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. Ken in Orlando

    He looks like Tony Soprano.

    December 26, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. frank, port richey, florida

    like it or not, this kind of stuff flies with the american people. the rest of the world is right – we deserve everything we get.

    December 26, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. Ryan, Seattle WA

    I don't want my president to be a 'normal guy'.

    December 26, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. Ginny, Byron, CA

    It's stomach-turning to think that Huckabee's fat, ugly face might be the last thing an animal sees before it dies. I'm sure hunters and NRA fanatics see no problem but, believe me, millions of other voters do. This, coupled with his son's torture of a stray dog, tells volumes about Huckabee's family values and Chrisian morals.

    December 26, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. Beau Carter, Denver Colorado

    If he was hunting, which he was, don't spin the story by saying that he killed something first!!! Just say that he bagged a bird hunting or something...the pure notion that you tried to corner him as a killer is absurd. I am not a hunter, but I am all for people doing what they enjoy. If he likes to hunt and shot something in the act...good for him. Please don't spin a title to murder story!!!!!

    December 26, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  6. Craig Finnegan, Madison, Wisconsin

    Let me get this straight here....I'm supposed to be more likely to vote for someone to be President of the most powerful country on earth because he knows how to kill birds as well as my nephew in elementary that it?

    December 26, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  7. joeb, Louisville, KY

    Normally, I vote the Republican ticket. However, if this idiot wins the Republican nomination, I am voting for Hillary!

    December 26, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. Amanda, Sposylvania, Virginia

    People who kill innocent pheasants do not get my vote.

    Think you gained support by this inane show? Well, you also lost support. Congrats, you idiot.

    December 26, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. Nick , Toronto, Ontario

    I cannot imagine Mr. Huckabee sitting down to a dinner of pheasant. I picture him more as someone who would be out shooting squrrels and possums for vitals.

    December 26, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  10. Bill, Columbus, OH

    Wow, so much to take away from this:

    – Huck is certainly tough on terror. I mean, he killed an innocent animal.

    – He can fearmonger with the best of them. He uses dead animals to warn his opponents.

    If this is "regular," I'll happily be the direct opposite.

    December 26, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. James, Alexandria VA

    Wow, is CNN apart of the Huckabee campaign too? It seems like everytime this guy sneezes CNN runs a story on him.

    Well I guess it makes sense for CNN to give Huckabee some exposure since his campaign is failing miserably at raising money and cant buy any airtime.

    Why not run a story on what the candidates are going to do to get this country out of debt?

    Ron Paul is the only one who can save us now.

    December 26, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. jd, syracuse, ny

    He looks like Elmer Fudd in the picture ;-))

    December 26, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. Eric, Stillwater, MN

    Why does Huckabee get away with saying things like he does? First he says "Paul is dead, Paul is dead", a thinly veiled threat to Ron Paul who critisized his use of the cross in his TV ad. Then he suggests anyone polling in single digits but who raises millions of dollars (Ron Paul again) should commit suicide. Now he suggests people vote for him or they will be killed. The more Huckabee talks, and the more I learn about him, the more I am scared of this guy.

    December 26, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. Inga Sherrill, Hanceville, AL

    I would have liked to seen the birds prepared and cooked... perhaps even gotten the receipe. That is the mark of a true hunter.

    December 26, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  15. d of austin


    December 26, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  16. Tracy, Atlanta, GA

    I'm glad to this disgrace to humanity doesn't really have a chance.

    He should have posed in front of a 4×4 truck with a rebel flag to help show off the image (and voters) he's going for.

    December 26, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  17. Debra, Arlington, VA

    Gee, I guess we should start arming the pheasants so they can PROTECT themselves against radical christianity!

    December 26, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  18. KW, San Antonio, Texas

    You people kill me. A guy shoots a pheasant and now he's labeled as all sorts of things. What about all of you hamburger, chicken, fish, bacon, eating people? How was your dinner killed? Who is more guilty, the assasin or the person who pays the assasin? Please find something else to judge people on. Legally killing a pheasant for dinner is not a crime. I'm sure there is something else to base a voting decision on.

    December 26, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  19. Denver, CO

    This reminds me of that old Saturday Night Live bit – "Qui est Mas Muy Macho?"....Duh, let's grab a gun and kill some defenseless animal to prove that we are gun-toting, NRA loving real men and you should vote for us. Gag me!

    December 26, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. Rhonda, TX

    This is more likely than not where they take the buffoon a tenth of a mile off road either release birds til they get one or stake it down so they can hit it five feet away with a shot gun. How sporting?

    December 26, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Markus, Dallas, texas

    wow, he is regular guy because he went and killed a defenseless animal for a picture? That makes him more phony than any other candidate.

    December 26, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  22. Ashley, Lansdale, PA

    Because nothing says "Normal guy" like killing a bird on camera to 'please the people'. I'd love to say that I believe Americans won't be stupid enough to vote for a gun-toting, animal-killing redneck, but certain parts of this country have proven in the last 2 elections that yes, there are many that stupid.

    PLEASE can we remove the South?

    December 26, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. Steve Birmingham, Alabama

    He clearly is Republican Presidential material: he hit the pheasant & not a large, flightless attorney.

    December 26, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  24. Brett, Minneapolis

    According to the video, Yuckabee goes duck hunting 30 times a season. Yet, this veteran hunter can't figure out how to turn off the gun's safety.

    I will not vote for this fool. Can we get back to talking about ISSUES?

    December 26, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  25. Ajay Jain

    Iowa Rep. Steve King who was backing the one percent Tancredo is now endorsing Fred Thompson. Fred Thompson sure is catching FIRE!:

    GOP is still looking for some Godly inspiration. Hucabee is well ahead in this game. If Hucabee is the GOP answer to their prayers then Hillary will have the Presidency sealed in 2009.

    Go Hillary44 08!

    December 26, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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