May 18th, 2008
01:05 PM ET
13 years ago

Huckabee: 'Lousy joke' but 'pretty benign issue'


Watch Huckabee's joke at the NRA Convention Friday. (starting at 0:50).

(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, known for his razor-sharp humor on the campaign trail, has again found it can be a double-edge sword, as he spent a third day explaining his admittedly “awkward” quip about Senator Barack Obama.

Huckabee talked to reporters Saturday after addressing graduates at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. Not surprisingly, the first question was about Friday’s joke at the NRA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, about the Democratic presidential front-runner. It came up again Sunday in his appearance on “Meet the Press”.

After a loud noise back stage during his speech Friday, Huckabee joked, “That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He’s getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him, and he dove for the floor.” The audience, who laughed as he started the line, turned quiet.

In his news conference Saturday, Huckabee acknowledged the line was a mistake. “It was a simple thing of an incredible distraction that happened somewhere backstage”, he said, “I made a rather awkward attempt at a joke, wasn’t all that great. I’ve apologized for it. I didn’t mean to offend anybody. I didn’t even remember having said it. I honestly had to go back and look at the tape.”

The former Arkansas Governor said the controversy over the line has been blown out of proportion. He told reporters, “I think if people go back and look at the actual moment they’ll realize that it’s not nearly as much of a thing as some bloggers have attempted to make it to be. So all I would say is let people go back and look at what actually happened, and I think it’s a pretty benign interview.”

Huckabee drew big laughs often as a candidate for his lines in debates and on the stump, even making an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” that received great reviews. But other times, his humor could raise some eyebrows. CNN producer Evan Glass, who traveled with the candidate in Iowa, recalled Huckabee joking during a hunting photo where his group bagged three pheasants, “don’t get in my way. This is what happens.” (It should be noted the joke was prompted by a reporter’s prodding for a metaphor.)

soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. Proud American

    This is a prime example of why America is not voting Republican this time around. We dont need this kind of garbage coming from our so called leaders!

    May 18, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Carmen Agius

    My Comment Is,that my Democrat party make me change and become a Republican, reason, the upseen advertizment of Obama Girl and shame on Obama and his compaign to allow that ,even his own daughter one time she told him but you have Mama ,and shame
    on the democrat Party especially Howard Dean how they treated Sen
    etor Former First Lady Hillary Clinton, and do not blame Hillary Clinton for loosing the Election you are choosing the weekest candidate
    Registered Democrat Voting for John Mc Cain
    Thank you Carmen Agius

    May 18, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Betty from Idaho

    What is Huckabee trying to do? We've already shot four Presidents including Lincoln, McKinley, Kennedy and Reagan. This country is way too violent to talk like that.

    May 18, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Drew, Central FL

    Schmuckabee for VP. No thank you. It is the height of stupidity for a Southern White Baptist preacher to joke about guns being aimed at a black man.

    I hope America is looking at all the putrid Republicans that come out to make light of this.

    It's comments like these that continue to be at the heart of racial angst in this country. You can't blame the black anger for white stupidity.

    This is what happens when one doesn't think before talking.

    May 18, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. lori

    Charlotte (who will write in Hillary)

    I just watched Hillary say she will campaign her heart out for Obama.

    I just read her fund raisers and Obamas are having meetings to mesh organizations and probably work at a way to pay off of her 20+ million dollar campaign debt .

    Hillary is now a TRAITOR!!!

    She is selling out to Obama!!!

    There will be NO FLOOR FIGHT!!!

    June 4th the SD's go to Obama.

    June 5th she gets a check.

    June 6th she and Chelsea are campaigning for him.

    You will waste your vote on a TRAITOR??

    She is nothing but a two faced politician – out for herself and her own profit.

    I can't wait for Emily's List to crucify her. I can't wait for the 17 million she duped into voting for her to wake up and realize they've been sold down the river. TRAITORS should go live in Fl... and learn to duck.

    May 18, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Roryryn

    hey, terry in florida....... you sum up the reason there is division in your country. Remarks off the cuff with no real rational... You are a plight to your cause.

    May 18, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Mary

    I thought he was a man of God but now I know better. He has a sick way of joking and should be very careful.

    May 18, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Naren Patel

    Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist Pastor: "I didn’t mean to offend anybody. I didn’t even remember having said it. I honestly had to go back and look at the tape.”
    We have heard Rev. Jerry Fallwell, Rev. Robertson, Rev. Wright before and now Rev. Huckabee. Hmmmm...

    May 18, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Willy

    Bad joke but stil funny

    May 18, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Joseph Adewole

    A former Pastor? Let it be known that BO stands on the ROCK, also on the Word written in Isiah 54 verse 17 (No weapon fashion against BO shall prosper)

    May 18, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Some of you folks are so quick to misconstrue and misinterpret another person's statements!!!! Why can't you give each other the benefit of the doubt? You are probably wondering what I am "talking" about. Well here goes, I am going to give you my interpretation of what Sen. Obama said about "Bitter, and Guns, and Religion".

    When people (black, white, poor, rich, old or young) feel that their Government has forgotten them, that the President and all their Country's Leaders have turned away from them, and left them to virtually fend for themselves, what do you think they will do? they become disillusioned and "bitter" (hurt and angry, they develop a sense of distrust for anything and anybody that may be different)

    They turn to the things that they know they can still trust, they can still hunt, no one can take their guns away , it is their right to bear arms. No one can take away their religion, they become closer to their God, they turn to each other for understanding and they take pride in their neighbours, while shying away from those who are different, whether the difference is in colour, values, it really does not matter because, they feel that they can only trust each other, no one is looking out for them. They turn to each other because they understand each other, they have the same values, they trust each other.

    There is absolutely nothing shameful or hurtful in these feelings. Only people, who do not understand these people's core values, can find fault with what Sen. Obama said. The elitists jumped on this statement, and twisted it and wrung it and just misconstrued and misrepresented it until they could make it into something other than what it was intended to be. A strong sense of understanding for those people who have been taken advantage of, for far too long.

    May 18, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. ED FL

    why does your bias choice cause well written correct spelling and punctuation not make it to the blog. I do not use cuswords but i do have a bad habit of telling what i think is the truth. You biased view or hardheadedness is no more a judgement than mine . What are you afraid of by allowing a viewpoint other than your own biased orders or opinionto express a more truthful comment. Here is another one you can hide or delete you cowards.

    May 18, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Jackie

    I really lost respect for Huckabee..,..I am sure Obama has had many death threats, and this is no laughing matter.... "Out of the mouth speaketh the heart".....Pastor Huckabee needs to examine his heart.

    May 18, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Matt

    Obama needs to grow some thicker skin. He takes offense at everything. Is he ready to be president?

    May 18, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. smegma cheesecake

    In light of what happened to Robert Kennedy in 1968, and to George Wallace in 1972, this is not something you joke about

    May 18, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. sj

    What if....

    Barack said this about McCain? or...

    Hillary said this about Barack? or...

    And especially...

    What if..

    Rev Wright said this about McCain?

    The 24/7 Rev Wright Show would start up all over again!

    I think it's pretty clear that white preachers can say what they want and support who they want without much consequence - think Hagee, Robertson, Falwell, etc. I'm sure like those folks, Huckabee will be welcomed into the White House for meetings and advice.

    He now wants to be McCain's VP!

    And one more note - he doesn't remember saying it! The fact that this very out-of-line remark would not even register in his mind as a disgusting comment, shows how engrained his belief that joking about a black being shot is just normal, every day banter.

    May 18, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Set back

    He was planting a seed. But if you think riots were bad then, you would not even be able to imagine them if something horrific occured again. Further more this country would be set back 100 years in race relations.

    May 18, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. aaron

    poor poor taste.

    huckabee should be ashamed.

    this is exactly the kind of politicians we need to do away with.

    obama 08

    May 18, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. Pennsylvania

    Watch the above video on this comment...

    Just before Huckabee makes that inappropriate joke or political gaff, he says something to the effect of... "I highly resent it, when people think, that those who grow up with firearms.... ..... are less likely to commit a crime because they understand what's right and what's wrong...

    Funny huh? I mean ironically funny, that someone who knows the difference between right and wrong would make a joke of this nature. NOT FUNNY Huckabee!

    May 18, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Kevin

    As Karl Rove alluded at that same NRA event, Huckabee's comments represent the true values of this particular group of Americans. This group is part of the 27% of Americans that seem to still, inexplicably, approve of Bush and are scared silly over Obama's message of change and unity. They don't realize that this message is bigger than Obama, it's part of the American consciousness. Hating Obama isn't going to change the hearts and minds of the majority of people in this country. The NRA's values, Rove's values, Huckabee's values are not the values of most Americans. Who is truly out of touch here?

    Obama's comments about blue collar, small town America (of which I'm a member), which were poorly expressed but easily interpreted by anyone with a brain stem, is that the working poor in this country have little to rely on but faith and guns when the government that is supposed to protect and serve them does neither. That goes for both Repubs and Dems. Of course, distortion doctors like Karl Rove and his ilk have seized upon this gaffe and manipulated the truth to serve their agenda. And Gov. Huckabee, as fellow Christians, we forgive you for your stupid, thoughtless "joke", but you're still a hypocrite. Senator Obama is not the perfect pill and won't be able to solve this country's problems in eight years, but continuing on the same path we've been treading with Bush is not going to improve anything. Obama may be our best hope. Time's up. We need a sustainable future, free of oil addiction, and free of gluttonous consumption. The cynicism must stop.

    May 18, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. william


    May 18, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Chris

    Thanks for showing your true colors Mike...

    May 18, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. Sam

    His regret is as believable as someone sitting in a church pew for 20 years and never actually hearing what the minister said.

    May 18, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. holy

    HUCKABEE should team up with BILL and HILLARY CLINTONS and a circus "Greatest show of Lies and Jokes" !

    They are the trio of disgrace of American politics underestimate votors' iintelligence.

    May 18, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Oddy

    Just like Jack Cafferty said, Mike Huckabee is an idiot! Considering how much fear there is in the African American community about the possibility of Obama getting shot just like Martin Luther, Huckabee may have planted the idea in the head of a crazy fellow out there to try this and it is a pity that it came from a so-called pastor. I hope African Americans can forgive him for this!

    May 18, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16