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. Dan

    let me guess you now Huk haters also think OJ didnt kill his wife and Ron either, get over it, my goodness what a bunch of wimps you are

    May 18, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. BNB

    Obama people have no sence of humor. Listen to populist speeches, you will never understand these jokes.

    Huckabee, I liked your sharp joke! go ahead...

    May 18, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Eleanor

    @gary.... you should be ashamed of yourself for comments like that
    its because of people full of hatred and prejudice like you that this kind of racist bigotry still continues and CNN should not even give it post room!!!

    This remark by Huckabee was twenty times worse than the silly* bitter* remarks by Obama and the media focused on that for over a week
    You do NOT ever even in jest make a remark like that about any presidential candidate but especially a black candidate like Senator
    Obama...lets hope he gave him a personal apology!!
    Lets see if CNN posts this

    May 18, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Canadian

    Hillary or McSame said, 'Obama I bet is afraid of his own shadow!, and will not be OUR next President!!!!'

    END this now Americans!!!! A Hillary supporter will not support Obama because he is afraid of his own shadow?????? Are you Americans that gullible??

    CNN please post this!!

    May 18, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Math Wiz

    This was a lousy joke.

    A better joke would've been: "That was Hillary Clinton falling off her chair, avoiding sniper fire."

    The security around the Obama camp has been a sensitive issue because- wait for it – there probably are some nuts out there who would sacrifice themselves to maim the presumptive nominee because the paltry issue that he is black. Lest we remind everybody, he is half white also. I'm sure Good ol' boy Mike knew right after he said it it was in poor taste, and probably refrained from any Hillary jokes because, let's be honest, the woman is a joke unto herself.

    May 18, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. redneck in nyc

    hally-lu-yah! A gun-lovin bible-thumping creep who can really get out the neaderthal vote! His choice of words in his little joke speaks volumes about the hidden fantasies of so many scared little white men with big guns and tiny ____ in this country! I'm starting to think Huck is one of the most honest Republicans – he's not afraid to show how racist and crazy he is! OBAMA WE'RE WITH YOU MAN BUT PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR VP IS BLACK TOO!!! THESE BIBLE/GUN PEOPLE ARE SICK SICK SICK, THEY HAVE MORE IN COMMON WITH THE TALIBAN THAN THEY DO WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS, THEY'RE JUST TOO UNEDUCATED TO SEE IT. God bless the WORLD. OBAMA '08 THE DUMB SHALL BE CONFUSED!

    May 18, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Obama Supporter



    RUN HATE PROGRAM.................





    May 18, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Steve Smith

    I'm a republican and I must admit, after watching the video several times, the whole thing looks staged. Notice how he is not even surprised. It's as if he rehearsed it several times and the noise was his cue, but that is probably why it didn't come off as funny b/c it was staged into long detailed sentences, something you don't do when it's not staged.

    May 18, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Sammy

    I hope that McCain has the foresight to do something really stupid, like crack a joke like that sometime in the next three months. That would make my year.

    May 18, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. mehrad

    Huckabee you should be ashamed of yourself.

    May 18, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. Bush, your a sick sick man

    "andrew May 18th, 2008 1:02 pm ET

    You obo people make me sick! You people are weak and dumb. NO WAY IN HELL WILL OBO WIN!!! (he said it own it)

    Wow, I feel enlightened by your compelling statement. maybe all the Hillary uneducated white voters were right all along. Things like "nobama" and "bo stinks" and misspelled and poorly constructed one liners really make me see the light... Oh WAIT IT WAS JUST GAS!!!

    sore losers.

    you bore me.

    Obama '08

    May 18, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. temmydizzle

    I am so surprised at the senseless jokes from Huckabee, a so called man of God. I wonder if he truely understands what the bibles tells us, and what he preaches to his congregation. Hmmmmm. Wonders shall never end.

    May 18, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. M Johnson

    This is a very clear example why Huckabee was not presidential material. It has something to do with intelligence, taste and judgment... not verbal agility.

    May 18, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. Chris

    Am really shocked at the way Mike Huckabee and John Macain had tried to trivialized critically important national issues by often cracking meaningless jokes when they are asked very important questions.Mike Huckabee joked about gun being pointed at Obama in presence of the NRA when an issue bodering on the guns handling and control is being discussed, this really shows him as an unserious person with bad juudgement since he does not know when to crack joke,no wonder he couldnt make it in the republican primaries. Macain on the other hand tries to joke about his age when asked,he often refers to his 96yrs old mother in a bid to run away from the question. The truth is that age should actually not be a critical factor in choosing a president, if the candidate in question is both mentally and physcally fit, but how fit is Macain? he struggled with skin cancer shortly after loosing to Bush in the primaries, that required immediate surgery.So the question also is that is Macain medically certified to go throught the rigours of the presidential office given his medical records, I think clearance has to be sought from medical experts especially for them to comfirm that his battle with the cancer has been won totally. In addition,Macian has a temper which is very visible when he talks, he often moves his left hand in an aggressive manner to undersocred the point he is trying to make. he is an old man, and i think he should be mature enough to put his temper under check. in my opinion, these issues are legitimate ones and should be discussed.

    May 18, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Interesting

    Yeah right.....Just like those nooses, huh? How are you doing Obama and your supporters?

    I wonder why Edwards said no to a VP slot. Yeah, they are willing to put Clinton under the bus, but not willing to destroy their own reputation in order to appease Clyburn and the large black base in the Democratic party.

    How about we all say in unison: we like black people?

    May 18, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. GOP SCUM

    It was really funny...Ha ha ha ha!

    Darn RACISTS!

    GOP has always been full of gun totting, Black people hating, uneducated inbred scum!

    May 18, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    CNN... you have bad mouth to people against Hillary!!!!!

    May 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. redneck in nyc

    o and BTW, Rev Wright was a marine for 6 years, works constantly to feed the poorest and weakest among his fellow Americans, and has a big crazy mouth; therefore he is more Christian and more American than all you right-wing r3tards put together! YOU EITHER BELIEVE IN FREE SPEECH OR YOU DONT! read the U.S. constitution mouth-breathers

    May 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. George

    Good old irrelevant Huckabee, trying to remind people of his sad existence

    May 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. james

    A "bad joke that misses" starts with a line like "A priest and a rabbi are in a boat..." NOT with "someone's aiming a gun at." This is most un-Christian thing I've heard on the campaign trail, coming from the loudest propenent of Christ, oops, sorry, I meant himself, that is on the campaign trail. Contrast this sideshow with Barack's own humble handling of his faith. Who's the real Christian?

    May 18, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Obama Supporter

    OBAMOBOT R2D2C3POOU812 2008







    May 18, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Mmimi De La Cruz for OBAMA


    May 18, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. bill for barack

    What would Huckabee be saying today if a Democrat had made a similar comment about McCain ?
    Would he think it's just as funny and just as benign ?
    In some other countries his "apology" wouldn't matter. He'd already be jailed – or worse.

    May 18, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. Live and Let Live!

    "Gary " I am not suprised about the type of lies people like you spread on CNN bloggs. That is why you feel very comfortable supporting LIARS! I urge you to denounce what you have written, otherwise I wish you what you and your like deserve sooner than later!

    May 18, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. holy

    Mike Huckabee = Hilary Clinton.

    They both can NOT be VP nominees because of this Big MOUTH problems !

    May 18, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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