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. SCMounty

    Not eating your fried chicken's skin makes you appear to be a "girly-man"
    -Something a "liberal sissy YANKEE" would do

    January 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Steve

    Huckabee continues his run for a pot as McCains VP.We will never vote for McCamnesty!

    January 28, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. jw, canadian,ok

    Take it from someone that LIVES in OKLAHOMA, it is a southern state..........eat the skin Willard and don't forget to take the husk off the tamale when you go to San Antonio.

    January 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. BDunc

    Huckabee supporters laugh this off as just another one of his jokes, but the thing is that this is all that Huckabee has- his jokes. He got away with the charm in Iowa, but after a while you would expect a little substance. Sure he has is disastrous Fair Tax, but after that he's just a hill billy of hot air. I'm glad to see that his foolish antics aren't gaining traction amongst real voters who are concerned over real issues.

    On the other hand, I continue to be impressed with Mitt Romney as my man, Rudy, starts to fade in the night. I think everyone's main issue with Romney is that he's changed positions on some issues, but why shouldn't he? Don't we want our leaders to weigh all the options and make the right decisions regardless of how they viewed it in the past? I respect Romney for admitting that he was wrong on these issues instead of trying to back step and somehow twist facts. Romney will get the nomination as more people consider his track record and abilities.

    January 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Samantha

    Huckabee believes he can win the southern states just like he believed he could win South Carolina, keep dreaming Huck. I’m sure it was a joke, but every time this man opens his mouth only idiotic comments come out.

    January 28, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Mary, FL

    The Huckster will be out after Florida so why waste a vote.

    January 28, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. AtWork

    Haha, I agree with Ryan, GA. Wal-Mart region is really what Arkansas is.

    But seriously, who can honestly fault a man for taking off the skin of CRAP KFC fried chicken? If Romney was actually in a Southern Home and did that, then maybe you could fault him. But I've had tons of home-cooked southern fried chicken, it's great! Nothing compared to the cheap knock-off at a NATIONAL chain. HAHA... oh Huckleberry, keep trying!

    January 28, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. LMAO

    Amen, Scarpiron. As a Dem it's a shame to see all of the brainless Repub. missing the joke. It is entertaining though.

    January 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. mike

    Boy, Huckbee is really grasping at straws. One can easily understand how well he understands healthy eating by looking at his family. How could he let them get that obese? It is shameful.....a health crisis of his own making. Unforgivable...does he really think they are happy being that fat?

    January 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Ben

    The comments show how very stupid you people are...Huckabee makes many substantial speeches and remarks every day, but all the media will report on is some joking comment that was probably made in the last 30 seconds of an interview. You geniuses lap this up, willingly believing this is all he talks about. Your freedom is already gone, thanks to the press. The only real people in the race are Huckabee and Paul, and the media ridicules both. You will follow the media cheerleaders to your doom, and you will get exactly what you deserve.

    January 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Liza

    People take things too literally these days...Huckabee was making a joke....I mean...everyone is wanting to take up for Romney...but wasn't that the guy on the streets singing "who let the dogs out"?...And they say Huckabee is the childish one..

    January 28, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Attacks by the Establishment on Ron Paul Continue

    No doubt after Ron Paul I would have to vote for Huckabee. Finding only a good reason or two is the best you can do after your first choice and Huckabee has the best tax answer after Paul which is basically the same in that comsumption, tariffs, or sales taxes are the only legal taxes ever imposed and all others are illegal according to the original Constitution!

    January 28, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. John, Kansas City, MO


    The only way to waste a vote is by not voting. Everyone, please take control of our government by exercising on of our greatest liberties.

    January 28, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. kevin from alaska

    Mitt Romney looks awkward in a fast food joint. 'How staged is this?' should have been the caption.

    At least Huckabee called him out on staging it. Though how many more pictures do I have to see of Huckabee running (reminds me of Clinton in 92) or playing guitar (reminds me of Clinton in 92 with his sax)?

    January 28, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Bob

    LOL! Two things I love about this messed up country.... 1. The GOP is dumb enought to hang itself on stupid issues like fried chicken. 2. CNN is pathetic enough to report this is news and think the American people really give a flying chicken wing what either moron is eating for lunch. Please somebody throw these guys a life ring before they drown on their own stupidity and childish antics! What's next, McCain gets an earful from Ron Paul for not finishing his veggies???

    January 28, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The only thing Huckabee can make compare with Romney is how to eat fried chicken. Anything else, Huckabee is lost for intelligible words. Huckabee might be a nice guy, but he ain't the brightest shinning star.

    January 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. blake

    how retarded can Huckabee get? "Romney doesn't eat the skin on the fried chicken! I don't either, but can you believe it? How offensive!"

    January 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. Zach G

    @ Mary, FL – Amazingly enough he's second in the delegate count. Out after FL seems like a huge stretch.

    January 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. susan mark

    i eat the skin, and I am voting for Mitt. I can have my cake and eat it too!

    go MITT go

    January 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Nashville Cat

    Oklahoma is the birthplace of:
    Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood, Ronnie Dunn, Toby Keith, Merle Haggard, and Blake Shelton (among others). Some of country music's biggest acts have come from OK, so I consider them Southern. (We dropped the "and Western" from C & W a long time ago.)

    January 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Ben


    Was it ok for Kerry to "Flip-flop", I don't think so....

    January 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Roanld Edwin

    When is the media going to ask serious questions about our serious problems in the U.S. i.e. social security will run out of money, our corporations are handicapped by high government taxes and restrictions and our open borders with all its inherent problems of poverty and crime..We are exporting jobs and importing poverty

    January 28, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Steven Furtado, Kunkletown PA

    Good lord! I'm no fan of Romney, but who the hell cares how he eats his chicken? That's just beyond silly.

    January 28, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Chris

    Lighten up people. Huckabee was making a tongue-in-cheek joke for crying out loud.

    It's not particularly funny, but it was also harmless. At least give him credit for not taking himself so seriously.

    January 28, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Raymond

    Not everyone in the South thinks like that. Some of us are concerned about health and want to enjoy the flavor of fried chicken without so much of the fat. Stuff like that makes me wonder what other irrelevant stabs Huckabee is going to take at opponents.

    January 28, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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