Hunting with Huckabee: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted December 26, 2007 2:28 PM
The Swamp

The pheasant, in better days.

by James Oliphant

OSCEOLA, Iowa--The fortunes of Mike Huckabee are soaring. The pheasants'? Not so much.

It's a tribute to how far the Arkansas Republican has come that he managed to draw more than a dozen mostly underdressed journalists to the middle of a snow-covered field in order to hunt pheasants on a frost-filled morning the day after Christmas.

Huckabee, garbed in full hunting regalia, complete with an orange-accented jacket and cap, appeared more than ready for the conditions. He also had a Benelli Black Eagle 12-gauge camouflage shotgun in hand. "I'm just talking about taking care of business," Huckabee announced, before locking and loading.

Huckabee's primary business these days is warding off Mitt Romney to win next week's caucus. And without ever mentioning Romney by name, it's clear who Huckabee's real target was, with the unlucky pheasants along to serve only as metaphors (and, eventually, dinner).

In a direct shot at Romney before the hunt, Huckabee said he brings "authenticity and credibility to the campaign."

Romney, Huckabee, said, "is focused on telling people why I shouldn’t be president. I've been here focused on telling people why I should be."

Nobody wanted to argue. The man was armed. And it was very, very cold.

With that, the hunt began. Led by an English pointer named Dude, Huckabee trudged into a field along with his campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, a local official from the National Rifle Association, and a hunting guide.

Pheasants are rather ungainly birds that stick to the low-lying brush. Dogs flush them out and the trick is to shoot them down before they can climb too high. It wasn't long before one emerged.


The bird flopped to the ground. Had it been Huckabee? The media throng was too far away to be sure. Watches were checked. Time of death: 9:54 a.m. Initial press accounts had Huckabee nailing the first pheasant, but soon there was controversy. His safety was on, someone said. Another suggested checking the video in Zapruder-like fashion for the slo-mo truth.

Huckabee's party drew farther and farther away, circling their targets. POP! POP! Another pheasant down, the killer unknown. The journalists shivered and stomped their feet. Checking BlackBerrys is tougher with gloves on. Another hunter explained that pheasant is usually cooked with the buckshot still in the body. "You just spit it out," he said.

The party was still circling, coming back toward us. The reporters edged out to try and make out the scene. Another bird surfaced and it flew, and flew, and flew.

Right toward us.


We ducked our heads and scattered. "That was too close," a cameraman said. Nobody was wearing orange anything. The hunting expert said the buckshot wouldn't hurt us if it landed on our heads.

Huckabee's party drew closer and he seemed pleased at our discomfort. He produced three slain pheasants. Huckabee said he had shot one of them, but of course, there was no way to know.

"You like to speak in metaphors, governor," one reporter asked. "What's the metaphor for this?"

"Don't get in my way," Huckabee said. "This is what happens." He looked down at the three lifeless birds, now laid out in the snow. Someone asked which bird was named Romney. "Each of these three birds made a sacrifice for the campaign," Huckabee said. "We're just asking Iowans to make much less of a sacrifice on caucus night."

Pushing the metaphor to the limit, the candidate went on, "A lot of people don’t think we were in the game. We proved if we stay out in the woods and keep the gun ready, things will turn out okay."

The back of his hat read: EAT, SLEEP, HUNT.

With that, Huckabee, to the dismay of the gathering, decided to go back out and hunt again. Apparently, he didn't know that this was supposed to be just a photo-op. He was there to enjoy himself. It left the bone-chilled reporters in a quandary.

"Do we gotta stay here?" one cameraman asked another.

"What, and get the same video again?" his colleague responded.

It was all that needed to be said. The show was over. The reporters left Huckabee hunting in peace and headed off the next event, preferably very much indoors. Maybe even with some coffee.

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Let's hear the dumb Dick Cheney remarks.

Killing animals for votes?
Newsflash, Huckabee, those animals never chose to " sacrifice" themselves to your shoddy campaign. I guess with all the news about Huckabee's dog-killing son, a cliche comes to mind "Like father, like son".

Whether or you like or dislike Huck (I like him), you've got to give him credit for one thing - authenticity. Notice that after getting the often-sought photo-op, he continued hunting. He didn't proceed to go get a manicure and nibble on some caviar with his establishment friends (not that there's anything wrong with that). He pretty much seems to be much more surface-level and genuine than most candidates.

Maybe the Huckster should call up Willard Mitt and they can both go out hunting varmints, that would really impress the stupid Republitards

...or maybe they can invite Godfather Dick and all three of them go out huntin' some wealthy GOP donors?

Dick Cheney is the most honorable man in the history of the world!! Every tethered chicken, pheasant, and dove he shoots is handled with the utmost care at his request and they are tethered with only bio-degradable tethers.

I'll give you a good reason to vote for Mitt Romney.

He knows what he's doing as an executive. Romney knows how to lead well, and he's proven it time and time again. Romney has proven his ability to affect change in private organizations and to get things done. Romney may not have the charisma of the pastor, but he has a unique God given powerful talent to lead and turn around organizations. No other candidate in either party comes close to Mitt Romney's unique experience in the wild west that is the private sector.

Mike Huckabee may be able to shoot a bird, but can he analyze the incredibly complex federal beauracracy and know how to cut out the waste and inefficiency that is killing us? Mitt Romney can and will do that. Mitt Romney can take the federal government and the Washington culture of obesity and waste to the woodshed and set policies that will lead to economic and political greatness for generations to come.

When it comes to the business of leading the world, Mitt Romney is the best of the brightest and we would be foolish not to nominate him.

In 8 of the 10 last elections, the party who has nominated their candidate first has won the election.

Let's put our individual differences aside and agree that Mitt Romney is a good man at heart. Let's put the small differences aside and unify before the democrats do and let's get started on winning the general election before the democrats do. Mitt Romney is poised to win in Iowa and New Hampshire. If Iowa will vote with his head and picks Mitt Romney, Romney stands a good chance of winning New Hampshire. If Romney wins Iowa and New Hampshire, he stands an EXCELLENT chance of winning Michigan. We can turn this thing into a sweep and have a decided unified nomination that will cause the democrats to start shaking in thier wingtips.

While the press and Huckabee exchange pheasantries,
Romney, Giuliani, and McCain just try to stay in the brush.

Thompson doesn't do pheasants.

I like how eloquently Huckabee informs us of his platform. I shoot stuff, and like music and Jesus. Vote for me! Very creative way of saying nothing.

The fact that Huckabee was able to shoot some birds proves to me that if al Qaida ever sends in suicide pheasants, Huck's our man.

On the other hand, it doesn't do much to change my view that Romney is more qualified and capable than any of the other candidates in either party to fulfill the duties of the President of the United States.

If only the pheasant had some heat and could shoot back. I'd love to see the look on upChuck's face.

Some favorite hunting and other animal/human moments from the past;

1. Any time one hunter hits himself or another hunter.

2. That doe that attacked the hunter that walked up to the deer in a attempt to execute her.

3. That duck that killed the idiot on the PWC.

4. Any kind of gun accident that teaches the hunter a lesson. It's obvious said hunter should never have been allowed to carry a weapon of any kind.

And I am not against hunting, or calling for a gun ban of any sort. I just enjoy it when the good guys (animals) 'get some' themselves. It's the animals version of 'quality trigger time'.

Ditto the tiger in Frisco. It's not the tigers fault. I'm sorry for the dead tiger.

Actually, the only hunting I respect is bow hunting, but someone with a scoped 30.06 stalking Bambi's mom?

You have to wonder what it takes to make these guys feel like a man?

Merry Xmas...

Here is one good reason not to vote for the phony Mitt Romney . Why did Romney agree with the leadership of the Mormon organisation who advocated the position that black people were cursed and that fair skinned people are "white and delightsome" see Book of Mormon pre 1980 edition 2Nephi30v6 ?

Huckabee was a televangelist... where the more charisma you have, the more money you get. So when you compare some nice guy that knows when to raise his eyebrows and how to raise and lower his voice to get the most effect, to Romney, a true financial wizard, I'd take the financial wizard anyday. Can anybody disagree? Honestly.

Huckabee has revealed his true nature grandstanding his campaign by killing innocent, defenseless wild/free animals.

I have no respect for such "hunters." True hunting involves using the minimal armaments or none and then tracking and overcoming the wild animal. I fully support any hunter who ventures forth to take a buck deer, elk, black bear or grizzly with a hunting knife. A small spear can be used for taking on a pack of timber wolves. I will also contribute to a fund for his widow and children after he is buried.

I hope this is the start of a more focused discussion for the 2008 election and sportsmen/gun issues. If Rudy and Hillary are the choices, God help firearms owners, we lose either way. I don't like Huckabee's religious stance but he is the real deal for Sportsmen. Pay attention folks, our livlihoods depend on the outcome. Great new format too!

John E,

I prefer hi-vel. .22 long rifle rounds for brown rats. Hollow point, of course.


Huckabee is NOT authentic. He's not a conservative. He is a liberal on fiscal issues. he is a liberal on imigration. He is a liberal on crime. He is a liberal on foriegn policy. He attacks Romney's religion then play innocent. If Huckubee wins the nomination then Hillary wins the presidency hands down and shame on all those in Iowa who voted based on religion and for "folksyness" over substanse. Mitt Romney is simply the best candidate across the board.

Huckabee's own have given him the title of "snake oil salesman. I read that way back during the Value Conference.

One of Mike Huckabee's supporters wrote: "He can sell ice to Eskimos" another writes " Mike Huckabee won me over." Yet another writes "Huck demonstrated the same smooth, articulate, can-sell-snake-oil-to-a-merchant demeanor."

An eyewitness to the convention wrote:

"I’ve attended plenty of speeches, conventions, and conferences, and I have never seen a speaker receive so many cheers standing ovations. From the moment Huckabee walked on stage, you could feel the excitement brewing. I may sound partial, but you’d almost have to be there to understand. With an ease in his manner and a genuine tone of voice, he started off his first few minutes by joking with the crowd.
Moving on to immigration, about which he has been challenged by conservatives for taking a liberal stance, Huckabee was careful with his words. He blamed our federal government for the current problem rather than those who have come here illegally; saying that it is the government’s responsibility to protect the borders. While he correctly targeted the federal administration and the corporations who have hired illegal immigrants, he was silent about why he chooses not to hold the aliens accountable (I would have liked to hear some of his insights, since this view is inexplicable to me). Instead, he cleverly switched the topic to express some words of patriotism as an American who was “thankful that this country is one that people are trying to break into, not one that they are trying to break out of."

The attendee continues her explanation of the grand speech and closes with these words.

"Preach it, Pastor."

Governor Huckabee knows how to stir emotion. Conversions to God and the vilest mobs have been formed by people who can stir emotion.

Mike Huckabee has charisma. He can "sell ice to Eskimos". I like the guy, but I don't trust him with America's problems.

Governor Huckabee's fiscal conservativeness does not show in his Governorship of Arkansas. I hope people will look into his record. I believe he is sincere in his social beliefs but I do not believe he is a strong fiscal conservative.

I just don't want us to be sold on someone who might be really good at selling snake oil to a merchant.

To the heartfelt plea of ebadger on behalf of Mitt Romney: Many people who believe that Mike Huckabee is the most worthy candidate actually like and respect Mitt Romney, despite the negative ads that his fall in popularity have engendered. We just believe that Huckabee is brighter with clearer ideas, has more integrity, and will be less afraid to take on the rich and powerful on behalf of the people. We believe that he understands better that capitalism is good, but must be leavened with compassion for the less fortunate. That way the nation is stronger than when the rich just get richer and the poor just get poorer. Huckabee feels that in his bones; Romney cannot.

"He knows what he's doing as an executive. Romney knows how to lead well, and he's proven it time and time again. Romney has proven his ability to affect change in private organizations and to get things done."

He drove a lot of companies into bankrupcty & made his fortune in the process. He must have memorized the movie "Wall Street", line for line.

Maybe the "lifelong hunter" (does hunting twice in a lifetime qualify for that destinction?) could have joined the televangalist on the hunt.

Mr. Huckabee's flyin' high, and his opponents don't have the gear or the know-how to cut his flight short.

Huckabee is NOT authentic. He's not a conservative. He is a liberal on fiscal issues. he is a liberal on imigration. He is a liberal on crime. He is a liberal on foriegn policy. He attacks Romney's religion then play innocent. If Huckubee wins the nomination then Hillary wins the presidency hands down and shame on all those in Iowa who voted based on religion and for "folksyness" over substanse. Mitt Romney is simply the best candidate across the board.

Posted by: SVB | December 26, 2007 8:39 PM

I think you're missing the issue, SVB. Huckabee says he loves the J-Man a great deal. Really alot.

That is the Alpha and Omega for the dumbest, most gullible constituency in the country, the Christian Right. No need to consider the substance. If you love haysoose and say so loudly, no further scrutiny is required. Exhibit A? The Worst President In History.

uggg, is this guy for real. What an idiot!! Is this animal murdering supposed to impress us so we will vote this dope into the white House? Emerson once said "..what you are speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you are saying." Way to go Huckabee thanks for the insight.

Well, I would expect as much from the non-hunting great unwashed. People who know very little about anything much less hunting. Why do these green environmental wanna-bees even bother to comment? At least this guy hunts. Why didn't the so-called press follow along and get some real photos. So much for the biproduct of grass and water after being processed through a male bovine these antis produce.

I know during my hunts in Iowa, Kansas, Texas, and Montana I killed more than a few. We had one for Christmas. Cheers

Wow, what a concept: hunting pheasants with buckshot! I usually use birdshot. News flash: My safety immediately goes back on too after I shoot something. Good training. I'm amazed at how much firearms knowledge has been lost by the general public in just my lifetime, with those in the press having lost the most.

Shoot 'em up Preacherman - President leads US troops to sacred pheasant burial grounds, says silent prayer for little dead buddies. Pleasant Pheasant Restaurant stock soars...

Mitt Romney may not be the hunter that Huck is ut he has what it takes to turn this country around...I think he deserves the chance to put his corprate tools to work on the US budget, etc.! I agree with the previous writer who says that Republicans need to gather round a candate quickly and that man is MITT ROMNEY !

I get a kick out of all the knuckleheaded idiots here who rail against a hunter killing pheasant. The birds will be eaten, just like the chicken, pigs, and cattle you jerks have proxy executed for you, so you can buy the meat all wrapped up pretty at the supermarket. After all, it is just something in a package, not real animals... We hunt and eat what we take. You pizz & moan, then eat something from a package.

After reading everyones comments, i actually feel sorry for the human race. If something took away your palm pilots, LEATHER shoes, electricity, burger kings and cars. You'd all be dead in a week. I vote, and i hunt and fish. I think its great to see a candidate actually in the field using the correct end of a gun. I am sure the buckshot comment was from an uneducated reporter(which sums up 99% of reporters) Most items we read/ see on tv are exagerrated beyond imagination. anyways, i would rather be in the woods then sitting in front of a tv getting fat and sassy!

Three cheers for Huck! It is a shame he didn't comform to what the main stream or drive by media would like him to do. It is a shame Huck can't stay inside for the reporters. James (reporter)do I detect a little anti hunting in the story? Remember reporters are to report the news and not slant it one way or the other. Just the facts please; no personal opinions when reporting thank you.

keep you gun in your pants
you're obscene and fat

Huckabees son hanged a dog at boyscout camp. This is going to come back to roost.

Like father, like son. Huckabee's son killed the dog by hanging it, slitting its throat and stoning it to death. Huckabee fired the prosecutor who filed animal cruelty charges against his son and also fired the director of Arkansas's state police when he would not cover up the incident.

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