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. Ted from NY

    hahaha.....This one will definitely tarnish Romney's image. What a strike Huck!!!!!

    January 28, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. Terry

    You got to be kidding, is this just Mike's way of having fun while there is a real nomination process in progress? Come on Mike, wake up and leave the contest if this is all you have.

    January 28, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Karen

    Has anyone noticed that Huckabee doesn't seem to be running for president anymore? He just seems to be running AGAINST Romney. I think if Romney were running for Head Dog Catcher Huckabee would be the creepy little dog running around in circles nipping at his heels with that annoying little "yap yap" sound.

    I don't eat the chicken skin and I live in the south. I guess that means I should vote for Romney. He can't be any worse than that pea brain Huckabee.

    If Huckabee wants to be really effective in his campaign against Romney why doesn't he just thumb his nose at him and yell, "Neiner, neiner, neiner"! It makes a little more sense.

    January 28, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. midwesterner

    As a lifelong Oklahoman, I am proud to be from the Midwest. There is a certain air of difference between the South and Oklahoma. If anything, perhaps Oklahoma is neither Southern nor Midwestern. We will always represent what was once Indian Territory.

    January 28, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. James

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

    Flip flopper" - D Davis

    That is priceless.

    January 28, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Carl

    When did Oklahoma become a southern state? I agree with the fried chicken... we southerners love our fried chicken WITH the skin!!!!!!

    January 28, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Chelsea

    Wow. Huck is getting desperate.

    January 28, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Michael

    Is this the level of discourse we want from our presidential candidates? We are in a recession. Our dollar is on the ropes. Our democracy is on the ropes and this guy is talking about fried chicken. F@cking fried chicken? I'm voting for the only candidate conducting himself like an adult.

    Ron Paul 2008

    January 28, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Cole

    they pretty much all claim to have the same conservative position on all the issues(despite their record *cough*Romney, McCain*cough*)...Huckabee's position on fried chicken just reinforces the fact that he is the true conservative in the race. ("jest")

    January 28, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Roy

    Being "a good Southerner" doesn't impress me al la Tom Delay, Vitter, Robertson, Falwell, and Huckabee who criticizes Romney for not eating unhealthy chicken skin while the good reverend himself doesn't even eat fried chicken.

    Aren't there more important issues to debate than fried chicken? This goes to show how shallow Pastor Huckabee is.

    January 28, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Frank, San Diego

    I'm convinced that Huckabee just doesn't realize how he sounds to normal people. That's true of politicians generally, of course.

    But this kind of tone deafness seems to be endemic in the Republican Party these days. How else to explain their rush to embrace George Bush's endless and pointless war?

    January 28, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. AlexNYC

    I laughed my head off when I read this. This is beyond the ridiculous, each of the candidates keep lowering the bar on how idiotic and petty their statements can get. Eating chicken with the skin on is a good indicator on how their will run the country?! This is like Gullivers Travels where Lilliput and Blefuscu are at war because of how they prefer to eat an egg. Do these candidates even have a clue on how obsurd they have all become? What about the issues? The Democrats aren't that much better.

    John Edwards for president in 2008.

    January 28, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Rob in Sacramento

    Just another example of what a closed-minded, religious extremists bring to the table. What judgemental tripe, must be coming from his jealous, inner glutton.

    January 28, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Okie

    get your facts straight! Oklahoma has always been a great southern state – Fried chicken is part of the 4 food groups here! Along withcorn on the cob, mashed pot, and fried okra.

    January 28, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. dbrash

    I will correct myself before any of you tell me how stupid I am. My last comment should have read "sense of humor" instead of "since of humor" My apologies for my lack of editing before I submitted.

    January 28, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Janet

    CNN, as usual avoiding the issues to focus on something as banal as fried chicken.

    January 28, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. trent porter, tx

    ... and yet as another story about "chicken skin" is ran, please be reminded that CNN is trying to keep your mind off the real solution... The Constitution.

    Ron Paul 2008.

    January 28, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Boomer 4 Obama

    I've turned the page!

    I refuse to decide on a candidate based on their gender, sex, religious or chicken orientation!

    January 28, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. IndeInCa

    There goes Chucklebee again.

    January 28, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. Bil TGH, Streamwood, IL

    There are serious problems to fix in this country and the best issue that Mike Huckabee can address is that Mitt Romney doesn't eat chicken like a true southerner?

    I don't know if this is a step up or step down from his major policy speech dealing with the flying of the confederate flag and where the flag pole belongs.

    Where are this man's priorities? Is Mike Huckabee really one of the best that the GOP has to offer the American voter?

    January 28, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Jim Silver

    Mitt shoulda thought ahead and made sure there was an apple and a Granola Bar in his fannypack.

    January 28, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. arfisher, Midlothian, VA

    Substance please Huckabee! Seems to me we would want our president to be alive. Because of your bad choices on everything including diet as well as a lack of discipline you needed stomach surgery in order to loose weight.

    January 28, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Dave

    is this supposed to be news? pretty absurd, if so. sorry, Huckster, keep trying. lame attempt by you Gomer.

    January 28, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Paul in FL

    Reporter goofed on Oklahoma.
    Huckabee told a joke that people got overly excited about. (Hoping Steve is right)
    I am still voting for Romney tomorrow even with these minor goofs by others.
    Let it go, people. We are all getting so synical.

    January 28, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Mae

    anyone that has so little sense of humor that they do not realize Huckabee is just making light and having fun with policting as I am sure he does not expect anyone to change their vote because the candidate they like does not eat the skin on chicken. People get a life and laugh a bit so you can see when a joke is a joke

    January 28, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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