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

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

CNN

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. Concerned From PA

    I have to agree with Mike Huckabee. This democratic election process is so messy. Why don't we return to the Feudal system. We can arm all the democrats, and all the republicans, let them hide in the bushes, and let the best shot win.
    I have to agree with Mike Huckabee... NOT!

    May 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Janet, OR

    When you can't beat them, just make a joke about them getting shot, huh Huckabee?

    You are an evil man, and I will never respect any party who thinks that joke was funny. I hate to be the one to tell you this but Barack is more than just a Democrat, he is an American. Deal with that, you son of a bigot.

    May 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Steve, New York, New York

    A typical republican conservative -he thinks that only white judeo-christians deserve to be treated with any dignity, and "to hell" with everyone else.

    May 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. kim

    Hukabee misses the whole mission of the NRA–guns are for hunting and protecting your property. For him to suggest that gun owners use guns to scare other people is the very reason that we need sensible gun legislation, which the NRA opposes. What an idiot!

    May 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Dee

    This concerns me although he apologized. Had Gov. Huckabee played on Hillary's Bosnia story it could had been understandable and clearer but to just off the top of his head go to Obama ducking gun shots makes me wonder what he has said or thought in privacy. This scare me now about him. Is he seeking Senator Obama's harm that Arkansas will be on both ballots?
    Politics brings out the sin, evil and ugly in many players now possibly a Man of God. God said he would exposed us.

    May 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Pennsylvania

    What would Huckabee, or anybody for that matter, do if somebody "aimed a gun" at him?

    It seems that even the NRA audience had a subdued reaction to the joke. They started to laugh at the beginning of the joke but then as Huckabee went on, they fell quiet.

    Seems like his pandering to the audience and nonchalant attitude of guns really BACKFIRED on him!

    May 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Jennifer - American in Canada

    No joking matter......ill chosen words. Huckabee mispoke but this is not funny. Three things that come not back:- THE SPOKEN WORD, the sped arrow and a missed opportunity......

    May 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Jan

    Give it a rest, all you politically correct whiners! In today's world, people are chastized for any- and everything that is thought to be insensitive.

    Sensitivity needs to go by the wayside and let people speak their minds before we elect someone who WON'T say what they REALLY mean . . . (Obama). He's danced around every issue and attempted to cover his tracks on many accounts. Obama is riding on charisma, which is dwindling very quickly.

    Mr. Huckabee–you don't owe anyone an apology. It must've been a slow day for the media–and now the PC elite are making a feast out of it.

    It shouldn't be a case of always having to think before you speak in order to see if your words might be offensive! TOO MANY "RULES" and government intervention (Obama and Clinton).

    I support you, Huck!

    Jan

    May 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. william

    YOU COMMENTATERS ON THIS ARTICLE REALLY ARE SOME OF THE MOST CHILDISH PEOPLE IVE EVER WITNESSED. GET REAL AND FOR GODS SAKES GROW UP PEOPLE. SELFISH IS THE MAN WHO CANNOT TAKE A JOKE ABOUT HIMSELF OR HIS OWN IDEAS. SOMEDAY WE'LL ALL THINK OF THIS LIKE STUMBLING ON THE CURB AT THE MALL. IT REAlly meant nothing except to the small people.

    May 18, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Ryan

    "Stilted" really isnt the word I would choose to describe most responses to this article, so much as "obviosly biased." If Huckabee were consumed in the moment by the same carcinogenic partisanship thats plagued American politics, its easy to see how that can happen with the angry and rather unintelligent responses that seem to pop up on such a small piece such as this. Without actually responding to the article itself, because I really dont have too much of an opinion one way or the other, I would just like to say that before so many of you respond to Huckabee's self described "awkwardness" in such an angry way, I would think it would be wise to first look at yourself and your own response, lest you find yourself resembling all too closely the object of you ire.

    May 18, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Ann Marie

    I dont trust those gun-happy people. Guns should only be allowed in contained hunting areas and shooting ranges and hunting should only be for food, not for fun. This whole idea of everybody having a gun for protection is ludicrous. Most people do not have the reflex or skill to protect themselves using a gun. If you want protection use a bulletproof vest. A gun is an offensive weapon not a defensive weapon. This whole Second Amendment thing came about when slavery was abolished. It's time for a change. Lord help America.

    May 18, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. EA

    What a joke some of you are out there. I'm sure half of you suffer fro small man syndrome or get beat by your hubbies. It's all you knobs out ther there that have no real clue of the issue or issues at hand who would even think of defending this kind of crap. He made a poor choice in an attempt at a joke, and granted he apoligized. Funny how months ago Huckabee was all ready to defend some of Wright's comments as a member of the church and now as he figures he's in the mix for a Veep spot he's a turn ccoat now. More of the same old crap of the Repubs trying to hide their white sheets behind a thunper like Huckabee.

    May 18, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. ERICA

    It was a bad joke....he said sorry...get over it. Mr. Obama has dealt with far worse I am sure. The media is making it bigger than it has to be. If your a deranged person and hate Mr. Obama you would still be a deranged person who hates Obama even if you had not heard about the bad joke.

    Why won't people give the Rev. Wright comments a rest? Have any of you people that have issues with Mr. Obama's church EVER been to his church or are you just reading what a reporter has written ( minus the editors having already gone and take out what they wanted)? My America will not be EXACTLY like your America so deal with it. Live the life of a Black Man in American and see if you view America the same.

    People love to talk about Mr. Obama being possibly the first black president. I guess all these people are forgetting that he came out of the womb of a white woman. That makes him Bi-Racial. But oh I forgot the one drop rule.....

    May 18, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Jim Franklyn

    I think polticians have to yap so much that it is impossible not to stick their foot in their mouth several times a year. Huckabee's comment was totally inappropriate. Ironically, other than Edwards and Obama, he is the only Republican I would consider voting for. The last thing this country needs is Bush III. We have regressed more in 7 1/2 globally than all of our other presidents combined. He should have been cracking his joke about BUSH, then it would have been appropriate (just kidding)......

    May 18, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. tigerakabj

    I think he just doesn't understand the courage Obama has to have to be doing what he is doing. Out of all the people he could have mentioned, he mentioned Obama. I think the fact that he was in an all-white audience, gave him a chance to let his hair down. He knew what he said. I'm glad his butt was booted out of the race.

    May 18, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. lou

    Huckabee was totally wrong to have uttered those word, whether he remembered saying them or not. A professional, adult, Christian minister should know better than to joke about taking a gun to another human being. I was firmly in Huckabee's corner until now.

    Since being a Christian minister is a calling and he's supposed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and salvation, I'm afraid Huckabee is an example of what happens when we leave the calling of God on our lives to pursue our own agenda. In the end times, even the very elect will be deceived. This is a lesson for all of us, not just Huckabee.

    May 18, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Tone

    lulled into a false sense of security there Mike, because you were among some of your closest friends. Did you forget you were standing in front of cameras. The truth is often spoken in the midst of friends and it seems Mike got a bit too comfortable. Guns and God yea thats the ticket, a bible in one hand and a shotgun in the other.

    May 18, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Fred, SD

    If anything happens to Barack Obama the blood will be on Huckabee's hands. This country will NEVER recover from the pain of such a thing, or the stain of Huckabee's so called "joke".

    We will undoubtedly be the laughing stock of the world and they will justifyably know we don't mean what we say. The Constitution won't be worth the paper it's written on.

    May 18, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. alice2Fresno,CA

    Very Bad Joke Huckabee! Barack would Never Slip or Trip getting off a chair, More Like McCain would be falling down saying "Help, I've Fallen & I can't Get Up" Further; having thoughts like that about Obama is really disturbing, eventho you did apologize. I am surprised something of that nature would be on your mind at all. If Barack would have made a remark like that (& of coarse he would not have) we would never hear the end of it. Is the Press going to play this mis-spoken phrase of Huckabee over, over, again & again. ???

    May 18, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    HOW SAD.

    NOT A LEADING REPUBLICAN CAME OUT & CALLED IT WHAT IT IS.

    VILE, IGNORANT, VIOLENT, BIGOTRY.

    WE ARE SURE, MARIN, ROBERT & JOHN DON'T THINK IT'S FUNNY.

    May 18, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Barbara Eason, Richmond VA

    You call that a joke? The bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, it lets us know exactly where his thoughts are. That was sad, I mean really sad.

    May 18, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Bush, your a sick sick man

    "gary May 18th, 2008 12:57 pm ET

    BEING A ARROGANT, HYPOCRITICAL ,RACIST BLACK MAN CANIDATE ,I WOULD SOMETIMES WORRY ABOUT THE REAL THING HAPPENING. IT WOULD BE A BAD THING ,BUT THERE IS SOME CRAZY PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE NOT READY FOR A BLACK PRESIDENT. ESPECIALLY ONE THAT IS UNKNOWN AND UN QUALIFIED.OBAMA PLAYS THE RACE CARD EVERYTIME ITS FOR HIS ADVANTAGE ,AND SOME REDNECK ISN'T GOING TO DEAL WITH IT.THIS RACE HAS BEEN FIXED FOR OBAMA WITH ALL THE SUPER DELIGATES TRYING TO REUIN THE REAL CHANCE WE HAVE FOR REAL CHANGES(HRC). SHE WINS WV. AND OBAMA GETS ENDORSE BY DELIGATES. NOW IF THAT ISN'T A CROCK OF —-.THIS COUNTRY GETS WHAT IT DESERVES IF O.B. GETS ELECTED.YOU SCREWED UP OUR CHANCE BY ALL THE HATE FROM THE MEDIA AND O.B. SUPPORTERS TOWARD THE CLINTONS. WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND.DONR EXPECT US TO VOTE O.B. IN NOV. US HRC SUPPORTERS HAVE BEEN TRASHED ALONG WITH HER ,AND CALLED UNEDUCATED AND MANY OTHER CHOICE WORDS.WE DONT VOTE FOR A EMPTY SUIT. NOW WHO LOOKS STUPID. WE WILL GET OUR LAST LAUGH IN NOV."

    gary, you've been posting the same disgusting attacks everywhere. you sir are bitter, and buy into fear, and you're not fooling anyone into believing your spin.

    May 18, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Sean, Detroit MI

    Any gun carrying professional (police, security guard ect) or gun hobbist or hunting enthusiast will tell you that you NEVER aim a gun at anyone unless you plan on shooting them. When is it ever funny to joke about aiming a gun at anyone?? Especially at a meeting for the NRA, where members should know better. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be malicious, but it does reveal Huckabees ignorance.

    May 18, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Kofi

    He can't remember saying it... *sigh*

    May 18, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. After further review,Texas

    Being a preacher he should know the boss is watching.Guess he found his degree in a box of crackerjacks.

    May 18, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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