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. Lene"

    I listened to both candidate's speeches yesterday on cnn and liked what Huckabee said a whole lot better than Romney. Huckabee seems to have good ideas and relates to what people's needs are as a whole and Romney is just a corporate machine it seems just thinking of the rich. I admit that the way someone eats their chicken is not a big deal though and not an issue with most people...lol. the difference I hear when listening to Huckabee and Romney is that if you elect Romney you are asking for more "Rich man, Poor man" politics and Huckabee is willing to bring jobs back to the US where people are in dire need of them. I'm not talking about retail jobs either where Americans earn crap wages and the rich get richer off of cheap imports...I am talking "real" jobs!

    January 28, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. AJ, Iowa City, IA

    Well Mike would eat the whole bucket! After Florida, we'll see Huckabee "sweatin to the oldies with Richard Simmons!"

    January 28, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Daveboy

    Sorry JoMomma Oklahoma isn't part of the south. I don't know where you got that idea from but when someone ask someone else to name a southern state I'm pretty sure there answer isn't going to be Oklahoma! What "southern" people do you talk to that say Oklahoma is in the south?

    By the way I'm from Va so I can say Oklahoma is NOT in the south!

    January 28, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Carly

    Oh Please. These two morons are not fit to be PTA President much less President of the U.S. Huckabee is a hick and Romney is the master of Flip/Flop.

    January 28, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. ted

    Wow the hypocrite strikes again he critizes Romney but admits he doesn't eat fried chicken. Romney is in great shape and never had to have surgery to lose 100 pounds.

    January 28, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Bubba

    What a bunch of childish morons! Why don't they take off their shirts and throw down like the small children they resemble? Seriously, who'd vote for these clowns?

    January 28, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Dave C - NJ

    OH what a bunch of babies. "WHERE ARE THE ISSUES? THIS ISN'T NEWS!" Blah Blah.

    It's a ticker, not the mainline news. I wish I had a dollar for everytime one of you wasted all of our time writing how horrified you are that CNN dare publish stories such as these. Your mock indignation is pathetic at best.

    It's a fun lighthearted story. I don't like Huckabee one bit as president, but don't bash the guy for kidding around and having a sense of humor.

    January 28, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Steve in SC

    What's funny to me is that Huckabee said he doesn't eat fried chicken at all! Maybe if he hadn't eaten the skin all those years, he never would have the need to diet. Can't wait for this idiot to be our next Pres. He'd make fun of a Rabbi for skipping on the pork chops!

    January 28, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. marv

    Maybe if the Huck had not eaten the skin of Fried chicken he would not have had to lose 100+ pounds, once again I see in Romney a man of character that has a histroy of great management, even making the right choices when it comes to what he shoud eat in maintaining a healthy body.

    January 28, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Adam from Ohio

    This insistence on the purity of southern food is why Huckabee is ballooning back into the whale he used to be. When those home-spun words come from a lean, dimpled face, he sounds folksy and friendly. When those words come out of a fat face, he seems like a slimy huckster. The fatter he gets, the worse the poll numbers fare. Coincidence?

    January 28, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. D Davis

    Wait, I thought Huckabee was trying to outlaw fatty foods in the US.

    Flip flopper.

    January 28, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. John

    Ol Huck ought to stick to plucking strings and not feathers.

    January 28, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. tj

    wow, how pathetic. Huckabee is taking whatever he can get when it comes to attacking Romney. and building up McCain whenever he gets the chance. He practically drools over the liberal senator. he's running to be number two. they'll be announcing their engagement any day now.

    Romney is the only True Republican who can beat the democrats this november! why do you think the media hates him so much and never gives him a break?

    the thing the media isn't saying about the florida primary is that it's closed!! winner takes all!! and the polls they are showing are of independants and democrats and republicans! they aren't showing the republican vote only, which is what will count come tuesday. McCain won't have a prayer because he can't appeal to the party he's running for.

    January 28, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Daniel Walker

    Maybe if Huckabee had taken the skin off a few years ago he wouldn't have needed to lose all that weight. Then again he likely did it with a physician monitored weight loss plan thanks to the health insurance he has, but 47 million people are still without.

    Talking about putting priorities in order, what will these clowns think of next.

    January 28, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. CD

    I will say, Huckabee has said some funny things in this campaign. He just got the wrong memo. "Last Comic Standing" is over...this is the Presidential Campaign.

    January 28, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. Vincent Corrado

    He's looking for the healthiest available option for lunch in a fast food restaurant? After he finds that, maybe he can go get the WMD search started again. I'm begging the republic party to nominate one of these two clowns.

    January 28, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. kevin from alaska

    Shouldn't he be talking about God?

    January 28, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. rich

    I guess that's why Huckabee had to have liposuction. All that greasy chicken.

    January 28, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. dbrash

    You guys need to lighten up a little! With the tense, serious nature of politics it is nice to hear a guy who has a since of humor. I am not sure I have heard Romney say anything funny yet. However, if he were to say something funny, it would probably come from somebody whispering something in his ear like at the last debates. Is he the Great Wizard of Oz?

    January 28, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. Darth Vadik

    It is blasphemy for me to defend Romney, and I never will again, but if how you eat chicken should decide how you vote, maybe we should have some kind of an IQ test as a qualification for voting.

    God, to come to think of it I actually said once that Huckabee seems like a nice guy, God am I sorry I ever said that, Huckabee is a lunatic.

    January 28, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Robert

    I find it funny that he believes he will win all the southern states simply because Romney didn't eat the skin. I'll hold him to that so I can see how badly he failed to do so.

    January 28, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. James

    It's great to see the candidates refusing to let the such trivial issues as the economy and the war get in the way of what really matters...how to eat fried chicken.

    January 28, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. Cody MacCabe

    Isn't it a little sad when fried chicken is more of an issue than some other things? Huckabee is making a fool of himself.

    January 28, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. Joe

    People need to develop a better sense of humor.

    January 28, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. Andrew

    Wow, apparently you guys over in the republican party don't appreciate light-hearted jokes these days. It wasn't the centerpiece of a debate, it was an off-the-cuff response to a reporter. In fact, I kinda have a sigh of relief when a candidate can pull that off and say something funny. It lets you know hes got some higher brain activity, which, after this past presidency, is an important trait.

    If you're that offended just have Romney call up Alan Keyes to set the record straight...

    January 28, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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