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. Tyler, Charleston, SC

    I dislike Huckabee for many of his polcies, but people need to lighten up. He was joking when he talked about the birds as a lesson. And I doubt he's concerned about getting the votes of anyone who is anti-hunting.

    December 26, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  2. Andy, Tucson, AZ

    Wow! What a man.

    Aided by a powerful firearm – probably assisted by people out in front, beating the slow-flying, defenceless animals towards the goons with guns.

    Such courage. Stick him (or any other `sport' hunter) out there in the wild without their sophisticated weapons, and see how long they last on their own.

    Yep – these really are qualities to be admired. Just the type of man we need at the helm of this country.

    Is this really what `normal guys' do for fun?

    Pathetic.

    December 26, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  3. delawaredem

    Did Huckabee just threaten the lives of 300 million Americans?

    Yes, I think he did.

    December 26, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Linda, Wentzville, Missouri

    "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 an ass. He just made sure that I will never vote for him.

    December 26, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. Giacomo, Gulfport FL

    people, it was a joke!

    December 26, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. brian

    Don't any candidates fish?

    December 26, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. Any, Whitehall, OH

    What has our country (not to mention Iowa and S Carolina) been reduced to when people enthusiastically support this sort of candidate?

    If by some awful fluke this guy makes it to the White House, the final fate of certain decline and degeneration of our country will be sealed, without a doubt.

    December 26, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Percy F. Lage, Oklahoma

    I think I'm beginning to get an idea as to how we can culminate this election process. The Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate meet in Central Park, armed with weapons of their selection, and the one to emerge alive and unharmed becomes the President of the United States. We could also solve our budgetary woes by hawking tickets, creating betting pools and selling soft drinks, popcorn and pheasant cheese balls. If Hillary is the Democratic candidate, she may elect to use Bill in her place. If Obama is the candidate, he may elect to use Oprah in the finals. Any Republican may choose Dick Cheney.

    December 26, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. jd, watertown, ny

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

    With a mouth like that, he is not a presidential material. That is not funny, and will raise eyebrows domestically and internationally.

    As usual, his mouth is faster than his brain (actually a weak brain).

    December 26, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Don, Sheridan, WY

    Gee, to get to hunt pheasants in Iowa and only get one bird, now that's incompetence! He should have easily limited out, come on Huck, get with the program... 😉

    December 26, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Augie Scott, Somers Point, NJ

    Nice hat Huckabee is wearing. He sort of reminds me of Elmer Fudd in that hat. I guess Wabbit season is over, and it's pheasant season now. More Looney Tunes in the White House, how comforting!

    December 26, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. red33,cedar rapids, ia

    Huckabee is NOT what we need in Washington, despite his hunting prowess.
    We need someone who has a proven record, like Romney, who works well with people, and got the Olympics and the State of Massachusetts back in the 'black'. He had to really be a diplomat to get these 2 jobs done.

    December 26, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Mario Preciado, Republic of Panama

    Hunters are idiots. If I was an american I would not vote for this man.

    December 26, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  14. NOT a fan of Huckabee in Little Rock, AR

    Even die hard Republicans I know in Arkansas can't stand him. We SHOULD be voting for the next President of the United States, not PREACHER of the United States. Just HOW does Huckabee plan on communicating with the Middle East and others who don't share his beliefs?? I'm SO sick of this country voting based simply on whatever religious conservatives tell them to do. Use your brains, America. Oh, and when will the press focus on his SONS????? HAHA Now, there's a real model family. Notice how his amazon wife and kids aren't EVER in the pictures? There's a reason for that. It'll all come out in the end. I'm sick of people like Huckabee running for President because they have God on their side. He's a good speaker because Hellooooooooooo he was a DJ and a preacher!!!!! He can talk the talk, but he can't walk the walk. I would have SOME respect for him if he would have fessed up to his religious illuminated white cross over his right shoulder ad. But, he lied. He knew FULL WELL what that ad was promoting and that the "bookcase" was illuminated like a cross. The ONLY reason he's making a name for himself is because unfortunately it's the religious conservatives who go out in masses to vote. All I can think of is that Green Day song.......American Idiot. I'll be voting for anyone other than Huckabee.

    December 26, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. Brian, Orlando, Florida

    Shooting unarmed God's creatures is a prereq for the Republican nomination. So is being old, white, male and protestant (so sorry Mitt).

    December 26, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Julie Pergrem Fort Thomas, Kentucky

    Tears it for me. I will never,EVER vote for someone who kills animals for sport. I, too, live in the Midwest, but to me, being outdoors means enjoying clean air and sharing nature with all creatures great and small, not killing them. Huckabee is just another rich, Republican white guy trying to show what a great big manly man he is.
    Yuck.

    December 26, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Tom, Bellevue, Washington

    I want to see Huck present a balanced budget during occupation and an economic downturn, not shoot some birds.

    December 26, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. Norm, Sterling, VA

    Heh! And what did all of you libs eat for Thanksgiving, meat maybe? How about last week’s lunch? I think one above mentioned a barbeque. I guess you all let those slaughterhouses do your killing for you. You vegans... I thought what you eat have feelings too 🙂 In any case I am not a hunter and I am dithering on Huckabee. But most of the comments above are pretty shallow, which does not surprise me.

    December 26, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. D Mills Garland, Tx

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

    For some reason everything about this man is scary. If he wins we may see concentration camps in our country housing liberals, feminists, homosexuals and atheists.

    December 26, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Neil - King of Prussia, PA

    Great... a bible in one hand and gun in the other.

    Jesus, save us from NRA toting evangelical christian politicians.

    December 26, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. Buddy, California

    A vote for Huck is a vote for a Theocratic form of government! I’m comfortable with that, let’s rock-n-roll!

    December 26, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Bird Life, CA

    If Huckabee is cowardly enough to slaughter a helpless pheasant for pleasure with a high power gun, he could be easily convinced to slaughter innocent people who happen to have different values and beliefs under the smoke screen that they posses 'weapons of mass destruction or harbor hopes of obtaining a 'nudlear weapon'.

    Consider, birds have mates-for-life too. So killing one, destroys two.

    December 26, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Gary D. Austin, TX

    Hmmmm, now this is a charming message to send to America, after we got rid of another dictator that said the same things (Saddam Hussein)...

    "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."

    December 26, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. Sean Manchester, NH

    I'm not a hunter. I understand te need for this type of "culling" of natural herds and flocks, so I can go along with it. I DON'T like reading about 4 year olds who bag bears or the what, 7 year old, who shot "Hogzilla". These folks are morons in their own right, but Mike's hunting trip is totally understandable: it's regional, if nothing less. Leave him be.............Oh, and I'm a democrat.

    December 26, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. Jim in Orlando, FL

    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?

    Posted By Tom A, Leawood, KS : December 26, 2007 4:23 pm

    Hey Tom,
    In the '04 campaign, John Kerry went hunting too, and the cameras were there ..... Doh !!!!

    Kudos to any candidate, Republican or Democrat, who stands up for gun and hunting rights. Hey Huck, while you're at it, throw another one on the barbie for me.

    December 26, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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