January 28th, 2008
09:01 AM ET
10 years ago

Huckabee challenges Romney over fried chicken

 Romney stopped in at a KFC over the weekend.

Romney stopped in at a KFC over the weekend.

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

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Lizzie

    What in the world does what you eat have anything to do with running for president? This just goes to show how idiotic these top 3 contenders are. ronpaul2008.com

    Ron Paul 2008

    January 28, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. Aaron Schiff

    Since when is Oklahoma a great southern state? Your reporter needs to learn the history of the Indian Nations of Oklahoma, slavery, the Civil War, the Battle of Pea Ridge and Stand Watie. Then he will know that the answer is that it was southern long before it was admitted into the Union as a state.

    January 28, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. CC

    Yes, Mr. Arkansas Healthy........why try to make an issue over him eating healthy-altho be it in a "light" way?? ALWAYS twisting things to fit you politicallly. SAY what you might about religious tolerance, your ACTIONS SPEAK much louder! I've observed carefully your subtle, yet very intended NEGATIVE comments against the other religious man on the Republican side, Romney. Your veneer of Christian values appears VERY thin!!

    January 28, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Best not repeat that last line inside the state of Oklahoma. it prides itself as a great Southern state, a great Western state, and a great Southwestern state. Anyone who says otherwise probably doesn't know chicken fry from chicken kiev!

    January 28, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. Taimur

    So what exactly does fried chicken skin have to do with the real issues?

    January 28, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Nathan

    So, determining the leader of the free world is based on how someone eats their fried chicken? So, why are we languishing with debates and voting and campaigning etc? Let's just have an eating contest to pick our president.

    This has to be the stupidest comment Huckabee has ever made, and he's made some doosies.

    January 28, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Katy Hill Prescott Az.

    Everyone knows chicken skin is bad for you. Bet Chuck doesn't eat chiken skin either.

    January 28, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. AS

    Really, Mike, if you want to win this election your going to at least have to TRY to appeal to more than one demographic in the nation...

    January 28, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. JOhn

    Is this seriously the only thing Huckster can say at this point?

    January 28, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. AJ - Montpelier

    Can this man sound any less stupid? With all of the issues facing our next president and he's going on about fried chicken? Even as a joke it sounds trite.

    January 28, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. JoMomma

    People in the southern part of the United States consider Oklahoma a "southern state." After all, it is next door to Arkansas! It beats me how CNN sets itself up as God Almighty and purports in "knowing everything." Maybe the gaffe is on you, Peter Hamby! Give me a break...you are going out of your way to make mean spirited remarks about Huckabee. Why don't you just say you hate him and don't want him to be President? Making snide remarks does not build your reputation but makes you look egotistical. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing remarks like yours...if you can't say something nice, just don't say it. It's one thing to have freedom of speech, but along with that goes responsibility. Personal insults have no place in freedom of speech because they are, after all, one man's opinion and meant as a personal slur.

    January 28, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. Amy, Kazoo

    thank goodness he knows what matters to America.

    January 28, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Stan, Cali

    Once again Huckabee is talking about the issues that matter most to him, what next? Is he going to see Romney eat a Pita and say how southerners prefer leavened bread to the weird pocket-bread? Remember this is from the guy who had multiple ads with Christian symbols and the guy who preached at a church while on the campaign trail and then whined because the media was looking more at his work as a pastor than as a governor. Its time to stick a fork in this baked chicken and head home to Arkansas Mr Huckabee.

    January 28, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Jose

    Huckabee was funny at first but now he just seems a bit childish.

    January 28, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Steve, SLC UT

    Boy, I'm sure glad this has come to light. I have traditionally waited to see whether a candidate eats his or her chicken with or without the skin on it to decide on my vote.

    I sure hope Hukster's comments were in jest. If they weren't, the guy's a real flounder.

    January 28, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Spencer

    Another example of Huckabee's hipocrisy.

    January 28, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Hello

    You can't trust a man who doesn't eat the skin off of fried chicken....:)

    January 28, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. Josh

    It's good to know where Southern priorities lie.

    January 28, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Joe

    The trouble with Mitt is that he believes that he will become as powerful as God.

    That belief, makes it hard to support him as a candidate. Religous beliefs would not exclude him from running for president. We do need to look at what it is to be Catholic, Mormon, Jewish or any other belief. Mormons have a system where other mormons can not go. These places are only open after meeting certain requirements. As for being as powerful as god that's one of their beliefs.

    January 28, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. Zach G

    Good grief people, he was asked a question by a reporter about it. He didn't bring it up himself. Instead of saying "Mr. Reporter that's a dumb question" he acted with decency and had some light-hearted conversation. He also showed that he has a good knowledge of political history and knows how it relates to the question at hand. If anything, blame that question and conversation on the reporter that brought it up.

    January 28, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. SecondSage

    Huckabee is losing more and more credibility with me, even for a republican. At least Romney is a respectable elephant, as well as McCain despite how republicans hate his middle-left views.

    Huckabee needs to drop out. The confederacy folded almost 150 yaers ago, it's not coming back.

    January 28, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Daveboy

    Isn't eating the skin the reason why Huckabee got so fat in the first place? Could it be the same reason why Huckabee doesn't eat the skin the same reason why Romney won't eat it? I love how Huckabee critizes people while he's doing it at the same time. Huckabee, what a joke.

    January 28, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. QuasiMondo

    Really, the best part of the fried chicken is the skin.

    January 28, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Oklahoma, referred to as "the Indian Territory" until it became a state in 1907, was allied with the Confederacy. Since it technically wasn't a state in the Civil War period, it could be referred to as a Confederate territory rather than a Confederate state, but that's a bit of a quibble.

    But speaking of "quibble," am I really supposed to seriously consider for the Presidency a couple of clowns who have an argument over chicken skin? What's next? Clinton and Obama arguing over chitlin's and grits?

    January 28, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. John, Kansas City, MO

    Funny coming from Huckabee, the guy who had to lose over 100 pounds so he wouldn't die from obesity before being able to run for Pastor, uh, I mean President of the United States.

    January 28, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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