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. wendy thomas

    Well, Mike just lost my vote. How sick to have to let one of Gods creatures loose 5 feet away so it can fly in the air for Mike Huckleby to kill. The comments made after sound very much like the Bush Cowboy. Isn't this what we want to gat away from?
    W. Thomas. Florida

    December 26, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Dana, Saint Louis, MO

    I don't care much about the pheasants – that is canned Republican PR, but his "You vote for me, you live ... " quote is despicable. What the heck is that supposed to mean? I find it offensive that he seems to suggest that as president he would harm the portion of the population who didn't vote for him. I don't doubt it.

    December 26, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Greg Clarkston, Michigan

    pretty pathetic – another gun toting, shoot-'em up insecurity case... Madison Ave. campaigning at its best. Just what we need again in the white house...why is CNN not giving real air time coverage to all the candidates? Why is, for example, Joe Biden not getting decent time? Do we need to keep feeding the average lack of intellect with these fast-food grade politics? I'd like to read and hear about the inner thinking of all the candidates in reasonably equal bits so I can make my own choices, not some polling organisation's statistical result.

    December 26, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Julie & John in Colorado

    Could someone explain to us how threatening the voting public with killing them is supposed to make us vote for this guy? Does ProLife end at birth? Because we're not fetuses or fertilized eggs we're allowed to be killed?


    December 26, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Bob Miller, Little Rock, AR

    I have nothing against hunting, but this man is a fraud. He says he lowers taxes ( but then raises others ), wants to eliminate the IRS ( but then replace it with a sales tax ), shamelessly plays to his religion, is weak on immigration, has NO plan for bringing fiscal accountability to government, ending the war, he lies about having a theology degree, he pardons all the criminals.. I mean, what gives? I look at all these guys, and here I am, still voting for RP.

    December 26, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. Paul, SF, CA

    Call me naive, but I'd always thought that someone who finds joy in killing small animals a sociapath.

    December 26, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Jeff, Greenville, SC

    Hmmm . . . Don't get in my way as the man is holding a gun. Way to teach our kids about "Loving thy Neighbor" Huck.

    So when I don't vote for you, I get shot?

    December 26, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. Daniel, WA

    CNN reporters have nothing else to report. This news is nonsense.

    December 26, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. Mark M. Seattle, WA

    Too much religion. Now the guns. Add all that to his great ideas for health care – quarantine people with AIDS! Where are the people with vision, compassion, empathy, imagination!

    December 26, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. zeferino, chicago, Illinois

    Hey, wait a minute. Isn't a pheasant one of god's creatures? Our former minister sure looks happy about ending its life. It makes one wonder whether this Republican will have the same cavalier and casual approach toward ending the lives of young soldiers we keep sending to Middle East.

    December 26, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. C. David, Los Angeles, CA

    God help our country if it's led by somebody who's proud of his cruelty to animals.

    December 26, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. Blake Williams, Little Rock, AR

    You know, there are a lot of folks out there that like to go pheasant hunting this time of year. In all likliehood, Mr. Huckabee probably likes to go hunting this time of season, as I am sure many people in rural America do as well. I think this video simply captures Mr. Huckabee doing what he would otherwise be doing were it not a campaign year. And on January 1st, he'll probably be watching DMAC show the world why he should've won the Heisman.

    December 26, 2007 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Tom Wilson, Berkeley, CA

    Huckabee, what were you thinking?
    You just aimed your big gun and shot your support!
    Your PR person should be in the unemployment line!
    Beware America, Huckabee is a loose canon!
    Americans, please aim elsewhere with your vote for President!

    December 26, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. Preston Alexander, Boston, Mass.

    This pheasant shooting stunt is a perfect example of the type of person I DO NOT WANT RUNNING THIS COUNTRY ANYMORE!!!

    Find me someone who CHERISHES and NOURISHES life, not wantonly goes about shooting and killing it.

    This guy's a total loser as far as I see it. Go back to the woods, Hucky, and let someone like Al Gore - a man whose mission in life is one of goodness and compassion: this is the type of person this country sorely needs now.


    December 26, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Scott from Freehold

    Wow! What a man he is. How manly that he could shoot an animal from point blank range. Yeah, that gets my vote.

    December 26, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. Bobby Sansouci live oak fl 32060

    What a bunch of idiots and I'm not talking about Huckabee... First of all, the man simply had a day of hunting and it is nothing new to him. Second,if you eat what you kill then I see nothing wrong with it. The bible speaks of many animals being killed to eat. When is the last time you had a hamburger? Third, no matter what the man did on his day off I can assure you that somebody would have something negative to say about it. Maybe you should look at yourself before you start judging others....

    December 26, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. Lush Rimbaud, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

    I hope this is his Dukakis moment, the moron.

    December 26, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Get the hook- this makes me sick. The same people who will vote for him are the ones who put Bush in office.

    December 26, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. Carl, Omaha, Nebraska

    I'm not against hunting at ALL – but this guy killed some pheasants just to show how MANLY he was?

    I'm sorry, but that's sickening.

    December 26, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. Jerry in Valdosta, Georgia

    Mike Huckabee is the real deal ! This man hails from rural Arkansas where game hunting and fishing is very much a way of life. This isn't like John Kerry who tried to use a hunting trip as a photo op which failed horribly by the way in 2004 ! City people need to get it through their thick head that not everyone else in America lives the way they do.How smart or dumb a person is depends on where in the USA he/she is standing !

    December 26, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. Tony G/VA

    Besides all of the comments below, his name is HUCKABEE for Christ sake.

    December 26, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. David, Boca Raton, FL

    Funny how preoccupied people become with something so insigificant as this when their candidate is doing something significant and worse.

    I wonder how the ignorant masses fuel their direction-less dribble with so much vigor. Care to share some insight Todd C.?

    Had it been Romney, he would had said he had shot pheasant then later retracted it.

    Huckabee has been honest about both his triumphs and his slip-ups and there is no reason to not give him the benefit of the doubt.

    December 26, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  23. Erik Viker

    I am growing weary of hearing my fellow Americans foolishly say they want a "regular guy" as President. A regular guy (or gal) can't be expected to excel at the most challenging job in the world. We should want our next leader to be something more than just AVERAGE.

    For a change, let's insist our next President be WAY ABOVE AVERAGE. Let's insist on intelligence, accomplishment, and extraordinary understanding of history, human nature, and the use of power.

    December 26, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    Here's the sad thing; this will help convince a significant number of people to vote for him.

    December 26, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  25. john, NY,NY

    I never had any opinion of Huckabee however this is YUCK. SOrry not into killing innocent animal for the sake of sport.

    December 26, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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