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. Kitty Conrad

    I lived in N.C. for 20 years and now Georgia for 38. I don't eat the skin either. Jim Nabors should sue Huckabee for falsely impersonating Gomer Pyle.

    January 28, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Marcus, Great Lakes, IL

    People, people. Lighten up.

    January 28, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. mike kaplan

    How incredibly stupid.

    January 28, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. TJS

    This is crazy. Why does everything they say joking to reporters end up on here. I am not real sure where Oklahoma comes into it anyway. But most Texans consider Oklahoma as a yankee state. LOL! I couldn't care less how Money Romney eats his chicken, surprised he lowers himself to eat at a KFC though. He is just another GW with his money and friends. Huckabee is truly a man for the common person from everything he has said and from researching him. I hope you all look into the candidates instead of basing your vote on these blogs. I for one would not waste a vote on any other candidate. And if he doesn't make it I will write him in. He is the real change. Some may say it is change they don't want but look at where we are now, how could it possibly get much worse?

    January 28, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Roninacreage

    And i'll bet Huckster does not eat the skin on his baked or broiled chicken either. I'm sure this was all done in jest.

    January 28, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. pmac

    HEY! Liz Cheney just endorsed the Mittster! I'm impressed- – -NOT!
    Who gives a rat's patootee!

    How much gas is your tax cuts buyin'ya? Are ya brushin' up on your Chinese?
    McCain says we're gonna be in Iraq for the rest of the century!
    Any Person who votes republican ought to have their head examined.
    How's your 401K? Got that sinkin' feelin?

    January 28, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    And from the looks of all the "svelte" fried chicken eaters in Arkansas, who can argue with "Logic of Huckabee?!"

    January 28, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Even though Oklahoma was not a state during the civil war, many of us consider ourselves southern; geographically, politically and of course in our diets as well.

    January 28, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Well this entry is completely logical, you see, eating fried chicken w/skin = winning the south. I wish I had gotten the memo sooner.

    For what it's worth, I'm a born and bred Tennessean and I eat boneless/skinless fried chicken. It tastes better and is better for you.

    January 28, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Jim in Raleigh

    Just what we need – people deciding a presidential election based on whether or not a candidate eats the skin on a piece of fried chicken. I wish I could believe that Huckabee was joking – but it sounds about right for the depth of the Republican candidates grasp of the issues.

    January 28, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Mark

    How exactly does this really matter in the campaign? Is this the result of bored journalists?

    January 28, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. banhead

    It's a Southern thing. You wouldn't understand.

    January 28, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Earl

    Mitt said he was there for the biscuits anyway.

    January 28, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Dr Remulak

    "And speaking of possible gaffes, a good Southerner might also dispute one of Huckabee's claims: since when is Oklahoma "a great southern state"?"

    Oh please. It's not much of a gaffe compared to Huckabee believing the earth is 6000 years old. And I'm not eating the nasty chicken skin at KFC either.

    January 28, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. F Lester

    What Aaron Schiff said. The CNN political producer clearly has never been to Oklahoma or bothered to read a simple Wikipedia entry about its history.

    January 28, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. oxhead

    If at the next Southern campaign event Romney fails to mop up his gravy with a slice of Wonder Bread, he's all but through.

    January 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Richard

    Romney is such a fake. I will NEVER vote for him.

    January 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. jimbo

    Another idiotic comment from the Village idiot- Backwoods Huckabee. This is the best the Republicans can offer for a Presidential contender ??
    Whats next from this country bumpkin ? A double wide for his vacation home ?
    A swim in the trailer park swimming pool ?
    He is pathetic and so are the people that are donating money for his hillbilly shenanigans. He will never win a primary in a big state – drop out now Huck and go back to the mudhole you came from.

    January 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Ryan, GA


    I'm Southern. I understand. Who cares what a guy from Wal-Martville, US thinks about how the future president of the US eats his chicken? He actually better be praying that Mitt wins so that he can save all the jobs in the state of Wal-Mart, aka Arkansas.

    January 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Matt, Houston, TX

    This is news? This matters? Get a grip CNN, this is not an issue. This is not news. And we on the Democratic side of the primary thought the Clintons were bringing up petty non-issues. Sheesh!

    Psst, hey all you Republicans, have you checked out Barack? Don't take my word for it, go to his web site and see what a real uniter is saying. There are a lot of you already saying they will vote for him over any of the Republicans if he gets the nomination.

    January 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. David

    We the People – Vote for Romney!!

    January 28, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Krishna

    a question to CNN: do we care? it just expemlifies the stupidity of the top three republicans and the weakness of the republican candidates.

    January 28, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Mark

    "It's a Southern thing. You wouldn't understand."

    That's funny, and here I was thinking that an election involving who potentially could be the primary leader of our country was an American thing. Silly me.

    January 28, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. roadhouse158

    Hey idiots. It was a joke. It was a very stupid observation to bring up to someone running for President, so he joked about. One more thing. He's not a hypocrite. That would mean that Huckabee himself orders fried chicken and peels the skin off. He said he doesn't order fried chicken, rather he prefers broiled. Ordering fried chicken, and then taking off the fried skin is a little bit stupid. Don't order fried chicken if you don't want it fried.You people jumping on someone for a joke is beyond me. You say they shouldn't be running for president....IMO you shouldn't be allowed to vote. You can't tell serious issues from satire...

    January 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. Tom, Iowa

    Thank god! A reasonable discussion on the issues.

    Original or Extra Crispy?!? If this decides the Southern states, maybe we should just go back and let them secede.

    January 28, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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