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. Anonymous

    The congress republicans are horrible and we must get them all out of office.

    They voted against the farm Bill

    look it up

    this bill could have saved billions of dollars

    you have to hold these incompetent representatives accountable.

    Say democrat in 2008 congressional elections

    May 18, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. a voter

    Get the congress republicans our of office

    they voted againts the farm bill

    which could have saved us billions of dollars over the years.

    they are irresponsible and not representative of supposed finacial conservative republican ideals

    May 18, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Debby

    Oh please he was just kidding. The Obama supporters did the same thing with Hillary about the Bosnia fire and were very vicious about it. It seems everyone has to walk on eggshells afterwards when someone makes a joke about Obama.

    May 18, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. What the Huck??

    Tacky, tasteless, appalling, racist (the first thing he could think of when he heard a loud sound? - rather interesting, don't you think!?), far from funny, inappropriate, sad, pathetic, shocking (but not so shocking all at once!), disappointing, typical... need i continue?

    OBAMA '08 & '12

    May 18, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Anna, SW Missouri

    Put Huckabee on McCain's ticket and the Democrats will only have to show the video of McCain singing "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" and Huckabee in front of the NRA making that joke, and ask the question-Is this what America wants?

    May 18, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. VELMA H

    I AM A HILLARY SUPPORTER. IF SHE IS NOT NOMINATED I WILL VOTE REPUBLICAN FOR THE FIRST TIME. MCCAIN WILL THEN BE ELECTED AND HILLARY WILL THEN HAVE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO RUN. HOPEFULLY OBAMA WILL HAVE HER AS A RUNNING MATE. AT THIS POINT HE HAS NOT REALLY BEAT HER , ONLY IF HE BEATS HER COUNTING FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN. AFTERALL THIS WILL BE A NATIONAL ELECTION . I THINK THE SUPER DELAGATES ARE AFRAID OF ACKNOWLEDGING THE OBVIOUS, BARACK DOES NOT HAVE THE KEY STATES , BUT THEY ARE AFRAID OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY CRYING RACISM- BECAUSE OF THIS DEMOCRATS WILL LOSE THE GENERAL ELECTION.

    May 18, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. JC

    Is Huckabee still running?
    Is he forcing himself onto us?
    Not a chance!

    Huckabee is looking for a job.
    Perhaps he can be a good token figure for the weight loss campaign in the nation if he can convince his own son to lose 100 lbs. That can be a life saver for him.

    May 18, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. drltw

    I am proud of the fact that the members of the NRA who attended that convention and heard the joke did not laugh at the punch line. Anyone familiar with the history of those who make up the NRA would attest that this within itself is progress and reveals that our attitudes towards overt racism have changed in this country.

    It should be noted that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister and a preacher of the Word of God.

    It should also be noted that it was many of these same white Baptist ministers in the deep South who preached "Jesus is Love" from the pulpit on Sunday mornings while they killed blacks, auctioned slaves, and lynched negoes from Sunday Afternoon through Saturday night.

    Although no one can judge Mister Huckabee's heart, his words are a direct reflection of what is stored there. Although he would like for this to be a "benign and insignificant issue', it is far from if.

    All that can be said is that history proves that Mr. Huckabee's being a White minister does not discredit him from being a racist and words that come from the mouth are often a reflection of what is stored in the heart.

    Did he mean it? Maybe. Is he a racist? Maybe not.

    Only God knows.

    May 18, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Claudette Keller

    I am one who ministers the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I speak to “Mr. Hucklebee”, or “Pastor Hucklebee” to tell him to read his bible. It clearly defines his actions as the same as the religious devils who continued to try and find fault with Jesus but couldn’t. Therefore lies were told and truths we altered. Hucklebee should check himself to see if he’s not doing the same to Barack Obama. Lastly two scriptures the “pastor” should read are:

    "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34)

    "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (II Cor. 11:14)

    May 18, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I love Huckabee and I know he didn't mean anything by this poorly phrased humor. He attempted to make a joke and try to relate it to the guns issue at hand – off the cuff. How many of us could do that and have it come out perfectly politically correct? By the many many responses to this article you can tell that it is Obamas crew trying to make more of something than needs to be. Huckabee is one of the best speakers I have heard in a long time and I have great respect for him. I hope McCain chooses him for VP.

    May 18, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. steven

    AMERICA IS A FAKE, ALWAYS WILL BE. ALL MEN HAVE NEVER BEEN TREATED AS EQUAL IN THIS COUNTRY AND A LOT OF US ARE STILL PROUD OF THAT FACT.

    WE AS A PEOPLE HAVE A VERY DARK AND UGLY SIDE!

    THE COMMENTS HERE, CBS, NBC, ABC, HUNT. POST, WASH.. POST AND OTHERS NEWS SITES SPEAKS VOLUMES ON WHO AND WHERE WE ARE AS A NATION. RACE STILL MATTERS, WE HIDE IT VERY WELL, BUT WHEN IT'S OUT WOW HOW SAD.

    May 18, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. SZ

    CNN, what's with the poor moderation on these message boards? Why is it okay for people to post poorly written or hateful comments–or comments that simply say (something along the lines of) "Go [my candidate]"?

    How do you expect to be perceived as a serious news authority?

    May 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. Independent New Yorker

    Huckabee has often been quite funny on the campaign trail. He has was just trying to make a joke as he normally would do, but it was not thought out or planned and it was really the wrong thing to say. He apologized a number of times for the comment, saying that it wasn't funny and that he was sorry. What more does everyone expect?

    Conversely, you have Obama making stupid comments himself and not backing down from them. The "bitter comment, for which he has not sufficiently apologized, and his close ties to his pastor, which he did not sever immediately as he should have, have really undermined his argument for for having any kind of superior "judgment".

    On a final note, people in this country and especially some of those who write on these blogs really need to stop crying out "racism" for events, criticisms or situations that have absolutely nothing to do with race. It undermines the true meaning of the word and does not help the credibility of situations in which people are truly subjected to the unfortunate prejudice that does exist with narrow minded individuals.

    May 18, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Candis

    HUCKABEE IS A LIAR AND THE TRUTH IS NO WHERE IN HIM. HE IS THAT WOLF IN SHEEP CLOTHING. GUESS WHAT? HE 'S A GOMER PYLE. HE IS AN IDIOT TRYING TO BE AN INTELLECT. A "COUNTRY BUNKIN"

    May 18, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. John Anthony Castro

    HONEST NO-SPIN REVIEW: Huckabee made a very awkward joke. Yes, some were correct to label it a Freudian slip. It demonstrates Huckabee's true feelings towards Democrats and further proves that his loyalty lies with the Republican Party and not Christianity. For if his loyalties lied with Christianity, he would never make such a borderline threatening comment toward a fellow Christian, and anyone who says Baptists are not Christians is not a true follower of Jesus Christ who loved everyone including an adulteress.

    It's amazing how people sell their souls when they near victory. We saw it with Hillary and the HMOs; we saw it with McCain and the Military Industrial Complex; and now we're seeing it in Huckabee. The only person we're waiting on is Obama. He certainly backed off his idea of not accepting money from lobbyists, but that was only to remain financially competitive.

    Only time will tell.

    May 18, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. sweetpea

    Huckabee is a preacher? He knew exactly what he was saying when he made those horrible remarks about Senator Obama. He's trying to get all of the racist good ol' boys riled up and to frighten Senator Obama's campaign. What a creep!

    May 18, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Jo Ann

    Preacher or not what is in your heart comes out your mouth. Mike just showed us what's in his heart. This is not laughing matter and for it to come out of the mouth of someone that was actually trying to be the
    president is scary. For all the best policatical teams on CNN,MSNBC,
    to say that he meant to harm is shameful. If it had been J WRigt they would still be reporting on it. Seems like a double standard to me. I expect that from Fox and Glenn Beck but not the other media. And to think that this nut wants to be vp and something happen to McCain he would be president. McCain please say no.

    May 18, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS MAN CALLS HIMSELF A PREACHER BUT AGAIN THE BIBLE WARNS US ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE HUCKABEE. HUCKABEE HAS SOLD HIS SOUL TO THE DEVIL.

    May 18, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Marlie:

    As a foreign observer to this blog, I am astounded at what Huckabee said. This from someone who is possibly trying to br VP? Come on America. This is NOT a joke. In closing, it always amazes me how ugly Hillary supporters are. You people really need to get a grip on reality.

    May 18, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. The Lone Ranger

    INSTEAD OF PUTTING HUCKABEE ON THE TICKET,.. I SAY GIVE BOTH HIM AND McCAIN A TICKET, FOR A BUS RIDE TO SHADY ACRES HOME FOR THE AGED, AND MENTAL INCOMPETENTS.

    May 18, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Will S.

    Why do people take crap like this seriously? Get over yourselves and argue about something important.

    May 18, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Wise White Guy

    I was buying it up until he said he didnt remember saying it. I watched the video and he knew almost instantly he made a huge mistake. I have heard someone say he uses a joke like this in his sermons about Jesus and a nail gun so if thats true i could see how he would make the unscripted mistake. Unfortunately we live in a world with a lot of racist ignorant crackpots. The truth is that the threat to Obama is a real one and it is very unfortunate. Really wish he had not lied about not realizing he said it. That makes me wonder about his charachter as a whole.

    May 18, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. mmartin arkansaw

    huckabee will regret making such a stupid remark.GOD is not happy with you.americans will not let you live this down.NOT FUNNY!

    May 18, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. SusanM.

    Huckabee..you're a gun toting lunatic. Your comment was disgusting. Is that what Jesus would have done? McCain might be stupid enough to chose you as his running mate. I hope he does..it would make it easier for Obama to defeat McCain aka Andy Griffith's grandpa and you a combo of Barney Fife and Barney Rubble.

    Obama 2008/2012

    May 18, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. Wise White Guy

    Also would like to say that it sickens me that people think this was made a story by the Obama campaign. The media picked it up and ran with it not the Obama campaign. If you people watched Obama speak once in a while you would see that he has nothing but sympathy for someone who mispeaks or phrases things wrong. And unlike McCain who changes his mind daily, Obama has handled these things consistently from the start.

    May 18, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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