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Looking Down the Barrel of Caucus Day

Huckabee, aiming for a win in Iowa. (Reuters).

By Jose Antonio Vargas
OSCEOLA, Iowa--Early-rising and gut-toting Mike Huckabee literally fired the first round in this final stretch of campaigning here in Iowa, where the caucuses are eight days away.

Around 9:30 a.m., before the rest of the candidates were set to spend the day crisscrossing the Hawkeye State, Huckabee took an hour and a half to hunt pheasant in Osceola, about an hour's drive from Des Moines.

The former Arkansas governor, who has surprised the rest of GOP field with his front-runner status here, was the first candidate to hold an event the day after Christmas. Flanked by about a dozen reporters, he wore a microphone from CNN as he went shooting, with Dude, his 3-year-old bird dog, and Chip Saltzman, his campaign manager, at his side.

In the first 30 minutes, Huckabee, Saltzman and a friend shot three birds. Their last shot flew over the heads of reporters, one of whom cried out: "Oh my God! Oh my God! Don't shoot. This is traumatizing."

Moments later, when Huckabee took a break, a reporter yelled out: "Who are those birds? Romney? Thompson?"

"Well ... these three birds all said they would not vote for me on caucus day. You see what happened?"

The Trail then asked Huckabee: "What does hunting have to do with running for president?"

Huckabee, who said he's been hunting avidly for 12 years, mostly ducks, deer and turkeys, said: "There's a lot of similarities in that it is about the pursuit and you have to be patient and you have to persevere and you have to realize that sometimes you can hunt all day and it doesn't look like you're gonna come out with a thing and then the biggest buck in the whole woods comes out and you take it two minutes before the end of shooting time."

He continued: "In our campaign, a lot of people didn't think we were even in the game, and here we are at the end of the time leading up to caucuses and we proved that if you just stay out there in the woods, keep your gun ready, it might turn out okay."

After most of the cameras and reporters had left, Huckabee headed out again.

From the snowy fields in Iowa, he heads to Miami today for a fundraiser.

By Washington Post editors  |  December 26, 2007; 1:00 PM ET
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Next: With Early Caucuses, Questions Abound


lindld wrote "Leave it to a Christian to kill one of God's creatures and then make jokes about it. Disgusting!"

Thats interesting that you'd bring up Christianity, as if it was against hunting. It's almost like you've read the Bible, and know God's mind.

Let's all go to Sunday School together! In the book of Genesis, what was it that God had Able bring to him as an offering?

Posted by: boston4 | December 28, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Leave it to a Christian to kill one of God's creatures and then make jokes about it. Disgusting!

Posted by: lindld | December 27, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Well Lisa, since you possibly can't figure it out, and are also not aware-No offense meant, some people live their whole lives in New York City, and as such can probably track down a Cabbie better than me! LOL!

You need a lisence to hunt "Game" Animals. Varmints, and even such "Imports" as Axis Deer, are able to be taken whenever, by whoever, just about however.

Then, it is very easy to "Borrow" a Gun!

Again, I can understand how a person with scrupples like Mitt Romney seems to possess, would not get the biggest kick out of killing something, just for the sake of feeling like he accomplished something.

Then, if YOU have never been able to Hunt, know that many People agree, the two coolest Sounds are Quail Taking off, and a Reel screaming when a huge fish(Marlin/Shark/Blue-Fin) hits the bait!

To know of something being fun, is ENOUGH! Even if circumstances have prevented you from getting to do it yet!

One of these days, I am hoping to bag a Cabbie!

Posted by: rat-the | December 26, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse


I was just curious what Romney used to "hunt" those "small varmints" if he didn't own a gun or have a hunting license...his shoe?? bwahahaha, call me a hunter too then -- just ask the spider that was in my bathroom this morning!

Posted by: lisachemat | December 26, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Unless George shot Cheney, or vise-versa. But a pheasant? Please.

This isn't Entertainment Weekly, and it's not Brittany Spears. Now, if she went pheasant shooting in Iowa, that might make the wires!

Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | December 26, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Lisachemat-If all I had to "Hunt" was small varmints, I would also not be much of an enthusiest!

The whole concept of "Red Mist" is disgusting to someone like me! I admit, I have not been stuck in a Plains type Environment, or had either myself or any Livestock get injured in a Prairie Dog Hole, but I come from the Old School-You Eat what you Kill!

However, I can understand some Ranchers views about "Varmints" and Predators! I can even understand a strong argument for the needed ability to develope "Snipers". I do take some consolation in knowing we have many Americans able to pop a Prairie Dog at 500 Yards! I am sure Ahmadinejad loves thinking about that too! Chavez as well! LOL!

In Texas, I cut my teeth on White Winged Doves! All those other easy to shoot Critters is just harvesting food!

In other words, You would NOT want me trying to shoot you!(Game Animals of course!) LOL!

Posted by: rat-the | December 26, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | December 26, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

So, CaptainJohn, if Bush or Cheney went quail-hunting again, and invited reporters along, that would not be "news" either?

Posted by: JakeD | December 26, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

And, as for the 'reporters' that went on that campaign stunt, you should be ashamed of yourself.

That's not reporting, it's sucking up. Get a real job.

Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | December 26, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee hunting pheasants in Iowa? Or was that peasants?

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

Go back to Arkansas, Mike, and take your self-righteousness -and your gun - with you.

Hopefully, Iowans will be able to see through that obviously stage-managed bull-$h#t!, and vote 'otherwise.'


Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | December 26, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Geez...Romney couldn't tell the truth even with a gun to his head.

From the AP:

Huckabee's folksy approach and familiarity with hunting offered a contrast with leading rival Mitt Romney, who said early in the campaign that he was a lifelong hunter, only to have an aide say he had been hunting on only two occasions. Romney later said he had hunted more than twice but only for ``small varmints'' and that he did not own a gun or have a hunting license.

Posted by: lisachemat | December 26, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Gut toting? I'm not even going to vote for the guy, but how is that not a cheap shot by the reporter? Why not just say "fat ass"?

Posted by: nikdirga | December 26, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"P.S., what exactly is "gut-toting"?" you ask?

Take a look at the picture.

Posted by: elbeau | December 26, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

P.S., what exactly is "gut-toting"?

Posted by: JakeD | December 26, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile Barack Hussein Obasama, and John Edwards were busy hunting Peasants!

Rounding up those Socialist Voters!

Bribing the Have-Nots, who in four years of having once again fallen for the empty promises, will still be Have-Nots!

Soon as the are not, they have become Republicans! Can't let THAT Happen!

Posted by: rat-the | December 26, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse


Unlike how, say, John Kerry or Howard Dean pandered to the hunter-vote?

Posted by: JakeD | December 26, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, it's time for the hunter-panderers to make their appearance. How quaint, how 19th century.

I pray that whichever Democratic candidate gets the nomination will not be seen out in phony fatigues.

Posted by: jpgdlc | December 26, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, very slick. Three Birds were taken-but not how many Huck shot himself!

LOL! I prefer real reporting. That is the kind of stuff to make for memories!

Years ago, Texas Governor's Race: Ann Richards and George Bush-Dove Season Opener.

Ann Richards poses with her gun, and shoots into the Air at a Satelite or something in space, because there weas nothing flying below 10,000 feet!

George, not to out-done, Shoots and kills a Killdee-A protected Bird!

LOL-Then there's Lawyer season...

Question-Does Huckleberry Gut and Eat his Kills, or just make little Mummys out of them?

Posted by: rat-the | December 26, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

O.K., I want to know which reporter cried out: "Oh my God! Oh my God! Don't shoot. This is traumatizing."

Posted by: JakeD | December 26, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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