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. brad

    huh. Is this a joke. How stupid.

    January 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. everfaith

    Governor Huckabee was making a joke. I, for one, appreciate levity and a dry wit. Notice that he didn't say anything until a reporter told him about it! What was he supposed to say? Launch into a diatribe about the evils of eating food cooked in oil? He would have been slammed for that as well. So he made a joke. I thought it was funny.

    January 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. NFaye

    Romney is a man of Action and Integrity! He is committed to constitutional government and preservation of our individual liberties. He is our best hope for a better economy. Romney will bring new vision, fresh faces, and focused energy to solve our nations problems. He is a true Republican committed to Positive Change and Sound Reason. I Trust Romney!

    January 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Clif

    For me, it comes down to Paul and Romney. My background is in economics. These are the only candidates that know a darn thing about economics, including Hillary and Barak. Since Paul does not have a snowball's chance (and I voted libertarian in the last two elections), I'm going all out for Mitt Romney.

    He did a tremendous job saving the 2002 Winter Olympics from a $380 million catastrophe. He also saved a number of companies about to go bankrupt. When you think about it, he is exactly what this country needs. Apologies to Ron Paul, who I have the deepest respect. But Romney is electable. In fact, he almost beat Ted Kennedy in his home state.

    January 28, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Kirk

    Eating fried chicken without skin is a serious matter in southern states of the US as well as here in Germany. It shows deliberatly your lack of respect for different cultures as well as a lack of good taste...
    Besides Huckabee seems to be the only one who does not take himself more serious than the issues he brings up. It´s time for America to realise that things have to change urgently. It can´t be that life of innocent childs weigh more than the choices of million of adults regarding so called "planned parenthood". America should be be glad to have someone who is serious where it matters but still has the ability to laugh. There are other candidates of the democrates that have only one goal: To sit in the White House, no matter how they treat their "rivals". This is childish and totally immature and not the fact that someone jokes about chicken skin scalps.

    January 28, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Kirk

    I should have said: It´s time for America to realise that things have to change urgently. It can´t be that life of innocent childs weigh less than the choices of million of adults regarding so called "planned parenthood".

    January 28, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Frost

    What does how the man eats chicken have to do with being president? Huck must really be running out of real issues to make a point out of. Ohmygoodness, that Romney was seen peeling the skin off of fried chicken! Blasphemy!

    Give me a break.

    January 28, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Nathan Resick

    Wow... that's some hard hitting news right there

    January 28, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Marti, San Diego CA

    Man, the Huckster has got real depth hasn't he. Count me in.

    Please...can somebody get this joker off the stage? get him a job in stand up in Vegas or something.

    January 28, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. rainman

    I bet All the dems eat the skin on their fried Chicken. go, chicken skin eaters!

    January 28, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. woody, tokin librul

    It was Oklahoma that birthed one of the finest political similes I ever heard.

    Uttered by the father of then-Congresscritter J.C. Watts, the only Black Republican in Congress, JC Senior opined that "a Black man voting for George Bush was like a chicken voting for the Colonel..."

    January 28, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Kyle


    January 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Paul Battis

    Huckabee's chicken comment is not only relevant but it's also right-on for these turbulent times. He is obviously using the word "chicken" as a metaphor for higher tariffs. So what he is saying is, "Increasing tariffs is necessary to lever the imbalance of exports to imports. We can continue doing rigorous trade with China and the rest of the far east as long as the tariff makes it profitable for the American people."

    Taking the "Skin off the Chicken" is insider D.C. talk for a low tariff that only benefits the exporter and special interests here at home. Well done' Huckabee you are a political dynamo.

    January 28, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Lori

    Is Huckabee serious?

    January 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. jim

    Who in the good grace of America cares?

    January 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Ryan

    Fried chicken? Rediculous. The only candidate that will actually end the conflict in Iraq and return to Republican principles is almost never mentioned by CNN. Hopefully the internet and the ability to retrieve pertinant information on topics people need to know will prevail over biased mainstream news organizations such as CNN and FOX. If people do their homework, they will realize that Ron Paul stands for what the majority of Democrat and Republican citizens want in the white house, he just doesn't stand for what the lobbyists for big business want, thus the reason he is being ostrasized by the media.

    January 28, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Mack Lowell

    Huckabee says in his own book that removing the chicken from his favorite fried chicken was one of the hardest things he had to do to lose weight.

    He's a fraud and a hypocrite and a liar, apparently.

    Anyone considering voting for him is either a sucker or one of those three things as well.

    January 28, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. David - Oregon City

    The hateful (“your true colors are showing”) comments here are emblematic of the people that did not understand true southern heritage and true southern traditions. Mike Huckabee is correct to point out the difference. Some like bagels, we like beagles!

    January 28, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Hillphil

    This has to be the stupidest comment Huckabee has ever made, and he's made some doosies.

    Who's stupid?

    January 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. David

    Forget about Huck, what the hell is CNN doing reporting on this garbage? This vapid nonsense is the reason our press is a joke.

    January 28, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. Dave, Atlanta, GA

    If Huckabee knows what's good for him he'll start peeling off the skin himself. The man seems to forget that he once weighed more than 300 pounds

    January 28, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  22. anonymous

    i sure hope huckabee doesn't think he's going to win the country by complaining how people eat their food, especially if he's complaining against healthy eaters (there are a lot of people who are desperately trying to diet here!!). florida out to do you in huckabee!! tell fred i said hi!!

    ROMNEY '08

    January 28, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. Terri

    Just vote for Romney... : )

    January 28, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  24. AD

    it seems like Huckabee was just being funny, not negative...just my two cents.

    January 28, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Kate

    So ridiculous! Chicken? Really? OK is a Southern state – my dad is from there and they pride themselves on being southern. And they make GREAT fried chicken in OK too!

    January 28, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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