May 18th, 2008
01:05 PM ET
6 years ago

Huckabee: 'Lousy joke' but 'pretty benign issue'


Watch Huckabee's joke at the NRA Convention Friday. (starting at 0:50).

(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, known for his razor-sharp humor on the campaign trail, has again found it can be a double-edge sword, as he spent a third day explaining his admittedly “awkward” quip about Senator Barack Obama.

Huckabee talked to reporters Saturday after addressing graduates at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. Not surprisingly, the first question was about Friday’s joke at the NRA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, about the Democratic presidential front-runner. It came up again Sunday in his appearance on “Meet the Press”.

After a loud noise back stage during his speech Friday, Huckabee joked, “That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He’s getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him, and he dove for the floor.” The audience, who laughed as he started the line, turned quiet.

In his news conference Saturday, Huckabee acknowledged the line was a mistake. “It was a simple thing of an incredible distraction that happened somewhere backstage”, he said, “I made a rather awkward attempt at a joke, wasn’t all that great. I’ve apologized for it. I didn’t mean to offend anybody. I didn’t even remember having said it. I honestly had to go back and look at the tape.”

The former Arkansas Governor said the controversy over the line has been blown out of proportion. He told reporters, “I think if people go back and look at the actual moment they’ll realize that it’s not nearly as much of a thing as some bloggers have attempted to make it to be. So all I would say is let people go back and look at what actually happened, and I think it’s a pretty benign interview.”

Huckabee drew big laughs often as a candidate for his lines in debates and on the stump, even making an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” that received great reviews. But other times, his humor could raise some eyebrows. CNN producer Evan Glass, who traveled with the candidate in Iowa, recalled Huckabee joking during a hunting photo where his group bagged three pheasants, “don’t get in my way. This is what happens.” (It should be noted the joke was prompted by a reporter’s prodding for a metaphor.)

soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Racist !!! Plant the seeds – you are NOT a man of God. You are awful. I'm sorry I ever listened to a word you said !!!!

    May 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Sharon

    Huckabee you stupid idiot. You just shot yourself in the foot.

    May 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl

    I don't think Huckabee meant anything, he was just trying to make a joke and the Obama campaign had to blow it out of proportion
    to get more attention.

    How Sad.

    May 18, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Damoah, Hong Kong

    Yes, he thinks this is a joke. Let Obama be shot and we will see what will happen in America and all corners of the world.

    May 18, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Franky

    Don't worry Mike, is cool. I believe you, I really do. If I like a person, chances are you will have my deepest respect. Mistakes are always made in life, don't worry......

    The Lord has died for our sins, not for our mistakes.......

    May 18, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Brandon in Indiana

    Swing and a miss

    May 18, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. HOPE! hope! HoPe!

    not funny!

    May 18, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. oh Puuuleeeeze!

    The line wasn't blown out of proportion. Your back hills, Arkansas humor got your butt in trouble. Suck it up, admit you made a mistake. Then get back on the campaign bus you're living in since your campaign cratered, go pick up Hillary, and go home.

    May 18, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. After further review,Texas

    He should have just shot any chance of getting on McCains ticket for veep.Freundian slip?This makes his look alike,'Gomer Pyle" look smart.

    May 18, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. LT for Obama

    He may find it benign but I found it offensive. Anytime you joke about pointing a gun at anyone is NEVER funny.

    He apologized but I am sure this was a Freudian slip and underlies what he really thinks.

    May 18, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Elisabeth

    "Sweetie" is worse!

    May 18, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Tell It Like It Is

    Proving he's not a worthy candidate for president

    May 18, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. HGH

    I'm pretty sure nobody cares...

    Mickey Mouse in 2008!!!

    May 18, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. Joe Reg

    No wonder why you did not go far.

    The repubs are doomed.

    America has had enough now.

    It is no laughing matter for the people.

    May 18, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Danielle

    Huckabee joked, “That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a car. He’s getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him, and he dove for the floor.”

    His socalled joke was extrememly scary and racist. How do you make a joke about shooting the FIRST POTENTIAL BLACK PRESIDENT???? This is ridiculous, this right here, explains why this primary is still going on. A lot of people are scared, terrified that a BLACK MAN will be in charge, will be answering calls at 3am; they are afraid of change; its one thing for a women to be president, at least shes white, but for a Black man?? people arent havent it, and thats the ONLY REASON WHY THIS PRIMARY IS TAKING THIS LONG. America will never get over its racial tension until it admitts its still an issue and apologizes for its years of discrimination. This is a disgrace to America and its leaders.

    May 18, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. cnn rocks

    there is nothing you have to say suckabee that would redeem your image,as jack cafferty said you are a complete idiot.
    God will protect obama.

    May 18, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Mary - Independent

    What is happening to the Country, that if you make comments, you later apologize for them. However, some certain types of people can make comments and they do not have to later apologize. First of all, we still have Freedom of Speech and Huckabee should not have to apologize for making a joke about Obama. How come Obama's supporters can make comments, whether good or bad, and they don't have to apologize for it? Double standards and not fair. No one should have to "walk on eggshells" to be sure they don't offend the wrong person! In addition, this Country needs to get a grip on racial prejudice and get along!

    May 18, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. White Male -CA

    It was a veiled threat.

    Huckabee doesn't joke around.

    May 18, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Sharon Minesota

    CNN moderators, it's over, close out this blog. So, he's not so funny. I knew that all along. Tha's why John McCain is the republican nominee. He may be old but his jokes and humor is right on.

    May 18, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. A.Masabo Canada

    Shame on u HUCK OR BEE...u didn't remember said it????Alzheimer or what???

    May 18, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA


    May 18, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    SCUM BAG!!

    May 18, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Joe Reg

    God is watching your words Mike.

    Thou shalt speak no evil.

    The repubs are in much trouble than we think.

    May 18, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    SCUM BAG!!!

    May 18, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Snyggast

    It's OK because he's Christian. Christians are allowed to make racist comments.

    May 18, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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