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. Christine V from Dallas TX






    May 18, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Michael May 18

    There goes Mr. Nice Guy! Things that people do say in private does have a way to come out to light. Come on, you were caught with your pants down! It is like the "sniper fire" that was not thought that there existed a video tape on the real thing. Sorry Gov. Huckabee you know exactly what you were saying, just stand by it, because you have talked and joked about such in private, otherwise you wouldn't have been so sponteanous. There is a saying that people a really joyful when they joke about what they really mena and believe in.

    No matter what wicked minds wishes or hopes in reality, that Gov. Huckabee's joke will never happen! If you doubt God's power, watch and learn!

    May 18, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Crush Rush

    This guy makes his look alike, gomer pyle,. look like a Genius.

    May 18, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. semp

    The hump... The hump .... gimme the hump!

    May 18, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. Suziku

    The people who are beligerant about Obama, saying he's afraid of his own shadow are plain stupid! There is a danger to him in this racist country of ours, just getting up and speaking in front of huge crowds, meeting people everyday is dangerous and he's an extremely brave man for running for this office. There is no excuse for nastiness and ignorance! Stupid people do stupid things, like vote for mcbush or hillarycrite! Mike Huckabee said a stupid thing and doesn't seem too sorry for his stupidity. He's definitely a wolf in sheeps clothing as the previous blogger said. Beware!

    May 18, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Khal Houston,Texas

    Hmmmm....his racism is showing....and his stupidity...I once had respect for what he had to say when he holding out...for a out of touch he was...and he's still out of touch with the country and us "good " republicans...shame on you " Pastor Hucka "buck" use to make sense,when you don't....your convienent amnesia is no excuse..!

    May 18, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Auburn

    There is a saying, words spoken in jest are truly meant.

    May 18, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. democrat

    The DNC and network like CNN and MSNBC are preparing to crown king BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, I will just switch my vote to McCain if Mr UNPATRIOTIC, ANTI-AMERICAN, FLIP-FLOPPER ,ARROGANT SO FULL OF HIMSELF,Obama gets the nomination.

    May 18, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Tim from PA

    The joke was wrong for the plain fact that you just do not joke about pointing guns at people, and not because it attempted to make fun of Obama. Responsible gun owners know this, and that is why the room went so quite. Safety is the primary concern for a responsible gun owner, and it is jokes like this that can give gun owners a bad name.

    May 18, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. R.I.F.

    So if Obama made a joke about pointing a gun at McCain, would that be a benign issue? Every republican on earth would be calling for him to step out of the race beause of McCain's past. Well, beleive it or not blacks and change agents have been hung, shot and killed in the past so it is a big deal. A large group of mostly white, southern, gun toting good old boys laughing about a gun being pointed at a black persidential candidate is about as funny as watching video of McCain being held captive. Some things are just NOT funny.

    May 18, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. holley

    anyone who defends this gomer pyle looking moran is just as stupid as he looks. Barak Obama has exposed you bigot idots for what you are , and thats the scum of america. white people should be proud of thier accomplished forefathers like Ben Franklin, Alexander Bell, Bill Gates and countless others , and i understand that many whites are proud of their history, but the ignorant always seem to overshadow the accomplished . its 2008 and skin is no longer in, stature and intelligence is the future. look inside yourselves and find something to be proud of other than waking up thinking ,"how can i tear someone else down". be like barak and michelle obama , struggle and put yourselves into a program of higher learning. you can do it!

    May 18, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Bush, your a sick sick man

    Was he actually suggesting at an NRA meeting that Obama getting shot is funny? There are a few of card carrying members of the NRA that are racists who have a very extremist view of america, and are very open about their freedom to shoot anyone they see as a threat, including blacks.

    May 18, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. Joe Reg

    The repubs are loosing it.

    They are going nut.

    And there are going for the door.

    May 18, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Timus

    Open mouth insert foot!!!

    May 18, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Call it down the middle

    Why are we even talking about this clown. Dah ha ha haha. That's Obama. This guy is a joke. I gotta say this in response to previous posts although its off the topic. I like certain things about all the candidates. John Mcain was a stand up guy in Nam' and should be treated with respect for his service, but his politics are garbage. Clinton and Obama are both dedicated to winning this campaign, and are doing everything in their power to win, but I believe Hill should gracefully bow out at this time. Although I respect her, its over. Obama deserves hate from nobody, nor does Hillary. They are presidential candidates, this is what they do to win. Although it the dem's namely Hillary is getting a bit messy. You'd try to win to if you were them, but you have to see the bigger issue. Are you willing to send our young to die in forigen lands to prove a point that you will not vote for the opposing candidate. If so you take yourself down to the Army recruitment center and ask to be sent directly to Bagdad, if your too old, send your children. I know people who have been hurt badly from this war and you people are talking about I'll write Hillary in, or I'll vote Mcain. Good for you, you'll send others to die, because you are too proud. I am ashamed to be a democrat at this point.

    Common Sense and Unity in 08!

    May 18, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. PB

    Mike you maroon, would you be so thoughtless to make such
    a "benign" statement at an aiport these days?

    Maybe not so "benign". Way to go preacher.

    May 18, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Manny

    Another nail in the Repugnicans coffin.

    May 18, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Viva Obama 08

    Huckabee is actually the joke not Barack. You are not funny at all Huckabee. Go back to your church get more wifes and live a good life.

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

    I find it lamentable that the "older generation" of politicians are making these racially-charged statements. Since when is pointing a gun at a Presidential candidate even remotely funny? I think the Secret Service should have stepped in to warn Huckabee. What is really pathetic is Huckabee's attempts to stay relevant to the dying gasps of the Religious Right.

    May 18, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. Peter Damoah-Afari

    Let us pray that nothing bad happens to Obama. Should anything like what Huckabee said happens then many things will happen in America and around the world.

    May 18, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Marcie, IN

    It is not a coincidence that the only candidate who needed security earlier than any of the others is the only black candidate. And Huckabee in his own limited intelligence decided that he would make a joke of the only black candidate in the election getting shot. What an idiot. What next Huckabee, a joke about Hillary getting raped? This should be the death nail of Huckabee. If McCain even thinks about putting him on the ticket, he'd better think again.

    May 18, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Stanton Gene Kawaihinano Otero

    Jeeze...,the degree of alert status Senator Obama's personal security detail must have been put on after Senator Huckabee's profundly inappropriate (actually, fairly insane remark is more accruate)...well, I'd be having team lead nightmares if I were in charge of Senator Obama's security detail.

    Seriously, this is messed up, and Senator Huckabee is very lucky he is not being hauled off by Federal Law Enforcement and being held for futhur questioning.

    Your average no name Joe / Jane public making this same remark surely would have been incarcerated.

    May 18, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Concerned From PA

    I looked at the video and noticed that Mike Huckabee, someone whom I WAS actually fond of, even though I am an Obama supporter, after he spoke those words, he choked on his breath, or should I say gulped as he was trying to utter the following sentence, indicating to me he has a conscience. He immediately knew he was making a terrible mistake. Confronted with the tsunami of lost Republican seats coming in November, he is stooping due to the pressure. Desperate people do desperate things. If someone uttered those words about the president, the FBI would have them in a cell, and doing questioning. This is not good.

    May 18, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. 2sense

    If I were Obama and heard gunshots I'd be on the floor.

    May 18, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Lorna, NY

    Huckabee is a disgusting human being. He claims to be a minister??? How can the country become united when someone makes comments like these. He should have known better...I don't think it was a joke. I think he wanted to plant a seed. Judgment is thinking about what you say before you say it. He knew exactly what he was doing.

    May 18, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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