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. David

    Is this really what our political discourse is coming down to? Does Huckabee, the man who lost 70 pounds by eating healthy, actually think he will win because Romney eats healthy?

    January 28, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Ryan

    What is the significance of this? Show some respect for Ron Paul and put up articles about his campaign rather than a fried chicken incident. Good grief.

    January 28, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Chris

    I am hungry now for some fried chicken.

    January 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Mike Butler

    Easter egg hunts now fried chicken, has Huckelberry got a chicken fetish?

    January 28, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. John

    A lot of people here are making it sound like Huckabee went to a campaign event and lectured on fried chicken for three hours. The man was asked a question by a reporter and he answered in jest. If you want to bash huck find something more valid. But it is true that pulling the skin off of fried chicken is a pathetic move. If Romney wants to appeal to common folk by going to a fast food place he shouldn't do something that allows him to be easily ridiculed. Thats on par with going to macdonalds, ordering a cheeseburger, and proceding to remove the patty.

    January 28, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Jack

    Just another example of people who don't listen to all the candidates and make an informed decision. If you have spent more than 10 seconds listening to Governor Huckabee you will know this is another example of his wry sense of humor. Nothing more. He is not an idiot that would think that people would take a "fried chicken" stance on election day.. Please get your collective heads out, and listen to the candidates' platforms instead of what CNN feeds you...

    January 28, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. whatsitToyou

    Wow I keep thinking Mike will wise up and stop with the silly comments and jokes but nope! He already lost my vote a long time ago but now I may beg others who want to vote for him to reconsider! I know I want a healthy president!

    January 28, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. Rob

    What's even funnier is most of you guys can't even recognize a joke when it's made. Vote Huckabee. Fair Tax.

    January 28, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. afisher, Midlothian, VA

    I am getting concerned over McCain's infatuation with war combined with his headstrong anger. SCARY! I keep hearing him repeat WAR WAR WAR!
    To me this is much more serious than his lack of understanding of the economy and not being a fiscal conservative.

    January 28, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Joy Brittain

    I eat with half of the skin off, and half with it on. That way, I won't offend anyone. Maybe I should run for office. 🙂 🙂

    January 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Matt

    Reminds me of when John Kerry ordered a Philly Cheesesteak with swiss cheese during his '04 campaign- which is basically like asking to get punched in the face.

    January 28, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Greg

    Huck's no flip flopper, clearly he's talkin' chicken not frog legs!

    January 28, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Chris

    Gotta love it when a presidential candidate makes a joke that everyone takes seriously. Come on people, wake up!

    January 28, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. God Bless America

    I live in the south, but I don’t eat chicken. Everybody say hey to anybody. Southerners are great. Eating chicken is neither a prerequisite nor important. I am sure, there are even vegetarians holding offices in the South. Huck was kidding!

    January 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. The Badgeman

    It was a JOKE people, a J-O-K-E.
    Kind of like Ron Paul's chances of winning the Republican primary.

    January 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. John

    I'm sorry...I had to read this twice to believe it. Gee, Huckabee has found the magic bullet to win the South. Just eat fried chicken with the skin on. Not that the voters of southern states really care about the economy or the debate over Iraq. Mike ...you are so smart......I mean deep .........(fried).

    January 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Steven

    That settles it! I am voting for whomever eats the most fried chicken skin! Can you say LIPITOR? Ridiculous!

    January 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. Milton, Harrisburg, PA

    Why did the chicken cross the road? To generate gratuitous free publicity for a politician's cash-strapped candidacy for president.

    January 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Johnny Boy

    I don't know what he was thinking...Huckleberry has a point as the skin is the best part really. But although Romney clearly does have a problem in this regard, I'd still vote for him.

    January 28, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Ryan, GA

    The real question: Is Arkansas a part of the South? Answer: NO. It's a midwestern state. It actually has it's own category, It's not south, north, east, west, central, it's the Wal-Mart region!

    January 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. DR

    Coments on chicken coming from a real turkey!

    January 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. jabez

    Huckleberry has gone nuts. Since when does eating chicken with the skin equal to blasphemy?

    January 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Scrapiron

    Someone makes a comment/joke and the brainless go ever crazier. That's shows the state of our failed education system.

    January 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. jason

    It was a joke, lighten up.

    January 28, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. David - Oregon City

    The concern most Southerners have is the fear of electing a President who is unable to fully relate to the south’s strong southern values. For many years people of southern heritage have been viewed only as corn-cob pipe smoking hicks worthy of receiving the brunt of preconceived opinions bordering on intolerance, due to the profiling of all southerners together. It’s a type of discrimination, if you will!

    January 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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