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. pbj, San Diego, CA

    Huck looks like an ideal VP candidate totin' that shotgun.

    Seriously, Romney is the real consensus conservative candidate with both fiscal and social issues covered. He changed on one key issue, where he converted from pro choice to pro life. For that the media gives him the flip flop label and says he's pandering. I know Mitt's family and will say they're some of the most principled people I know. And the apple can't fall far from the tree. I look at these people's personal lives and see that Mitt is, in fact, a man that stands for and teaches his kids principles. Saying anything different to me is quite ironic and says more about the people giving the negative label than about Mitt.

    December 27, 2007 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  2. Richard, Mckinney, Texas

    John Kerry is a wantabe..Huck is a hunter...but then who cares.......
    I vote on the issues. not what they do
    or do not hunt.

    December 27, 2007 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  3. Sue F, Wentworth NH

    "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."

    What??????Get that moron away from loaded weapons. I live next to a pheasant release site. They aren't anything more than nervous chickens. No sport to it. Just a disgusting massacre.

    December 27, 2007 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  4. Barry, Minneapolis, MN

    So What!

    December 27, 2007 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  5. Jerry Pursley, Matagorda, Texas

    Mike Huckabee looks the most 'normal' candidate I've seen in a long time!

    December 27, 2007 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  6. Jake, Sioux City, IA

    Are we electing a president for our country or a minster??? This idiot has the nerve to say on national TV that he shot three pheasants because they weren't going to vote for him. So he is going to start shooting peopel that don't vote for him, according to what he says.

    December 27, 2007 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  7. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Well I know which Republican I won't be voting for in my state's primary on 2/5. Next he'll be dragging his wife behind him by his hair and wearing a leopard skin. NEXT.

    December 27, 2007 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  8. dr. gonzo

    Americans don't even hunt anymore, this is stupid.

    December 27, 2007 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  9. dr. gonzo

    Also, we either have blog comments by a bunch of vegetarians or hypocrites, can't figure out which.

    December 27, 2007 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  10. Craig Finnegan, Madison, Wisconsin

    I've got a great idea for improving on Huckabee's Photo Op.....string a big banner over the dead pheasants, that reads: "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"!!

    December 27, 2007 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  11. Dan (Columbia, MD)


    While I'm not voting for this guy I like that he's sincere in his beliefs.

    December 27, 2007 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  12. Barbara, Phoenix, AZ

    so I'm watching the news and all this stuff about murder, houses burning, people starving, people needing help comes up and then BAM!!! "Mike Huckabee goes hunting!" Isn't it ironic that while people out there are in need of some serious help one of our presidential candidates go on a hunting vacation instead of doing something worthwhile? That guy is seriously ignorant!

    December 27, 2007 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  13. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    ... how manly! What's his military service record? Afraid someone will shoot back?

    Pandering Preacher Mike!! Reminds of that other Mike ... sitting in a tank -looking foolish ... and then there is another "life-long hunter" ol' Dead Eye Dick Cheney!! He doesn't threaten to shoot voters – he just shoots friends.

    Gotta love the GOP – one NH GOP fundraiser allowed people to shoot machine guns – just for the fun of it ... never in combat tho ... couldn't ask these guys to actually do military service.

    December 27, 2007 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  14. Anom cal

    John Gustafson: second that!
    Agree with you 100% on your comment!
    What a show of how clueless this man is, to think the american people are naive enough to fall for this stupid publicity stunt!

    December 27, 2007 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  15. Beverly, Hamilton, NY

    The allusion to the "regular guy" image is insulting, considering that a woman is running for president. What Huckabee is saying is that one needs to be a guy to be president, that you need to be able to kill something to br president, that you need to lord your power over innocent creatures. Clinton's war stance notwithstanding, perhaps the world would be a better place if someone were in power who truly appreciated the importance of nurturing life and peace, not killing it or promioting war. The right wing Republican hypocrites who state that all life is precious (i.e., anti-abortion, anti stem-cell research, anti-euthanasia zealots) seem to have no problem sending thousands of young men and women to their deaths in Iraq-not to mention the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed there. Old boy network, old boy philosophies, old boy idiocy. This stunt just proves it. Why doesn't someone who advocates for peace and true caring for all life run for president? I guess they are not "regular guys".

    December 27, 2007 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  16. chris york sc

    everything funny with him just like the hillary cackle. search hang dog huckabee to see what I mean.

    December 27, 2007 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  17. Marta Akashe, Mundelein IL

    Mike Huckabee is disgusting. Do we want this white trash "ordinary" guy to represent the United States around the world for the next for years? I don't. He is surely not "presidential" enough for me. Thank you

    December 27, 2007 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  18. Wade Enns Calgary, Alberta

    If Bill Clinton went hunting do you think Hillary would beleive he was out hunting with the boys.

    December 27, 2007 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  19. Mary, Beaver, PA


    December 27, 2007 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  20. BCNU purple state, usa

    The Iowa Carcasses!

    December 27, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  21. Carole

    Until now, I was actually worried that the guy might get the nomination. But now, we can stick a fork in him, he's so done. His jokes are about as funny as Ann Coulter's.

    I don't suppose it would ever occur to this cornpone to enjoy the outdoors by going hiking or skiing.

    December 27, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  22. No good presidential candidates this time around, Baltimore, MD

    Me Mike Huckabee...Me hunt real good...Me be good least me no shoot good friend-hunting buddy like Dick Chaney did....

    Go away Huckabee...

    December 27, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  23. Roosevelt's Ranger , Monroe, Georgia

    Huckabee obviously is a man who is comfortable afield and handling a firearm. He is no novice hunter that is posing for NRA support (unlike the poser Kerry in the last election).

    He is well spoken and a man who has effeciently demonstrated he can make the difficult decisions it take to govern fairly and effectively.

    Well done on the report CNN! I'm pleasantly surprised!

    December 27, 2007 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  24. Anonymous

    That was disgusting, killing inocent animals for sport. He just lost a majoriaty of the voters. What was he thinking?

    December 27, 2007 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  25. Bob

    Gimme a break ....God put rooster pheasants on earth for TWO reasons..

    December 27, 2007 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
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