(CNN) â€“ During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee â€” who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain â€” joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman.
â€œThat was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he’s getting ready to speak,â€ said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. â€œSomebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.â€
Also, here’s the video.
Now I’m sure Mike really didn’t mean anything by it, but this is the kind of joke he’ll want to stay far, far away from.
As expected, Huck makes a statement clearing the air…
“During my speech at the NRA a loud noise backstage, that sounded like a chair falling, distracted the crowd and interrupted my speech. I made an offhand remark that was in no way intended to offend or disparage Sen. Obama. I apologize that my comments were offensive, that was never my intention.”
Again, I’m sure Huck didn’t mean anything by it, but it’s still one heck of a gaffe given the tragic historical context of shootings and African-American leaders. Even the audience’s muted response suggested they understood this. Obviously, it’s good to see him clarify this almost immediately.
Also, let me say for the record that I think Huckabee is one of the more even-handed voices in this primary season and a seemingly well-intentioned guy. And while we disagree on many issues, I completely trust that he’ll be a welcome addition to the conversation about changing the tone of Washington in the years to come.