Republican Mike Huckabee responded to a sharp offstage sound during his speech to the National Rifle Assn. by suggesting that it was Barack Obama diving to the floor because someone had aimed a gun at him.
Hearing a loud noise, Huckabee interrupted his speech to say: "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 -- he dove for the floor."
There were a few murmurs in the crowd.
The Obama campaign had no comment.
Later Friday, Huckabee issued an apology: "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."
Huckabee, who sought the GOP presidential nomination, won the Iowa caucuses and seven other states. But he dropped out after Sen. John McCain, now the presumptive nominee, piled up victories.