December 27th, 2007
06:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee goes hunting

Watch scenes from Huckabee's hunting outing Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's become a campaign staple for all presidential candidates: perform an activity that demonstrates 'regular-guy' status.

Republican Mike Huckabee took his turn Wednesday, going on a pheasant hunt in Osceola, Iowa during which the Arkansas governor made it clear he is no stranger to the great outdoors.

"Maybe it will show that I certainly understand the culture of being outdoors," he said of the expedition. "It's not something we had to go out and get a primer in. It's very much ordinary to me."

Huckabee's team brought back three pheasants - one of which the candidate claimed he personally shot - and promised they'd be "cleaned and eaten."

Huckabee, who polls show continues to hold onto his lead in Iowa eight days before the state¹s caucuses - also joked the trip could serve as a metaphorical campaign message.

"Don't get in my way," he said while pointing to the three dead birds.

"This is what happens…You vote for me, you live. You don't…there you go."

Huckabee said he was as a lifelong hunter, a statement that harkened back to rival Mitt Romney's similar claim earlier this year. The former Massachusetts governor later backtracked from that statement, saying he had only hunted "small varmints" occasionally.

Huckabee's rise is fueled in part by his "normal guy" appeal, and the governor took the opportunity to reinforce his heartland roots.

“People in Middle America feel like folks will come and campaign in Iowa, and then they get elected and they forget that people out here in flyover land still exist," he said. “Some of us grew up in the middle of the country and still live here."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Dana Bash

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (344 Responses)
  1. Jarod, Raleigh, NC – cnn exposes huckabee

    December 26, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Todd C. Wilmington, DE

    Lord help us.

    Please don't let the american people be fooled in voting for this idiot.

    December 26, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Jarod, Raleigh, NC

    Huckabee – a history of poor judgment

    December 26, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. terri

    "This is what happens…You vote for me, you live. You don't…there you go."

    Oh, Jon Stewart, how much fun you could have had with that. God, I wish that strike would end!

    December 26, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Frank Mayans, Los Angeles

    OMG he is playing the "Gender Card"!

    December 26, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Me in Texas

    Oh, here we go... now the deal is closed... We just need it a picture with a gun in hand to get that so important part of the GOP voting block...I am taking about the Conservative, “intellectual”, highly educated, Christian controlling part of the Republican Party. He should have taken the VP and spare us from the possibility to have this buffoon from moving into the Whitehouse.

    December 26, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Seattle, Washington

    Why on earth would a person kill God's creation without a need? I thought this man belived in commandment #5 that says "thou shalt not kill". It does not say anything about murder, it implies about the law against needless killing. Mr. Huckabee took the life of a creature of God for no other reason then to show he is a so called sportsman. He should be ashamed of himself.

    December 26, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Aldo, Silver Spring, MD

    In order to be a "regular guy" you need to shoot and kill something?

    That's low-brow, unenglightened thinking.

    Making things worse, Huckabee is telling us we'll be killed if we don't vote for him and that if you get in his way, you'll end up dead like the birds? I'm sure the birds were a real threat to him.

    He's off my short list.

    December 26, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Eric, Summerville, SC

    This is good. "To prove that I can be President, I'll go out and shoot something." Is this the only criteria now?

    December 26, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Scott, Toledo OH

    I suppose it is a little more humane that his usual family tradition of hanging and torturing a dog, and then covering it up.

    December 26, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Tom A, Leawood, KS

    why is this not a surprise? When I saw the ticker that stated "presidential candidate goes hunting", I knew it would be this right wing candidate. No one else would do anything this risky to just court their base...this pheasant hunting sounds familiar to another person; is this to say that things will be more of the same with Huckabee?

    December 26, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. Tewde, FL

    woow, CNN.
    the world is coming to an end, a candidate killed a pheasant!!! woow, what important news for people to know, life changing news, huh CNN

    December 26, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Joe, Charleston, SC

    Wow! Huckabee now is adding gun-toting country bumpkins as his supporters, in addition to fundamentalist, right-wing Christians. That's progress.

    December 26, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Disappointed Cape Coral FL

    I sort of liked Huckabee but am completely turned off by men who enjoy killing things especially when they are catering to the macho crappolas of the NRA.

    December 26, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Angel, Los Angeles of Anaheim

    Did he hang and stone the dog that brought it back to him , too?


    December 26, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Common Sense

    "Maybe it will show that I certainly understand the culture of being outdoors,"

    Gimme a break. This guy gets manicures for 300 bucks a pop weekly. If the pheasants hadnt themselves been trapped and released 5 feeet away from this guy the only thing that you would have been able to track on his hunting trip would have been the 3 mile sent trail left by his cheap cologne. Doesn't killing animals for sport conflict with his status as token radical christian in this election?

    December 26, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Steve, Columbia, MO

    You gotta be kidding me. Did he just elude to people being shot if they don't vote for him?

    If he wants to play President he's going to need a lesson in carefully choosing his words.

    December 26, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. Janet Kern, Hewitt, NJ

    WOW!!! what a man you you are. I'm soooo not impressed. Really I'm not. Does it really make you feel that good to kill an animal, Mr. Huckabee? Well I guess "there I go" because you sure won't get my vote.

    December 26, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. GRACE


    December 26, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. JorgeM

    So what? He's still a religious fanatic.

    December 26, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Anonymous Independent in New England

    Shoot, if Huckabee didn't have such a nonEvolution platform, I might even vote for him. He's a hoot.

    Do y'all think he got a few pointers from Dick? 😉

    PLEASE nominate McCain so I will have someone to vote for if perchance Obambi gets the nod!!

    December 26, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. jay

    Did he have a hunting license?

    December 26, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Jonah, Boston MA

    How does killing animals for fun represent "the culture of being outdoors?" Don't get me wrong– I'm no PETA nut. But when I think of being outdoors, I think of playing basketball, or hiking, or having a barbeque. I don't understand why the term "outdoorsman" means "hunter" by default. It's all part of an effort to legitimize a stupid pasttime. This is why we need to protect gun rights? So simpleminded rednecks can wander around the woods shooting birds? Get outta here.

    December 26, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, Diamond Bar CA

    Ahhhhhh the Lords people, they are such killers, aren't they. At least Huckster didn't kill 70 pheasants in one single hunt, like Dick Cheney.

    ...and what is it about Republicans that they have to show how macho they are, from I'd double gitmo to, only I can kill the terrorists, to I hunt and kill vermin. What are they making up for?

    ...and it always ends up as "hey I'm just a regular guy who you would like to have a beer with at the end of the day"....

    ...well you know what, I don't want a regular guy in the white house, I want an exceptional guy, or girl, who is not overcompensating for stuff that his, or her, issues.

    To Huckster, and the rest of the Republicans, for God's sake, please get e therapist and stop punishing us for your shortcomings.

    December 26, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Sheila, NYC

    Funny, a "regular guy" who'd get my vote wouldn't kill helpless animals in an empty ritual to get votes. I know Kucinich wouldn't dream of stooping that low. Are "regular guys" that insecure?
    P.S.: I'm not against gun ownership, so relax.

    December 26, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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