you don’t eat the skin don’t bother calling it fried chicken."
"So that's good. I'm glad that he did that, because that means I'm going to win Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma ... all these great Southern states that understand the best part of fried chicken is the skin, if you're going to eat it that way."
Huckabee admitted that he hasn't eaten fried chicken in a while because of his weight loss program, preferring it broiled or baked instead.
And speaking of possible gaffes, a good Southerner might also dispute one of Huckabee's claims: since when is Oklahoma "a great southern state"?
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
People, people calm down What he said was "I can tell you this," he said, "any Southerner knows if you don’t eat the skin don’t bother calling it fried chicken." What you heard is "I'm saying this so you will not vote for Romney, a President should eat fried chicken with skin." Don't spin it out of control take it for what he said. He's saying why order fried chicken and not eat the skin, it's like saying give me a cheeseburger and hold the cheese. It is a small mear comment meant to do nothing but prove that Huck is more southern, ya know like Romney is more liberal that's all.