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. sal lincoln nebraska

    You shouldnt be elected just because you called the midwest fly over land....Why would you call an active part of the united states fly over land? I was in dallas texas and the lady at the bank of america didnt have nebraska in the computer....I was also in dallas and the young lady this time at western union didnt think nebraska was in the united states....Meanwhile a guy from arkansas, which you couldnt get anyone to go their if you tried even if just passing through is refering to the midwest as fly over land...Anyone who shares this point of view and uses this terminology is a pathetic example of what american produces and the ignorance the represents us

    December 26, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Melissa, MA

    I didn't even need to read the article, I figured it would be him.

    Good job, you can kill a bird, that must mean you can run the country.

    December 26, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    He looks just like Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle) and his political sophistication matches.

    December 26, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Virginia, Leesburg Fl

    This is discusting. This is what we should aspire to? Killing anything is wrong for anyone, but especially as a public figure who should be setting an example as he attempting election for the highest office in the country!

    December 26, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Jimmy, Beaumont, TX

    I like the way these are moderated....it is obvious that the Communist News Network put nearly all left wing weaklings' comments about this article. So typical of CNN. I certainly don't expect to see this comment.

    December 26, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Go Huckabee! Little Rock, AR

    LOL. It was a joke! Geez you people with your comments about - "oh, did he just say that if we don't vote for him, he will shoot us?" Duh! I'm sure he is going to shoot you– yes. Typical touchy Democrat.

    December 26, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Owen Anderson, Woonsocket SD

    Hunting is normal. Has been from the beginning of mankind and before. So he's a normal Joe when it comes to hunting and hunting rights. What is so hard to figure out? Also, I believe it is quite obvious he was joking about voting for him or getting shot, not the funniest joke I've ever heard, but I shouldn't have to point that out that this was joke to intelligent people such as yourselves.

    December 26, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Allen

    Well, a "pheasant wing shot" is a far cry from a "lawyer face shot," but I still say this guy has presidential (or vice presidential) potential. 😉

    December 26, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. samuel, ames, iowa

    It's not against God's will to go hunting. Read the Bible, you'll see Jesus eating fish after his resurrection. Jesus is sinless, and he ate fish. Remember the Apostles fishing? And Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes? If you accept fishing, there is no reason that hunting would be wrong. Huckabee said they'd clean and eat them. So that's not breaking the ten commandments, since Jesus wouldn't break his own commandments by eating fish. Sure, Huckabee is candidate for President, I understand that. Huck's saying that he's a hunter, supports conservation, and supports the 2nd Amendment. And this is a contrast with Romney, who has less experience as a hunter.

    December 26, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. fergusmom

    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."

    Gee, that sounds like he is using fear mongering to keep Repubs in the White House, by threatening to shoot whoever does not vote for him. Well, guess I better start planning my funeral, since I will never vote for a killer of defensless animals created by the same God,the republicans worship. Talk about Hypocritical people.

    December 26, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Let the Leaders Lead, Arcadia, Iowa

    And NO one was shot in his hunting party. What a nice refreshing change for the party of Politics as usual. Clearly he is a front runner and this will cement the deal.

    December 26, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. DWJohnson, Nashville Tennessee

    Dear America:

    It saddens me greatly that killing animals for sport is seen as a positive for the leader of our country. Writing this, I realize that there are people who will dub me "liberal," "unAmerican," etc. They'll be wrong. I've served in the military, killed enemy soldiers, and am the ultimate family values man. "Hunting" to prove manhood, or leadership, is in fact the ultimate proof of lack of manhood and mindless "followership." Guys like this do not deserve our admiration, nor our vote.
    May God Bless America, the real American and real Americans, not pretenders, actors or posers.

    DWJohnson

    December 26, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. JC, Ohio

    In the spirit of giving this holiday season, let me make a POSITIVE statement about Huckabee. Hmmm...let me think...ok, ok...let me think...ummmm...WIT! OK...got one: at least he didn't shoot any lawyers like Cheney! There ya go. Merry Xmas...

    December 26, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Ken Burritt, New Hartford NY

    It's a sad state of affairs when someone believes they have to kill a defenseless creature in order to gain popularity. I keep hearing how America is this "shining city of light" that is the apex of enlightenment. Cruelty to animals is not enlightenment and Mike Huckabee is not the leader who would take us there.

    December 26, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Judy Zukoski, Barnesville, PA

    Mr. "Normal Guy" apparently didn't anticipate the backlash he'll get from decidedly normal people who happen to care about all of God's creatures. If he's "normal," I don't want to be included in the same category. I'll keep shopping for a candidate who respects ALL life and deserves my vote.

    December 26, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Tim, Cincinnati, OH

    He looks like Elmer Fudd in that photo.

    December 26, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Dan H, Farmville, VA

    Good for Huck.

    It was probably a lot of fun.

    December 26, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. Donna, Seattle, Washington

    OMG!!! This is The Huckster's "Dukakis Moment"! You know, the one where Michael Dukakis had a photo-op of him riding all macho-like in a tank? That totally sunk him, just as this will sink Huckabee. He looks like Elmer Fudd...what were he and his handlers smoking? But that is fine with me, because Romney is going to get the nomination AND the presidency, so shoot any and everything that gets in your way, Mr. Huckabee! PS- Real "regular men" also clean and eat their own catch/kill...I wonder if he will do the same or have one of his staff do all the dirty work. It's easy to pull a trigger.

    December 26, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. D Tappan,NY

    When Mike Huckabee was Governor, Arkansas had the worst animal protection laws of any state. His son abused and killed a dog, and Mike Huckabee continues the family tradition of killing defenseless animals. His actions were disgraceful and shameful.

    December 26, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. HISTORY REPEATS, NY

    is it me or is it in horrible taste for this "minister" to joke around about killing someone if they dont vote for him? i mean i know it is obviously a joke, but isnt that just wrong? and the whole "some of us live in middle america too" statement. we know people live in the middle of the country and thats wonderful but dont try and associate yourself (a politician) to hardworking middle class. and as for the fact that his numbers are rising.....its because the christians were trying to figure out, which republican was more "about jesus". thats it! it has nothing to do with his politics or what he will do for the people its about his "religious beliefs" thats all. and once huckabee stepped forward as a "believer" it basically made the decision for SO many who basically filled the void......america is a mob.

    December 26, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I guess as long as Huckabee says it in a joking manner, then no one can say he meant it.
    How pathetic is this election going to get before its over?

    December 26, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Jose, Orlando, Florida

    How revolting...

    December 26, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Biologist Hunter Kearney Ne.

    Ah the bleeding hearts of the world denigrating a regular guy doing a little hunting with photo ops! Horrors ,such unsophisticated barbarity!Just go back to your "animal vacant" city life and eat your peas and lettuce! You will never have a clue about the real world beyond your self worshipping liberal intellect!By the way aren't those veggies just advanced and as deserving of life as any animal? The truth is it's all biology ,the taking of life to sustain your own not withstanding the ethics and morality quirks of the human mind or lack thereof!

    December 26, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. Matt Baker, Chanute Ks

    I wonder if the hunting dogs were thinking, * Man I hope David doesnt come, but if he did, at least we'd only be shot, not HUNG, STONED and CUTTHROATED!! *

    December 26, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  25. Dorian, Brentwood, Ca

    Big He-Man, killing a pheasant with his high-powered rifle. What weapon did the pheasant have? Didn't his son torture and kill an old, stray dog that wandered into camp? So, abusing animals is no big deal in the Huckabee household? And this creep wants to be our president? While this maneuver may have gained him points with gun-slingers and NRA'ers, tens of millions of voters will be turned off by it.

    December 26, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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