(CNN) - During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee - who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain - joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman.
“That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak,” said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”
Obama supports extending the assault weapons ban, limits on gun sales, and a national law against carrying concealed weapons, with exceptions for retired police and military personnel. John McCain – whose legislative record was awarded a C+ rating by the NRA in 2004, but has received a perfect score – will address the group later Friday afternoon. His speech will include remarks "on the issue of unconditional negotiation with state sponsors of terror" that aides tell CNN’s Dana Bash are a direct response to Obama’s comments earlier Friday.
UPDATE, 8:28 PM: Huckabee released the following statement regarding his comments Friday, according to the New York Times website:
During my speech at the N.R.A., a loud noise backstage, that sounded like a chair falling, distracted the crowd and interrupted my speech. I made an off hand remark that was in no way intended to offend or disparage Sen. Obama. I apologize that my comments were offensive. That was never my intention.