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. Kristin, Chicago, IL

    Klass with a capital K

    Unbelievable. His strategy team should be...erm..shot.

    December 26, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  2. Mary Frances Chicago il

    Shooting animals - another reason not to support him. Yuck

    December 26, 2007 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  3. JC, Dallas TX

    Rather point at the bird instead of the real enemy.

    December 26, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  4. Paul Thompson

    Wow...someone went hunting.

    December 26, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  5. Nathan

    I just think like, wow. It's just like you know what I mean.

    December 26, 2007 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  6. Alan Disler, Los Angeles, CA

    Pandering hypocrite. And this is the "Christian" candidate?

    December 26, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  7. Paul, Tampa, FL

    Didn't we, as a nation, learn our lesson about letting old, white Repugnants handling firearms after the Chaney incident?

    December 26, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. Larr, Garrison, NY

    Not all "ordinary" people go hunting and find it necessary to capture it on film.

    December 26, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  9. Patrick, Ardmore Oklahoma

    i wonder what he is going to do to the turkey on thanksgiving.how is this attractive. The last major politician that was in the news for hunting was cheney and that is because he shot a guy.

    great so he can kill helpless birds, now can he make a health plan that will actually be beneficial to americans.

    December 26, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  10. david allan, pennsylvania

    The import of Huckabee's speech, assuming he was correcty quoted, is that he is willing to win the election by killing all who oppose him and, I presume when in power, maintain his dictatorship by killing his opponents. Sounds like a real Republican candidate who has revealed the true extent of his parties anti-democratic underpinnings.

    December 26, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  11. Eric Ascher, Groton, CT

    As a citizen in the United States Navy I say support John McCain for Republican candidate for President of the United States of America as he is the most experienced candidate in government and world affairs.

    December 26, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  12. Shocked, GOP, USA

    If this guy by some fluke gets to the general election, he's going to be slaughtered. Mike, you may just want to stick with orange – just in case. Here's your sign.

    December 26, 2007 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  13. Ted Shadin, Playa Vista, CA

    Were these the pheasants that were raised in a farm and delivered to the pen on the morning of the "hunt?" What a clod.

    December 27, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  14. John Halverson DC

    I have nothing against hunting and I understand that he needs to wear warm clothes, but does he need to look like such a dope? also is there any way we could get him hunting with Cheney? some of his companions don't make it back and I sure could use a break from this idiot.

    December 27, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    Hee Haw! Go Gomer Pyle!!!!!!!!!!

    December 27, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  16. Abm Habibullah

    Why is American Presidential candidates will have to kill innocent creatures to prove how mucho they are? Who fault is this? Is this the fault of these power hungry politicians or the fault of ignorant people like us who will fall for a guy with a gun?

    December 27, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  17. F Frank, Berkeley, California

    Good think Huckleberry Pile didn't go shooting with Cheney or he would have been the one bagged and stuffed. Being a pheasant hunter, I bet those birds were wild pheasants in an ordinary farmers fields, but plants at a hunting club. I went hunting with my cousins one time at a club in California and got my two planted birds without firing a shot. My dog caught the first one in his mouth, and the second one flew straight up and had a heart attack and died before I could shoot him. At least Huckster didn't slit the dogs throat like his did to that "mangy" stray years ago and pops tried to cover it up.

    December 27, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  18. Ian, Midland MI

    At least he didn't shoot any of his buddies in the face. ; )

    December 27, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  19. Angela, WPB< FL

    What an IDIOT!
    I know there are people who like to hunt, but to use it to get votes and then make a veiled threat to people who don't vote for him because he might shoot them is just about as stupid as it gets!

    And that picture makes him look like something out of Deliverance.
    UGH!

    December 27, 2007 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  20. T. Tim, Lodi, WI

    I hear it now, the Repubs' 2008 campaign theme song endlessly repeating that line from the Beatles–"Happiness is a warm gun." Politico-pandering is reaching new lows. What's next, Huck's wife on screen with her grenade launcher? Sad commentary on the
    cultural roots of gun-based violence in America today.

    December 27, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  21. Louis Park Millville, NJ.

    How fake is this. No hunting license means this was a game bird farm. A borrowed 12 gauge and every stitch of clothing was brand new. Knowing Huck's reputation everything was probably gifted to him. Wish someone would gift a brand new $3000.00 Banelli to me.
    I'll stick with Ron Paul he may not hunt but I'll sleep better knowing my second amendment right will be safe. If the NRA backs Huckabee I'm pulling my membership.

    December 27, 2007 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  22. Nick, Wildwood, MO

    Please, please, please, do not vote for this man. I know I won't. Such an incident only reinforces his provincial mindset.

    December 27, 2007 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  23. AJM in Portland, Oregon

    Hello, liberal in Seattle. The Hebrew verb used in the fifth command of the Decalogue is clear in implying an act of murder; the intentional slaying of another human being. In the Scriptures, hunting is never even remotely related to an act of murder, but is given as a basic, post-fall right of mankind.

    If you think this post is silly and nitpicky, go back and read the rest of them again.

    Way to go CNN... Sheesh.

    December 27, 2007 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  24. Patrick, Denver Colorado

    Just to be fair John Kerry did this as well and looked just as stupid as Huckabee in the process. I dream of the day when I can vote for a president who promotes life instead of death. Instead I am stuck choosing between a majority of Republicans who favor the unecessary killing of animals, and the death penalty and the majority of Democrats who want to keep the killing of babies legal in our country. Someone please become a true pro-life candidate.

    December 27, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. john williams san diego, ca.

    Tom A. leawood,ks. 'presidential candidate goes hunting' and you knew it was a right wing candidate? Maybe you are to young to know a left wing loonie presidential candidate named Kerry that shot and killed a wild turkey during his campaign? He also was wounded three times in Viet Nam and has the bandages to prove it.

    December 27, 2007 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
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