May 18th, 2008
01:05 PM ET
7 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. Bush, your a sick sick man

    It just takes one wacko to read too much into this, and the media is feeding this thing way too much. STOP IT before someone gets hurt. Very irresponsible.

    May 18, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. gary

    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.

    May 18, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Daniel

    Mr. Huckabee:

    How can you possibly say that "aiming a gun at a presidential candidate" is a benign issue?

    ARE YOU COMPLETELY INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 18, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Momma for Obama

    why can our politicians just concentrate on the issues, instead of attacking the opponent? these are old politics, he, like Bush, McCain, Clinton and Limbaugh only know "smear tactics," why can we move past that?

    most other developped nations, dont even touch such subjects, but concentrate in the real substance, ...........

    no wonder why we are where we are in our country,...economically, socially adn all levels..
    I think clinton, gop, bush, mccain, huckabee,limbaugh all should author "the book of political lies.. how it works and how to use it, all tactics for all tastes... it works."

    May 18, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Bush, your a sick sick man

    "Obama Supporter May 18th, 2008 12:49 pm ET

    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"

    You are a dangerous person, whatever your motivation is.

    May 18, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Pam

    The fact that the thought even occurred to him speaks volumes.

    May 18, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Bitter Allen Hussein, Visalia CA

    What Huckabee said was incredibly stupid but as an Obama supporter, I accept his explanation that he put his foot in his mouth. When everyone else was piling on Obama during the Jeremiah Wright controversies, Huckabee defended Obama. Therefore, I think Huckabee is a decent man who said something really stupid!

    May 18, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Brian

    Talking about shooting yourself in the foot. What a moron!

    May 18, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Bush, your a sick sick man

    "B May 18th, 2008 12:49 pm ET

    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."

    We can add John Lennon to that list.

    May 18, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Obama for Life

    Wow, I am a true Democrat, but I had a liking of Yuckabee, but now I have doubts.....

    May 18, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. HyeWave - Glendale, CA

    Looks like mr. Huckabee is having the early symptoms of brain tumor that is producing tasteless "humor"...

    May 18, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Enlightened Voter

    Typical Republican, typical republican thinking and actions. I don't know how any enlightened person could ever in good conscience be a republican.

    May 18, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. andrew

    You obo people make me sick! You people are weak and dumb. NO WAY IN HELL WILL OBO WIN!!! (he said it own it)
    HILLARY'08

    May 18, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. al

    The scrariest thing isthat the joke at a meeting where the VIce President (Dick Cheney) was and he was LAUGHING also.

    Yes its was a CLAN meeting.

    May 18, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. j. tonton

    WHAT AN IDIOT THIS MAN IS. HE TRIES TO MAKE A JOKE..... LATER ON HE APOLOGIZES FOR HIS OWN JOKE. WHAT A WASTE OF RESOURCES. IMAGINE IF THIS IDIOT WAS OUR REPUBLICAN NOMINEE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    NO NEED TO SAY, SEN. B. OBAMA IS INDEED A DECENT AND EXTREMELY WELL EDUCATED AND EXPERIENCED POLITICIAN AND AMERICAN PATRIOT. EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD BE PROUDE OF HIM.

    May 18, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Jamaal Kansas

    The Republicans and there scar tactics trying to drum up fears about Barack Republicans are low and they deserve every lost election this year!

    May 18, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. FreshAir

    clueless

    May 18, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. kathe oakland, california

    GIVE ME A BREAK Huckabee – you say you do not rememer saying it and you may be a running mate to a 70 yr old McCain – GOD HELP US!
    And you thought about what you said and your meaing was offensive to any American as it incites violence and gives some in this "crazy" world ideas – was that your intent as you seem to feel it was just an offensive comment – IT WAS DANGEROUS GET IT!!!!!

    And since CNN seems to censor when we can respond to Clinton or McCain, I want to say to HILLARY/BILL CLINTON THIS

    so because I have a job, healthcare, able to buy gas, feed my family – then you are not interested in my vote nor are you concerned about Americans who are making it barely???? Just the poor, uneducated, white folks is that it Hillary. You said it, you were quoted as saying you were "not interested" in us hard working Americans unless we are poor, jobless and uneducated – that is what you said.
    Well let me tell you something Missy – I never had a single thought about voting for you CLINTONS, and I am a female, an african american female and I resent your comments period, as usual. You and Bill have run the most racist, divisive, dishonest campaign I have ever seen and then you say on national TV in an interview – you are sorry campaign has so much racism in it?????? You/Bill KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING. But, you know what Clintons – NOT THIS TIME are Americans fooled by your deception NOT THIS TIME. And hey if you were the candidate, I would indeed write in, shout in on my ballot BARACK H. OBAMA, just for the record.

    GO OBAMA

    May 18, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Chicagoan

    Here is my suggestion for Huckabee, same as Olbermans' for Bush:
    "SHUT THE HUCK UP!!!!!!!!!!"

    May 18, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Sunshine

    Huckabee should be arrested for "INTENT" & Bush-McCain for "TREASON."

    May 18, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Ted

    This man was/is a minister. How does he justify his hateful remarks while pretending to be a Christian? I have absolutely no respect for him and I have do doubt that he is a bigot.

    May 18, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. John

    Simple Obama takes a bullet so will Huckabee. I will make sure of that.

    May 18, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Christiane

    Mr. Huckabee, first think- then speak

    May 18, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. kim

    I can't believe pundants are letting him get away with this, no excuse!!!!
    Fox ( fair & balanced) brushed it right off, well we all know where they stand.

    May 18, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. JJC1138

    It was a really silly thing to say, but it was clearly off the cuff and I'm sure he wouldn't have said it if he'd had two seconds to think about it. He's a decent guy and he's apologized. Let's move on.

    May 18, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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