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. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    SCUM BAG!!!!

    May 18, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. David Goldman for OBAMA



    May 18, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. David, Paducah, Kentucky

    I really liked Huckabee until now. He was not only out of line with that joke, he now insults our intelligence by saying he didn't remember saying it and had to go back and look at the tape. He's an idiot and a liar! He's a former politician who now wants to be an entertainer. It appears he wasn't good at either job. I have lost all respect for a man who I thought I really liked.

    May 18, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. zorba

    Huckabee was the last Republican f or whom I held respect. No more. Pandering to the NRA with this tasteless, partisan joke when so many of our great African-American leaders have fallen to gunfire is absolutely inexcusable. And he can't even remember what he said. For shame, Mr. Huckabee.

    May 18, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |

    I thhink MCAINE is to old, and HUCKLBERRY is to far to thr right. I'am voting for OBAMA and here in California a lot of people are voting for OBAMA 2. LL

    May 18, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. ntoreality

    This is a perfect example of the phrase "politics of the past". The American people have finally come out of the cocoons that they have been in for the past eight years. There is no more anything and everything goes anymore. Throwing things against the wall to see what sticks is their only hope of staying in power. And as I was told when I was a small child, you can do anything until you get your hand slapped, which goes the same for these types of comments.

    May 18, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. John

    Sure, it meant nothing.

    Anyone believe that? Anyone? Hello?

    May 18, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. Nelson

    These are the comments that divide a nation and puts out negative ideas out in to the community! Is this what you call a rapturist christian. Shame on you Huckabee!

    May 18, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Billion

    you are brutal huckabee. to think i had once thought you were 'ok' ... its best you go back to arkansas and start farming like you should be

    May 18, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. NC

    Let me get this straight.....joking about pointing a gun at Obama is "benign" but "bitter" is a story for days.....Okay got it.

    May 18, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. JW

    Look Huck, shooting from the lip is one of many reasons you finished that crackpot Ron Paul.

    May 18, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Tony

    Mike Huckabee's speech would make a lot more sense except that even the CHRISTIAN faith says WE ARE ALL SINNERS and this world will never be fully righteous until Jesus returns.

    His speech would also make more sense if Bush had not gotten the country into a major debt with unnecessary wars. Big government does not mean more social programs but simply more tax payer money being used for government agendas.

    And since Huckabee is a CHRISTIAN PASTOR, I hope McCain will denounce and reject him.

    May 18, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Ardnuas

    Voters.... this man is a WOLF in SHEEPS clothing.....Don't be fooled by his smile.... he "thinks" like BUSH and MCCAIN. BEWARE!!!!

    May 18, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Hillary Or McSame

    Obama I bet is afraid of his own shadow!, and will not be OUR next President!!!!

    May 18, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Terry in Fl

    Oh gawd...lets's make him apologize to the sensitive little man from Illinois. God forbid anyone joke , much less state the truth. Obama should be scared. He has divided this country along the racial and social lines and there are going to be consequences. I'm already seeing the racial dischord in my area. We'll all be ducking before it is over with.

    May 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Leslie of Garden Grove, CA

    *crickets chriping*

    May 18, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Obama Supporter

    Why would this man hate a wonderful man like Senator Obama?
    What Huck-bee said was not right and should do more to let the American people know that he will never ever say anything against the great Senator again. We all must at this time Unite, Yes WE Can Hate the Clinton's and the supporter's> Hate McCain and the supporter's we don't need anyone in the fall we can Hate Hate Hate all the way to the White House

    Obama 08

    May 18, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Benjamin Castinga

    This loser was a preacher? The real terror factories of the world are the churches of the south. They will sell Jesus' blood for oil these hypocrites. The true soldiers of the devil they are....

    May 18, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. B

    Hmmm...ask Dr. Martin Luther King, Pres. JFK or his brother Robert if this was funny and blown out of proportion. Huckabee, you, sir, are a disgusting bigot. Comments like these from members of your party are precisely why McCain was booed at Dr.Kings rememberance, The Republican party might as well be called the Former Slaveholders Guild. Disgusting.

    May 18, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Chris

    He "didn't even remember having said it"?

    Apparently it's a requirement for prospective Republican nominees to be unable to recall every time they've put their foot in their mouths. Stands them in good stead in the case of the eventual subpoena.

    May 18, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. goawaymongers

    This man is a real "good old boy"-but the joke was utterly indefensable in times like these. Time for CHANGE! Time for OBAMA!

    May 18, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Dave

    This was insensitive and careless joke that should have never been uttered. Whereas I do think, he meant, it does reflect part of humourous character..I think he should own it and learn from and know that uttering careless jokes is part of his weakness.

    May 18, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Dave

    This was insensitive and careless joke that should have never been uttered. Whereas I do not think, he meant, it does reflect part of humourous character..I think he should own it and learn from and know that uttering careless jokes is part of his weakness.

    May 18, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Spider

    Wow, what an idiot!! Hope a door doesn't slam off stage while giving his speech at next week's American Rope Makers annual convention.
    Handlers will need to watch him carefully the week after that also. Hubcaps 'R Us and National Watermelon Growers, back to back.

    May 18, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. shannonL

    yes, it was a terrible joke....hard to even consider it a joke.

    you can't be VP

    May 18, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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