Huckabee Jokes About Shooting Romney: Did MSM Duck?

See Update at foot: "I wasn't teasing: don't get in my way."

If at the end of a hunt and while still in the field a politician disfavored by the MSM had joked about shooting his opponent, do you think it would have made big news? But how much coverage have you seen of just such a statement Mike Huckabee made during his recent Iowa pheasant photo-op hunt?

You've probably seen footage of Huckabee joking about shooting people who won't vote for him. Morning Joe played the clip in its opening segment today. Huckabee points to three dead birds on the ground.

View video here.

MIKE HUCKABEE: These three birds all said they would not vote for me on caucus night. You see what happened to 'em. Now that one that flew away? He left saying "I'm a Huckabee supporter. We saw a Huckabee button on his rear end and so we knew not to take him."

Back in the studio, David Shuster proclaimed the hunt "such brilliant politics," with Mika Brzezinski chiming in to say "it is." Colonel Jack Jacobs had another take: "I think it's the observation that you shoot people who don't vote for you; that's derangement I think."

But things got even stranger. In a segment aired just after 6:30 AM ET, NBC reporter Lee Cowan narrated another clip from the pheasant-hunt.

MIKE COWAN: It was Mike Huckabee who seemed armed for anything. In this case, it was pheasants -- and negative campaigning.
Cut to footage of Huckabee speaking with reporters in the field at the conclusion of his hunt, still dressed in field gear.
MIKE HUCKABEE: It proved that you can shoot, and if someone really messes with you with negative campaign ads, they just need to be prepared.
COWAN: It was a dig at Mitt Romney, who he's edged out in the polls here, but statistically still a toss-up between the two.

Huckabee surely didn't mean it seriously, though he did say it in a dead-pan manner. But where's the humor? In any case, other than the passing mention at MSNBC, have you seen this reported? A quick Googling doesn't turn it up elsewhere.

Would a disfavored candidate been allowed to make this kind of statment with impunity? Is this the MSM covering for someone Chris Matthews yesterday called a liberal media "mascot"?

Update | 12-27 8:55 AM ET

Yet another odd statment from Huck, and more of the MSM laughing it off. The CBS Early Show this morning played a clip of Huckabee out in the field. A reporter can be heard asking "Governor, you like to speak in metaphors. What's the metaphor here?" Huckabee responds "don't get in my way." CBS had introduced the clip by calling it an example of Huckabee's "folksy wit."

A bit later, Early Show host Russ Mitchell interviewed Huckabee. Referring to the clip, Mitchell said "of course you were teasing," and was about to move to another matter, when Huckabee interrupted him: "No Russ, I wasn't teasing. I was serious: don't get in my way."

View video here.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.