December 19th, 2007
08:30 AM ET
11 years ago

Huckabee denies subliminal Christmas message

Is the bookshelf behind Huckabee in his Christmas ad a subliminal message?

(CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee poked fun at critics who said a bookshelf in his new Christmas-themed ad that appeared to highlight the shape of a cross was meant to send a subliminal message.

“Actually I will confess this, if you play this spot backwards it says ‘Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead,’” the presidential candidate joked to reporters in Houston Tuesday. “So the next thing you know, someone will be playing it backwards to find out the subliminal messages that are really there.” (Watch Huckabee's comments)

The ad is intended for the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The former Arkansas governor said the spot was last-minute and ad-libbed: “They had a bookshelf behind me, a bookshelf. So now I have these people saying, ‘ahhh there was a subtle message there,’” said Huckabee. “….I never cease to be amazed at the manner in which people will try to dissect the simplest messages, can't even say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore without somebody getting all upset about it.”

The former Baptist minister also shot back at some who said the spot should have been more inclusive, and that he should have wished voters “Happy Holidays.”

“I don’t know what else to call Christmas, last time I checked that is what we celebrate. If somebody can give me a way to get around that and do it honestly, then perhaps that’s what Christmas is,” said Huckabee.

“The very word Christmas comes from the contraction of 'Christ Mass' - the worship of Christ – again, change the word if we don't want to talk about it, but that’s what it symbolizes and represents.”

–CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand and Steve Brusk

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (505 Responses)
  1. Jerry, Oakland, CA

    John G. in Charleston, AWESOME POST:
    "Are you guys serious? You're mad because he had a bookshelf that vaguely resembles a cross in his commercial?

    What about windows in houses? They usually have 2 pieces of wood (or whatever) CROSSing in the middle. And how did you get through first grade math class? Those pesky plus signs are obviously a product of the religious nut jobs who pull the strings of the Republican (Christian) party…

    With all of this Political Correctness weighing heavy on my mind I say MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!"

    Ditto; Merry Christmas!!

    December 19, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. lou, Miami Florida

    If you like hooky pandering or may I say HUCKY pandering then you are in HUCK heaven… this guy one day a couple of weeks ago was for lifting the Cuban embargo and the next he had to come to Miami for the Debate and OVERNIGHT he switched position and now he for the embargo… OH my god the pandering was shameful on how obvious it was and what a lip service…

    December 19, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. mary , mansfield texas

    How absurd that we would actually take time to point this out... i bet i can find Crosses just about everywhere.I just need to look for two intersecting lines ...
    there are those that would see just that .. intersecting lines... and not a Cross...
    I wonder if the people that spotted the Cross are the same people that saw the Blessed Mother on a potato chip?
    PLEASE let us focus on the issues
    and not on ways to bash Chirstians.
    Has anyone searched for subliminal messages in Mitt Romney's ads?

    December 19, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. Claydog, Atlanta GA

    Ms Cubas from AZ –
    As a former production person myself, I can assure you that NOTHING appears in a professionally produced video spot that is not clearly intended. Sublime as it may be, it was absolutely the intention of Huck to speak to We the Peeps at Christmas time with the cross behind him. How very touching. Yet he denies it on Today show. Another hypocritical liar running for office. Nothing more; nothing less.

    December 19, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. BCNU purple state, usa

    Funny how the 'haters' on here read more into a perceived "subliminal" message and won't believe arguably the most honest guy from either party when he says it wasn't intentional, but will jump in front of a bullet for a Clinton when one day they say: "I've been against Iraq all along", but the next day say, "Well, that's not what I meant!"

    You dopes on here need to lighten up. This is a federal republic, not an anarchy as many of your comments advocating "being inclusive", as for separation of church and state, you should re-read the first amendment and search for a true understanding. Those that think the word catholic refers to a denomination when Christ-Mass is mentioned need to look at the root and origins of the word catholic, from the Greek meaning universal.

    December 19, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. V. Berzins, Whitby, Ontario

    Western society seems to have fervently embraced the thought control mechanism of the defunct Soviet Russian state. We have simly renamed "the party line" as "political correctness". A former soviet subject did not dare express an opinion before he had read his latest daily copy of Pravda – "The Truth". Those who opposed this degrading situation could only express their disgust in the form of humor – a "crime" the soviet state stood ready to punish up to the death penalty. Our own ever changing version of "reality and truth" – "political correctness" is a carbon copy of the soviet version.
    I do not personally observe Christmas at this time of year, but it is refreshing to observe Mr. Huckabee's humor and courage to poke fun at those "gods" of "political correctness" who have decreed that the word "Christmas" must henceforth be spelled "Holiday" ! ("Ignorance Is Strength !" – from the novel "1984")

    December 19, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. mbritt, memphis, tn

    I say, HOORAY FOR MIKE HUCKABEE, and shame on CNN for pushing one candidate down our throats whilst belittling all others. I thought the media were supposed to be unbiased

    December 19, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. demwit

    War on Christmas? What war on Christmas??

    December 19, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. RightyTighty

    Devine intervention...

    December 19, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Matt Satriano, Minneapolis, MN

    Calm down people, it is a book case.
    a book case.
    Not a political undermining of the Christians, but a book case.
    I do have a question however, are the people that are all bent out of shape the same ones that are making the holidays so difficult to celebrate because of the offensiveness of saying Merry Christmas or Ho Ho Ho?
    Calm down.
    I think that there are more important issues in the world to get all bent out of shape about than a bookcase that had been purchased at IKEA.

    December 19, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. TrueToGod

    Do Americans not know that Christianity is the religion on which this country was founded on? "ONE NATION UNDER GOD." It's amazing how after 2007 years, Jesus Christ still intimidates non-Christians. So what if that bookcase in the background is in the shape of a cross? If you have a problem with it, then you have the right, just as Huckabee does to put a cross shape in the background whether it was intentional or not, to vote for someone else. Get over it, and get on with your lives. Overanalyzing everything won't get you anywhere. Huckabee, just like every other American, has the freedom of religion, and if he chooses to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" then so be it. And just FYI...the term "mass" is not just a Catholic term. Mass is actually defined as the dismissal at the end of a religious service. I doubt we would have "holiday" breaks if it weren't for Christmas...because I'm pretty positive no one gets off work for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Hopefully Americans will soon realize what this season is all about.

    December 19, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Mickey Steiner Hokum, KS

    You filthy liberals and your THEORY of evolution!
    I am sick and tired of hearing people using reason and scientific principles to make objective statements about reality.
    There is no proof of evolution anywhere-much like radio waves-who has ever seen one?
    Only an idiot would believe that radio exists.
    You cannot see it!
    X rays cannot be seen either.
    X Ray technology does not exist!
    No one has ever visited the sun.
    Only an idiot would say that the sun actually exists!
    He who has ears, let him hear.

    December 19, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. John, Boston, MA

    I am so sick and tired of people (aka morons) being "offended" by everything – no matter what it is!! We have become a society of spineless people. Shame on all of you for being "offended" by things like this!!
    What have we become? Why are we so sensitive? The guy is a Christian. Christians believe in the birth of Jesus. It is clearly a bookshelf but SO WHAT that it also looks like a cross. SO WHAT if it were placed there on purpose, though I think it wasn't. SO WHAT! Are we so shallow and mindless that we have to talk about things like this? IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE AD, CHANGE THE CHANNEL. AND IF YOU ARE SO OFFENDED BY CHIRST, YOU HAVE MUCH BIGGER PROBLEMS THAN A TV COMMERCIAL.

    December 19, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. Robert - Charlotte, NC

    Where should I start, on the media who love to create "news" by making mountain-out-of-a-molehill stories that aren't even there, or on the liberals and athesists who can't tolerate religious freedom being practiced in America? In the first case, this is exactly why the American public has zero respect for the media today. In the second case, the non-Christian reaction to Christians exercising their inalienable rights clearly unmasks their falsely professed embracing of diversity and their outright bigotry.

    December 19, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. John

    "God is not dead but alive and well and working on a much less ambitious project".

    Anonymous, Graffito

    "In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination."

    Mark Twain

    December 19, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Allene, Van Wert, Ohio

    Wow – the Christmas tree and ornaments are just too obvious to attract attention then, right? The man is an admitted Christian. Why can't he have a cross behind him? Even if he would've done it on purpose, it would've been no surprise to me that he is a Christian. Plus, as I stated before – there is a BIG Christmas tree beside him that is certainly NOT subliminal!
    Which begs the question...Why does anyone care that this man is a Mormon? I thought we had separation of church and state in this country.
    It would appear that Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of being judged by the content of one's character is still unattained.

    December 19, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Caroline, San Franscico

    We don't need another crazy evangelical conservative in the White House. Didn't you people learn that's not a good idea from the Bush Administration?

    December 19, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. EllieMay,Bristol,Tennessee

    I think people are looking into this too much. People are seeing what they want to see and beliving what they want to belive. How about just taking it for what it is and quit trying to analize the world.

    December 19, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Rev. John M. & Stephanie E. Lance, Cleveland, GA

    My husband and I watched the CNN news last night and they had a poll of tell us what you think on the Mike Huckabee campaign ad. I couldn't find it, so I figured I would post it here. We think that it is great that he is not ashamed to tell everyone what he thinks about Christ-mas and that he is standing up for God, our Father, who this country was founded on. You'll get our vote. You go Mike!

    December 19, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Chuck, Huntsville, AL

    So what if it was a cross, it is Christmas isn't it??

    December 19, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. Matt, New York, New York

    A good majority of the country celebrate Christmas. 90% of the population are Christians. Jews and Muslims also celebrate Christmas. They may not believe Jesus is the son of God but they beleive he is an important prophet in their religion.

    Liberals hate Huckabee because they hate Christians and can't stand see a candidate devoted to his morals. Huckabee is not a Christian running for president, he is a great leader who happens to be Christian.

    Anyone who wouldn't vote for Huckabbe because of his faith are the same bigots that wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black.

    McCain/Huckabee in 2008

    December 19, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. Bob Hipple

    Great comments from Mike Huckabee on the issue with the cross and saying Merry Christmas. Political Correctness is tearing the heart out of our country. I am so glad for what his come back was. Thanks you Mike Huckabee for your stand.

    December 19, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. B. Charlton

    I commend Gov. Huckabee on his solid stance. You can be a politician and a christian at the same time. He can make decisions based on the law written in our constitution and still personally live a christian life.
    Why does the media target Christians? If an anthiest or other religion such as Islam or Judiasm were to have their symbols in their add, no one would even comment. The Christians in this country need to be more vocal instead of letting the media ruin this culture by their biased comments. "Political correctness" has targeted Christians. This country and the constitution was founded on Christianity. It has slowly turned atheist with no definable culture. Thank you media for ruining our country.

    December 19, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Kim Colorado Springs, CO

    Thats why I'm voting Huckabee!!

    December 19, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Bill Lam, Summerville, SC

    Enough is enough! It is a bookshelf! In addition, I would like to wish the Huckabee's a Merry Christmas. This is America and I'm a Christian as unpopular as that seems to be. I'm proud of the fact. If you don't like it, TOO BAD.. It's my CHOICE and it IS OK! Remember it is AMERICA!

    December 19, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
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