Plutarch’s Weblog

December 11, 2007

Mike Huckabee’s weight loss scam

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — plutarch01 @ 4:01 am

(This is a long article, you can read the summary here)

“If a man’s dishonest to obtain a job, he’ll be dishonest on the job.”

Mike Huckabee

With Mike Huckabee’s sudden prominence in the 2008 GOP Presidential race has come greater scrutiny, of both the man and his record. Prominent in both his famous weight loss saga, and as such it too merits scrutiny.

In June 2003, Mike Huckabee was an obscure and obese (290 lb.) Arkansas Governor. By June 2004, Huckabee lost 110 lbs., which he attributed to diet and exercise. This feat naturally attracted media attention as a human-interest story, to which Huckabee added a public policy angle by also touting his anti-obesity public health initiative called Healthy Arkansas. This program included public service spots featuring a newly trim Governor Huckabee assuring Arkansans that if he could lose weight, so could they.

“That was me just over a year and a 105 pounds ago. Now if I can lose weight, anyone can.”

Huckabee was featured in a spate of articles and media appearances that gave him enough national awareness to launch his long-shot Presidential candidacy. According to the Washington Post ,

Huckabee’s signature issue is fitness and weight control, and his evangelism on these matters never strays far from his own example.

Huckabee wrote a book about using diet and exercise for weight loss, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork, featuring the obligatory before and after photographs on the cover and providing a rationale for a book tour and more media appearances.

The weight loss story remains part of the campaign’s narrative. Newt Gingrich, explaining Huckabee’s rise cites his “experience in health-care where…he lost 100 pounds and began exercising is personally a great story.” Huckabee’s campaign continues to tout that his
“efforts to improve his own health have received national attention. . . . [H]e lost 110 pounds,” and that he uses “his own life story to wage a war against the obesity epidemic in America.”

Huckabee attributes his extraordinary weight loss achievement to his rigorous adherence to principles of diet and exercise, the evidence for which consists entirely of Huckabee saying it is so, and media accounts that echo Huckabee’s claim.

When we hear, however, of the growing popularity of gastric bypass surgery, the thought occurs, what if that is how Huckabee lost his weight? Could he have had such surgery secretly? Would he then attribute the subsequent inevitable weight loss to his determination and discipline? Use his weight loss as a model for Government anti-obesity efforts? Author a fraudulent “How I did it” diet book? The media hasn’t as much as hinted at this possibility. Surely, such a scam wouldn’t be possible…would it?

At present, the media appear more interested in promoting rather than investigating Huckabee’s candidacy. This disinterest would obviously change dramatically should Huckabee secure the GOP nomination. The belated media scrutiny to which Huckabee would then be subjected might be well able to force Huckabee to admit mischaracterizing the source of his weight loss. The political impact of such a disclosure would be undeniably negative and possibly even disastrous to the GOP ticket (this is discussed further below).

Anything Huckabee has to reveal about his weight loss needs to happen prior to the primaries. The media isn’t going to do any investigating now, and so we must do the investigating for ourselves.

The medical case for bariatric surgery

What is somewhat unusual about the evidence for Huckabee having had gastric bypass surgery is that it is almost entirely medical. There is very little evidence of that type of by which political secrets are usually uncovered, e.g. witnesses, money trail, documents, etc. The lack of such usual evidence, however, might not preclude the possibility of bariatric surgery as much as it indicates that medical privacy has been well maintained.

A medical case can be as convincing as any other, as medical reasoning is not without rigor, and has recourse to medical literature. It happens that unexplained weight loss is a classic medical diagnostic problem, for which there are a myriad of potential diagnoses. We can apply diagnostic methodology to explain Huckabee’s >100 lb weight loss, which is relatively simple as we need consider only two explanations: Nonsurgical diet/exercise or gastric bypass surgery (the most popular form of bariatric surgery).

The first principle of diagnosis is the Law of Parsimony, a medical application of Occam’s Razor. The principle is to avoid making two diagnoses if one diagnosis adequately explains the symptom presentation. In applying the Law of Parsimony specifically to Huckabee’s weight loss question we gather what clinical findings we can, and ask whether bariatric surgery or diet/exercise best explains all these findings without needing to invoke further diagnoses or explanations.

To find these symptoms and findings we turn to the internet, where a surprising amount of material is publicly available owing mainly to Huckabee’s relentless obesity PR campaign.

Huckabee’s medical history

All diagnosis starts with the medical history the patient provides. Huckabee denies surgery and gives a history of diet/exercise, but is a vague historian. His weight loss performance is world class; he lost 75 lbs, 0.4 lbs. per day, for 6 months. Huckabee attributes his amazing success, after multiple diet failures, to his enrollment in the University of Arkansas Medical Center (UAMS) Weight Control Program, directed by endocrinologist Dr. Philip Kern. The UAMS program involves an initial liquid diet, followed by gradual reintroduction of a normal but caloric restricted diet. Huckabee states he was enrolled in the program, but provides no details of his experience. You’d expect his “How I did it” diet book to divulge a helpful diet technique or two—e.g. estimation of calories consumed and expended. But no, the book is a compilation of homilies bereft of detail, almost as if it was someone else that was enduring a daily deficit of 1400 calories.

Perhaps the UAMS program could fill in the detail? No, the UAMS program is even less specific than Huckabee. The Weight Control Program website has a few expired links to Huckabee media features, but no account from UAMS. Dr. Kern says little, aside from participating in some of Huckabee’s media events, praising Huckabee as a model patient and noting that his results were highly atypical for the program.

Huckabee has certainly been appreciative of Dr. Kern’s efforts. In 2007, Governor Huckabee allocated $1 million in Arkansas general funds to endow the Dr. Philip Kern Chair at UAMS.

Denial of having bariatric surgery

Huckabee has generally avoided the subject of bariatric surgery, including not mentioning it in his weight loss book. Neither have the media had the temerity to ask Huckabee about surgery, so intent have they been to credulously report the inspiring diet/exercise story. Nonetheless, Huckabee has specifically denied non-diet/exercise weight loss on at least three occasions.

CNN’s Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, M.D., specifically asked Huckabee how he lost his weight:

GUPTA: Listen, you know, a lot of people watching. And obviously, it’s a dramatic amount of weight that you lost. How did you do it?

HUCKABEE: The old fashioned way. First of all, I had to learn that it was a change of lifestyle. And my goal wasn’t to lose weight. And that’s why this time I was successful, as opposed to previous times in my life. And I would lose weight, but then gain it back and add some to it … When I did those things, the weight took care of itself. And I became a normal person in terms of my body weight.

Bariatric surgery has become more established in recent years, but it as yet can in no way be construed as the old fashioned way, and so this must count as a bariatric denial.

Huckabee volunteered that he did not have bariatric surgery, while speaking at the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum:

HUCKABEE: We do the same thing for bariatric surgery, which I know there are very few states that will actually provide. For us, it was a three-stage level.

MATTHEWS: What is bariatric?

GOV. HUCKABEE: That’s to assist with weight loss for people who are morbidly obese. … I was able to go through a program that was largely behavior modification through our med school. You know, I changed my lifestyle but I’ve had friends for whom that didn’t quite work and they went the route of the surgery. The surgery is still incredibly better than allowing people to go for the rest of their lives which, by the way, will be dramatically shortened and more expensive, without some type of intervention and that’s why the more that we can do to curb it, the better.

In a 2006 Newsweek “Live Talk” Internet chat, Huckabee was asked by a participant:

Moorhead, MN: Mr. Governor, I have lost 180 pounds myself. I did consider surgery but did not go that route. Did you also consider surgery before undertaking the task at hand?

Mike Huckabee: I never considered it even though some close friends of mine have done it and most successfully. It was a matter of fear for me—I don’t like doctors slicing on me unless it’s the only option! (Just a personal thing!)

So Huckabee is on record as specifically denying having gastric bypass surgery, unless he wishes to invoke Clintonian dodges (“I never considered it, you see, I just went and did it”).

Most interesting was the ambiguous statement elicited by the website Calorie Lab when it asked Huckabee’s spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, by email whether Huckabee had had bariatric surgery. She responded:

Even if Governor Huckabee had lost weight by having bariatric surgery, there would be no shame in that,” says Alice Stewart, press secretary for the Mike Huckabee Exploratory Committee. “[But the] fact is that the governor’s weight loss program was very well documented by the media. Steve Barnes of Time Magazine interviewed the governor as well as his doctors.”

This curious response reads more like an admission of bariatric surgery than a denial.

Relative incidence of diet/exercise vs. bariatric weight loss

All medical diagnosis starts first with the recognition that common things happen commonly. In considering different diagnoses, it is best to favor that which more commonly occurs. So, the first thing to consider is the incidence of >100 lb. weight loss for exercise/diet and bariatric surgery respectively.

Greater than >100 lb. weight loss with diet/exercise is rare, and even rarer is keeping it off. The reason that Huckabee’s story garnered so much media attention was that it was “man bites dog.” Partly as it is so rare, there are no incidence numbers, but a reasonable estimate of the number of people in the U.S. each year who through diet/exercise lose >100 lbs. is fewer than 1000.

On the other hand, the number of people in the U.S. in 2003 who had gastric bypass surgery was estimated at 102,000. So, if all we know is that someone rapidly lost 110 lbs., the chances that it was through gastric bypass surgery are about 100 to 1. So, before we even start considering the particulars of Huckabee’s story, in comparison to relatively commonplace bariatric weight loss, the diet/exercise diagnosis an many times less common, and thus less likely.

Weight loss pattern highly consistent with bariatric surgery

Just as it is said that once is a fluke; twice is a coincidence; three times is a pattern, so too does it seem unlikely that that diet/exercise should be able to match the characteristic weight loss pattern of bariatric surgery in terms of rapidity, amount, and maintenance.

The graphs below are from a large Swedish study in demonstrating the weight loss in 4047 obese subjects evenly divided between surgical and nonsurgical subjects. The nonsurgical group, on average, had almost no weight loss. The surgical group had weight loss that was rapid, large, and lasting.

The first graph demonstrates the pattern, upon which Huckabee’s weight loss has been superimposed in the the second graph. Starting at 290 lbs., Huckabee 75 lbs. in 6 months and 110 in one year. Since then he has regained 12 lbs. The weight loss pattern of gastric bypass surgery is so highly characteristic and differs so markedly from the diet/exercise as to almost represent a signature. Huckabee’s rate, amount and persistence of weight loss follows exactly gastric bypass surgery’s unique pattern.

Rapidity of weight loss

The New York Times reporters expressed astonishment at the rapidity of Huckabee’s weight loss, stating he had been “shedding weight so rapidly that it was as if he simply unzipped a fat suit and stepped out.

The NYT’s amazement is because such rapid loss is so atypical for a diet and exercise regimen, in which a favorable 6 month weight loss is 5-10% of body weight, a far cry from Huckabee’s 26%. Huckabee’s 75 lb. in 6 months was at a clip of 0.4 lbs/day, a 1400 calorie daily deficit.

A study of an appetite suppressant that enrolled 605 obese subjects in a 2 year weight loss program demonstrates rapidity typical for nonsurgical weight loss. The study scattergram above displays the weight loss achieved at 6 months among the 605 patients of various starting weights in the study. From his starting weight of 290 lbs (134 kg), Huckabee lost 75 lbs (34 kg) in 6 months. Huckabee’s rapid weight loss experience is distant from all of the study’s 605 subjects.

Amount of weight loss

In the appetite suppressant study, which is typical for diet/exercise studies, the average weight loss at two years was only 9.5 lbs., the maximum weight loss of any participant in both the placebo and the drug group was 58 lbs. and 101 lbs. respectively. In the amount of weight loss, Huckabee’s 110 lbs. likewise easily surpassed all 605 participants.

Maintenance of weight loss

Huckabee has largely maintained his now normal weight for nearly 4 years. This is characteristic for gastric bypass, but not so for diet/exercise regimens. The vast majority of those who lose weight through diet/exercise regain weight. For example, in a University of Kentucky study, in which subjects lost more than 100 lbs., 49% of that was regained after 5 years.

Weight regain typical for diet/exercise is demonstrated in the graph here. Study participants on average regained 29 lbs. of their initial 48 lb. weight loss.

In maintenance as well, Huckabee’s experience differs markedly from diet/exercise regimens.

In rapidity, amount, and maintenance of weight loss, Huckabee’s weight loss demonstrates the exact pattern of gastric bypass surgery, which for each parameter differs markedly from diet/exercise.

Physical appearance after bariatric surgery

Some medical conditions affect the appearance of a patient in a characteristic way; recognition of the appearance facilitates rapid diagnosis. Such appearances often have descriptive names, such as the famous Pink Puffer and Blue Bloater of emphysema and chronic bronchitis respectively. The distinctive bariatric appearance does not yet have an alliterative appellation (Sallow Sagger?), but is nonetheless distinctive and recognizable.

The bariatrics’ distinctive appearance

The bariatric look includes muscular atrophy, lumpy distribution of fat, sallow redundant skin, and thin sparse hair. It results from the extremely rapid loss of fat and muscle due to the caloric deficit enforced by the miniscule gastric pouch, as well as the malabsorbtion of protein, vitamins, minerals and nutrients caused by the operation’s bypass (hence the name) of about 6 feet of small intestine. This malnutrition manifests in unfavorable and recognizable skin and hair changes.

The singular and recognizable appearance is evident in photographs of bariatrics (including Huckabee), but best appreciated in person. Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi was struck by Huckabee’s appearance and somewhat uncharitably described his reaction:

Huckabee, who in recent years has lost 100 pounds, has the roundish, half-deflated physique of an ex-fatty. With his button nose and never-waning smile, he looks slightly unreal, like an oversize Muppet. I was so taken aback by his appearance that I checked his hands to make sure they had the right number of fingers.

People who lose a large amount of weight through diet and exercise lose weight more slowly and without nutritional deficiencies and, thus, don’t have this appearance. To some extent, diet/exercise weight loss looks like the person has done something, bariatric looks like something has happened to them.

These two photographs demonstrate the changes between 2002 and 2005 (thankfully, that is snow, not dandruff in 2005). Note the hair thinning, and change in skin color, from ruddy to sallow. Muscle wasting is indicated by the concave region between the eyes and ear where the temporal muscle has atrophied. If you hadn’t seen Huckabee since 2002, in 2005 you would not exclaim to him “Hey…you look great!”, but rather inquire “So…are you doing okay?”

These photographs demonstrate the rapid skin and hair changes Huckabee underwent. In April 2003, Huckabee has relatively thick hair and a ruddy complexion. In August 2003, two months into his weight loss, his skin is paler, and his hair is thinning. In 2006, his skin appears sallow and waxy, and his hair sparse. A video shot in 2007 reveals the extent of hair loss on top and a general thinning.

In this photograph from the 2005 Little Rock Marathon, Huckabee demonstrates the characteristic bariatric washed out appearance, with pasty skin, sparse hair, atrophic musculature, and irregular fat retention. The appearance differs markedly from the look of vitality expected from weight loss resulting from healthy diet and vigorous exercise. Posing next to a hale 62 year old, it is the 49 year old Huckabee that appears spent.
Those who lose weight through diet and exercise may have redundant skin, but not the changes in muscles, skin and hair. Again, Huckabee demonstrates the characteristic bariatric changes that are not expected with diet/exercise, and thus requires another diagnosis or explanation.

Diet habits consistent with bariatric surgery

Bariatrics have a specific diet necessitated by the miniscule gastric “pouch” that starts out the size of a golf ball and eventually expands to hold only one cup. Specific bariatric dietary requirements also include increased protein and decreased fats to compensate for malabsorbtion. They also have specific “eating goals” (e.g., taking 30-45 minutes to eat each meal, eating slowly, taking small bites).

Details on Huckabee’s diet are found in the numerous human-interest stories his weight loss spawned. He does not eat at banquets and receptions. At events, he will have special food supplied for him from a cooler kept in his car or does not finish his meals. He eats six small meals per day. Avoidance of restaurant-type banquet meals is telling because such meals create difficulties for bariatric surgery patients. These diet peculiarities bear little resemblance to maintence of weight loss, but tally quite well with characteristic bariatric limitations.

Huckabee’s endorsement of bariatric surgery

Huckabee is certainly knowledgeable about bariatric surgery, coverage for which Huckabee provided Arkansas State employees. As he told interviewer Margeret Warner:

We did weight loss programs. We covered those. Because we found that, even at the point of bariatric surgery, which is pretty expensive, most people can’t afford it—it scared me to death—but, you know, a lot of people, they’re morbidly obese. They need it. There’s a 60 percent to 80 percent financial return in terms of fewer health care costs after the surgery than there were with a person who has a situation of being morbidly obese.

That Huckabee championed bariatric surgery as Governor offers political cover should his own surgery ever be revealed.

(The Governor is incorrect on the costs as well. Post-bariatric patients are more costly because, with their many complications, their hospitalization rate doubles for 3-5 years after the surgery).

Opportunity for surreptitious gastric bypass surgery

If Huckabee were to have had gastric bypass surgery, he would have required opportunity to disappear from public view during a brief hospitalization and recovery. One such opportunity is evident in public notices in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Huckabee dates the onset of his weight loss to June 2003. In 2003, Huckabee attended the Council of State Governments’ spring meeting, held May 15-18, in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported on May 21 that Governor Huckabee was extending the trip to include a personal vacation with an indeterminate return date, adding portentously:

“The governor chooses for his office not to disclose all of his travel plans”

This absence must have been unusual, because in his 10 years as Governor, this is the only article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette archive that refers directly to Huckabee’s vacation plans.

Huckabee, thus, had the opportunity to leave the Virgin Islands on Sunday, May 18, for any destination (including Arkansas), where he could have had bariatric surgery on Monday, May 19, followed by several days of hospitalization and recuperation. However, former Arkansas Governor Frank White died unexpectedly Wednesday, May 21, which necessitated Huckabee’s public return on Thursday. Huckabee attended White’s lying in State in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday and spoke at the funeral on Saturday, May 24. The Arkansas-Democrat Gazette reports no Huckabee appearances the subsequent week until addressing high school students Saturday May 31st, except for Memorial Day services Monday, May 26,. On June 1, Huckabee attended a conference in Mississippi.

With laparscopic bariatric surgery on Monday May 19, Huckabee is likely to have been discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, the average hospital length of stay for such surgery being 2.5 days. Gov. White’s death necessitated public appearances on Friday and Saturday. Laparoscopic surgery patients ambulate the day of the procedure and recover rapidly, so by Friday, Huckabee would have been able to appear in public without noticeable difficulty.

Subsequent hernia operation

In March 2005, Huckabee had surgery to repair a Spigelian hernia of the abdominal wall. Spigelian hernias occur naturally, are not associated with bariatric surgery, and are located in the mid abdominal region. Spigelian hernias are quite rare. How rare? At the Mayo Clinic, only 3.8 Spigelian hernia operations are performed per year; only 479 Spigelian hernias have been reported in the world medical literature; out of a thousand abdominal hernias, only one to two are Spigelian hernias. Spigelian hernias are located in the abdomen near the belly button, close to where incisions are made for either open or laparoscopic bariatric surgery.

In contrast to the rarity of Spigelian hernias, post bariatric complications requiring surgery are very common, especially incisional (or ventral) hernia repair. Overall, 15% of bariatric patients will require surgery for a incisional hernia in the first three years, an additional 5% will need a laparotomy, and 5% will undergo a wound revision.

A Huckabee disclosure of an incisional hernia operation would be tantamount to admittance of previous bariatric surgery. On the press release, therefore, his surgeon needed to provide a naturally occurring hernia diagnosis that has a surgical repair resembling that of an incisional hernia. Among naturally occurring abdominal hernias, a Spigelian hernia is the type of hernia that most closely resembles an incisional hernia, as it is in the lower abdomen instead of the groin.

Due to their rarity, there is no estimate of the annual incidence of Spigelian hernias, but if we generously attribute Spigelian hernias to be 2% as common as the 1 in 500 person incidence of inguinal hernias, the annual chance of having a Spigelian hernia is one in 25,000. This chance is infinitesimal in comparison to the approximately 10% incidence of bariatric complication requiring surgery in the first two years. All else being equal, a repair of a post bariatric incisional hernia is thus 2,500 times more likely than a nonbariatric Spigelian hernia.

The particulars of Huckabee’s operation provide further bariatric surgery connections. The Baptist Health Hospital at which the Spigelian hernia repair was performed is Arkansas’ only Bariatric Center of Excellence, and was performed by a surgeon whose partner is a leading Arkansas bariatric surgeon.

Participation in a marathon

Huckabee makes much of the fact that he has completed several marathons, as if these feats are impressive enough by themselves to substantiate the exercise basis for his weight loss. It is possible to lose weight through exercise such as running, but examples of marathon runners who have sustained >100 lb. diet/exercise weight loss are scarce. It is much more common for bariatrics to find that the massive bariatric weight loss allows them for the first time to exercise. This corresponds with Huckabee’s story, related in his book and elsewhere, in which he describes beginning to exercise only after he had already achieved significant weight loss. Bariatrics that run, and even run marathons, are not particularly difficult to find.

That the amount of exercise should increase after bariatric surgery is borne out by the Swedish bariatric study, in which the proportion of in the bariatric group exercising increases from 55 to 90% after surgery, significantly surpassing the nonsurgical control group which remained unchanged (see graph).

Again, we find Huckabee demonstrating a finding entirely characteristic of bariatric surgery (increased exercise) that is atypical for nonsurgical weight loss.

In Huckabee’s marathon running photographs there is a possible clue as to his bariatric status.

A marathon runner expends approximately 2800 calories, and so to avoid hitting the hypoglycemic “wall”, marathoners commonly enhance bodily glycogen stores by consuming large amounts of carbohydrates (e.g. pasta) pre-race. Such ingestion might be difficult for a bariatric with his miniscule gastric “pouch,” and other malabsorption issues.

Since bariatrics cannot so readily “glycogen pre-load”, we might expect, therefore, that bariatric marathoners to run carrying readily available extra energy supplementation on their person, so as to enable frequently imbibe during the race to ward off and, if necessary, to treat hypoglycemia. When runners need carry extra items, they often use a special belt, such as the Fuel Belt.

On an organized marathon, in which energy bars and drinks are available at regular intervals, most runners have no need for the encumbrance of a Fuel Belt. One finds only
one marathoner, Huckabee, wearing such a belt in the photographs from the the 2005 and 2006 Little Rock Marathon (you may note a belt on #1368, he is an Board Member with the American Running Association, who is running with Huckabee). One can find, however, other bariatric marathoners here, and here also sporting a “Fuel Belt”.

Such Fuel Belts are not rare among regular marathon runners, and his wearing a belt doesn’t prove he is a bariatric. Such belts are, however, demonstrably more common among bariatric runners than among nonbariatric (and it is really difficult to find a belt so heavily laden as his). If 5% of nonbariatric runners and 40% of bariatic runners wear such belts it is one more statistical piece to add to the bariatric side of the balance, and it is one more coincidence added on to the diet/exercise ledger.

Medical privacy and keeping the surgery a secret

Huckabee would have the expectation that his operation and several days of hospitalization would be kept private. Within medicine, medical privacy is held to be a fundamental ethical obligation. Medical privacy since early 2003 has gained Federal protection, with HIPAA medical privacy regulations. These standards apply with equal force to both medical office practices and hospitals. Medical privacy is part of every hospitals accreditation, and like every hospital, the Baptist Health Hospital mentioned above has quite specific medical privacy regulations.

Still, some may doubt that Huckabee could have had surgery without the news getting “out.” If unsourced rumors are the criterion, it is “out.” There is no particular shortage of usually anonymous internet posts and blogs that purport in Arkansas it is “generally known,” Huckabee had gastric bypass surgery, or that it is known at which hospital or by which surgeon it was performed. Examples of these posts may be seen here, here, here, and here.

If Huckabee himself kept his surgery secret, a substantiated disclosure rising above the level of rumor would require a health care professional to identify him or herself while violating both medical ethics and Federal laws. It is thus not surprising that there are no identified witnesses. Should Huckabee should become the GOP nominee, however, the entire MSM and Democrat apparatus will available to reward and protect anyone who “steps forward”.

Fugitive from the Law of Parsimony

We’ve considered a host of clinical factors so as to determine whether each is best explained by bariatric surgery or diet/exercise. The findings are as follows:

  • Huckabee’s vague history of diet/exercise doesn’t adequately explain his astonishing result.
  • His spokeswoman gives an ambiguous denial.
  • Massive and persistent weight loss with bariatric surgery is orders of magnitude more common than with diet/exercise.
  • Huckabee’s weight loss record fits the pattern of gastric bypass surgery exactly for rapidity, amount and maintenance, and not at all like that of diet/exercise.
  • Huckabee demonstrates changes in physical appearance that appear bariatric both in general and the specific (hair loss and skin changes).
  • His particular diet habits are tellingly bariatric.
  • Just prior to his rapid weight loss he took an unusual vacation with a furtive itinerary and end date.
  • In 2005 he needed an abdominal hernia repair, an expected complication of bariatric surgery, and this was explained to be a Spigelian hernia, a vanishingly rare hernia type that is best explained as an apparent cover story.
  • His marathon prowess is not so likely to be an example of exercise inducing weight loss, as it is the expected result of (bariatric) weight loss permitting exercise.
  • While running marathons Huckabee is shown carrying that energy supplementation, that is both expected of, and associated with, bariatric marathoners.
  • The lack of any identified witnesses to the bariatric surgery/hospitalization is adequately explained by medical privacy ethical standards as well as the rigor of Federal law.

In applying the above mentioned Law of Parsimony, it is evident that the one explanation of bariatric surgery readily satisfies every clinical finding. Diet/exercise alone is not sufficient to explain the findings; it must either string together a series of unlikely to rare findings (rapid, massive weight loss), and/or introduce new conditions and diagnoses (e.g. rare hernias, hair loss)
Ramifications of a Huckabee disclosure

If Huckabee the nominee is eventually forced to admit that he mischaracterized his weight loss saga, the magnitude of the negative political impact is unknown. Perhaps it wouldn’t much matter, voters would accept and forget. However, it doesn’t require an excess of imagination to think of what advantage it would provide the Democrats.

Regardless of what type of attack the they may wish to launch, be it against Huckabee’s veracity, integrity, credibility, qualifications, issues, health status, suitability for office, or even person, it would be facilitated by Huckabee’s acknowledgment of deception. A thousand articles would begin “Huckabee, who admitted deceit regarding his gastric bypass surgery…” and would follow with further accusations that the campaign would have to defend from back on its heels.

It is easy to see the lines of attack that flow directly from an admission of gastric bypass surgery, and that a Huckabee GOP Nominee could scarcely defend:

  • Huckabee the former preacher even now has a perception of being an Elmer Gantry. Being the perpetrator of a diet scam will complete the template, which will be used endlessly.
  • Democrat attack ad: “Huckabee’s Arkansas health plan was to secretly have gastric bypass surgery, and then blame Arkansans still obese for high health care costs.”
  • The Democrats and media will find victims. Obese Arkansans will be interviewed, who felt humiliated for remaining fat after the Governor falsely claimed that his weight loss proved “anyone can”.
  • Huckabee will have been shown to falsify his Presidential resume with his spurious weight loss achievement. People who falsify resumes are fired, not elevated to the Nation’s highest office.
  • Huckabee will have falsified his medical history to voters. Thompson admitted he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Giuliani prostate cancer and McCain melanoma. Bariatric surgery is of similar medical impact, and Huckabee has no excuse to hide his status from voters.

Trust but Verify

Huckabee is as eager as the other candidates to inherit the mantle of Ronald Reagan, whose famed adage was “Trust but verify.” Huckabee can embody Reagan’s axiom by making public medical information sufficient to disprove weight loss surgery, prior to the Republican primaries.

If Huckabee can substantiate his claim that he lost his weight the old fashioned way, then verification could only add to his stature, as losing 100 lbs and keeping it off through diet and exercise is such an impressive achievement that, if anything, Huckabee has been too modest.

If, on the other hand, Huckabee were to admit to having had weight loss surgery, the magnitude of the negative political impact is uncertain. Some might think it wouldn’t much matter, if that is the case there is no reason not to disclose it. If, on the other hand it were to matter a great deal, then greater is Huckabee’s duty to the Republican cause to disclose it now, so that the GOP nominee can be chosen fully appraised of each candidate’s political risks.

Methods of verification

There are several means by which Huckabee could verify his non-bariatric status. The gold standard would be to have a simple upper GI barium swallow X-Ray, which could be accomplished in less than 20 minutes at any outpatient radiology office.

If Huckabee has not had bariatric surgery, the result will provide absolute confirmation, which will only add to Huckabee’s credibility.

Huckabee probably had a barium swallow CT scan performed in 2005 to diagnose the hernia. That CT scan (report and films) would also show whether the upper GI tract is unmolested.

The hospital records from the Spigelian hernia operation would contain information, such as the operative report, and possibly laparscopic photographs, that should be able to settle the matter, although the X-rays would be more definitive.

In any case, the means exist by which the Huckabee campaign could, at any time and in less than an hour, eliminate all doubt for all time about Huckabee’s weight loss story.



  1. […] on the record denying it and profited from a diet book. Why the hedge? Anyway, as they say, read it all. It’ll take some […]

    Pingback by FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Mike Huckabee Watch: Words Come Back to Haunt Huckabee — December 11, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

  2. Interesting research

    Comment by Klaus788 — December 11, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

  3. […] it does seem petty, but don’t let the title throw you off: There is a LOT more to the story than meets the eye. If suspicion arises that Huck is lying about how he lost the weight, in this day and age, it would […]

    Pingback by Huckabee weight loss a lie? | novatownhall blog — December 11, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  4. interesting theory, your best bet is some arkansas journalist picking it up and doing the field work – which won’t be easy

    Comment by dafsgaasadf — December 12, 2007 @ 1:03 am

  5. Huh. Whaddya know?

    Comment by S. Weasel — December 12, 2007 @ 2:23 am

  6. Well done on both research and presentation. I didn’t know that Huckabee had claimed his weight loss was natural – I had always merely assumed he’d had surgery. It seemed so obvious that I never really thought about it.

    Unfortunately, Huckabee is a fraud in so many other ways, that none of this surprises me. So, he’s a liar. We already knew that. Sanctimonious fakery is consistent with his track record. Your research is one more example among many.

    Comment by Redhead Infidel — December 12, 2007 @ 6:21 am

  7. I’m sure the NYT has this story (with much more than circumstancial evidence) ready to roll for Oct 2008 should the Huckster be nominated.

    Comment by The_Freeze — December 12, 2007 @ 7:48 am

  8. Get a life!

    Comment by shannon — December 12, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  9. I lost over 100 pounds through dieting, lost 50 in two weeks in fact, went from over 250 pound & under five feet tall to the 150 pounds I am today & have been for over 25 years. The key is to learn how to eat everything in moderation, and to never revert to undisciplined eating.

    Comment by Formerly Fat Flahooley — December 12, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  10. […] Plutarch has a pretty devastating rundown of the many pieces of evidence that Mike Huckabee had gastric […]

    Pingback by Blog of the Moderate Left » Blog Archive » Did Mike Huckabee Have Bariatric Surgery? — December 12, 2007 @ 10:26 am

  11. Congratulations. This is an article of major significance.

    What Mr. Huckabee is has been obvious for a long time to those with the propensity to find out. What has been difficult is demonstrating that thing he is to those for whom he represents the great hope: a candidate who is both a social crusader and viable, by MSM standards, for the nomination.

    This evidence trail, along with that left by Wayne DuMond and his victims, lead us to the same inevitable conclusion about the former Advertising Executive: he is practiced in the art of appearing to be something that he is not.

    Comment by Doug Parris — December 12, 2007 @ 10:46 am

  12. I’m down over 40lbs. from my peak weight of 2-3 years ago, having set 100lbs. weight loss as a goal when I embarked on a campaign of diet and exercise. I played competitive soccer in high school, and I live a fairly low-stress lifestyle nowadays. I even have the inspiration of true love to motivate this crusade against my own paunch. Yet my peak weight loss was never over 60lbs., and in spite of continued exercise and dietary moderation I find weight presently sliding in the wrong direction.

    Anecdotes are no substitute for quantitative analysis, but on an anecdotal level I can confirm that 100lbs. weight loss in a single year through diet and exercise is an achievement so extraordinary that it does raise a plausibility issue. I hope we still have enough actual journalists in the media to get at the facts here, because it seems foolish not to be suspicious of such a bold claim, especially in light of evidence like that presented in this post.

    Comment by Demonweed — December 12, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  13. Brilliant work. I’m guessing it won’t be too long before some GOP flagbearers invite Huckabee out for a nice big lunch.

    Comment by Danny Pye — December 12, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  14. Great article! Very important points about Huckabee’s integrity, if true. However, I must differ with you on what I perceive as a slight towards bariatric surgery. You seem to reinforce the belief that this is somehow an “easy way out” not on par with “the old fashioned way”. Having been very close to two bariatric patients, I can tell you the procedure and its aftermath are far from easy.

    The effort and lifestyle change inherent post-op is a big adjustment for anyone. Huckabee’s credibility might be shattered by disclosure, if true, that he misled the public about his particular journey. However, Bariatric surgery is a life-saving measure for many people dealing with weight issues. I wish you’d be made it clearer that there is no disgrace using available medical techniques to address medical issues.

    As for the issue at hand, part of me believes Huckabee is ciphening support that might otherwise have gone to Ron Paul. I’d like to see that support gravitate towards Paul because I believe he is the only candidate on the GOP side who offers the hope for real change.

    Again, fantastic article and you did an amazing amount of research.


    Comment by Ray Davis — December 12, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  15. objective research: 10/10

    delivery: 10/10

    interesting shit: 10/10

    great work – i didnt get to read all of it but ill be reading this later, good job at digging deep

    Comment by jessejamez — December 12, 2007 @ 6:00 pm

  16. Romney’s only chance is to have his surrogates make Huckabee lose credibility. What would you do if he denies he is gay? Howabout a 20 page document that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he in fact could be, that would work.

    Just so you know, my New Year’s resolution this year was to switch to diet soda and not eat very many french fries at fast food restaurants. I had no change in excercise patterns or other diet and I so far have lost 18% of my January 1 weight – I attribute that specifically to diet soda – I’ve reduced my calorie intake about 4000 calories a week just on that alone.

    Comment by other Doug — December 12, 2007 @ 8:36 pm

  17. Whatever he did or doing might be fake or whatever, but motivating people is great.

    Weight loss helps to avoid cholesterol and fat oriented health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

    Comment by Dan — December 12, 2007 @ 11:05 pm

  18. “Whatever he (Huck) did or doing [sic] might be fake or whatever, but motivating people is great.” -Dan.

    GREAT REASONING, DAN! You are a natural born liberal!

    If Huck LIES by telling people he lost weight via WILL POWER and DIET, rather than (possibly, even likely) by having his tubes surgically cutoff/tied, that’s OK to you, because it “motivates” people to use WILL POWER and DIET rather than secret surgical procedures to lose weight!


    NEVERMIND that what Huck is “motivating” is to do what Huck did NOT! He urges weight loss, but hides that his is a result of surgery, not will power and keeping to a diet/exercise/calorie regimen..

    Thanks, Dan — you’ver revealed yourself to be an complaisant LIBERAL AIRHEAD!!

    Thanks, Huck: you’ve shown yourself to be just another Clintonian buffoon.

    Comment by Anna Keppa — December 12, 2007 @ 11:41 pm

  19. This is a bunch of casting suspicion and logical fallacies that just say, “Maybe he did. He could have. Therefore, he did.” Absolutely awful!

    Comment by cadawg — December 13, 2007 @ 2:07 am

  20. Remember when Cher was doing health club ads?

    “If it came in a bottle everyone would have it”

    And then it turns out she had lipo (in addition to alot of other plastic surgery that would eventually turn her into the always awake/surprised alien we know today)

    Comment by feckless — December 18, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  21. Great post. The research itself is impressive and convincing, but the clincher is the quote from Huckabee’s spokeswoman:

    ““Even if Governor Huckabee had lost weight by having bariatric surgery, there would be no shame in that,” says Alice Stewart, press secretary for the Mike Huckabee Exploratory Committee. “[But the] fact is that the governor’s weight loss program was very well documented by the media. Steve Barnes of Time Magazine interviewed the governor as well as his doctors.”

    Classic non-denial “denial”. If he hadn’t had the surgery, she would just come out and say it. But that fudge phrasing, “the governor’s weight loss program was very well documented by the media”, gives it all away.

    Some reporter needs to ask her for a yes or no response.

    Comment by shinypenny — December 18, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

  22. Shinypenny—

    Thanks for your comments. You are right about the reporter needing to ask. I’ve taken this as far as a blogger can go. I’ve done all the research, written all the background, but now it is the turn of the media to do the journalism that they were trained to do, which would start by getting clarification on the spokeswoman’s non-denial. This is certainly as relevant and prominent a part of Huckabee’s resume as was his non-Theology degree, and if a reporter could find something out, it would be news bigger even than what Huckabee’s son may have done to a dog in 1998.

    Comment by plutarch01 — December 18, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

  23. […] is, in fact, only a summary – the complete case with the specifics behind each bullet point can be found here.  For what it’s worth, the blogger is a Republican worried about Huckabee winning the […]

    Pingback by Multi Medium » Huckabariatric? — December 19, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  24. While your article was intriguing, your arguments are not convincing to someone with an expertise in WLS. (not that having had WLS is any crime or would disqualify him for the presidency although I don’t care for the anti obesity stuff). (1) He admitted being with a weight loss program. This weight loss program provides for almost 6 months (according to their website) of a liquid diet. That certainly would have explained the 75 lbs loss in 6 months. BTW he claims (in the video) 105 lb loss (not 110 lbs) so he lost 30 lbs in the 2nd 6 months of the year – that’s 5 lbs a month – definitely doable with diet and exercise (2) Plenty of folks have hernias but never had WLS -you said that type of hernia was rare. (3) liquid diet also causes muscle wasting (4) not eating at dinners etc – this is more the activity of someone who is fighting like heck to not regain. GBS patients typically DO eat at dinners etc. People who have had GBS do NOT fight like heck the first year or two- the weight drops off and they are not hungry (why they can eat at dinners etc. – that is a particular thrill to a WLSer in the honeymoon period that they CAN seemingly eat “normally” although the appetite DOES return with a vengeance later on). (5) Most GBS patients DO NOT exercise as much as Huckabee obviously did (enough to run a marathon) until the 2nd or third year. Finally, a thought. If the society were not so fat phobic, people would not do desperation moves LIKE liquid diets or other. I’d like to see a time when a person CAN weigh 290 lbs and still be accepted. Thanks for an interesting article.

    Comment by SueW — December 19, 2007 @ 5:21 pm

  25. As an afterthought, Huckabee doesn’t have the type of muscle wasting seen in GBS. Typically patients lose about 100 lbs in the first 6 months, most of which is not fat therefore they are left with a padding of fat and often unusual shape some of which is not fixable even WITH extensive plastic surgery (LBL, brachioplasty, abdominoplasty etc). Patients typically have serious wasting even in the muscles like the calf muscles, triceps, and deltoids which Huckabee does not show at all. His calf muscles are well developed as often seen in runners. You can see typical GBS patients and the type of muscle wasting observed, on the TV show “BIG MEDICINE” on Discovery Health Channel (new season starts in January). I’m sure if Huckabee had a GBS I could find out however, I see nothing to lead me to believe that this was the case. To me he looks like a person who lost a chunk with a liquid diet and is now calorie restricting along with vigorous exercise.

    Comment by SueW — December 19, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

  26. SueW, thanks for your comments.

    (1)Could the liquid diet have accounted for 75 lbs. in 6 months. Yes, it could. He would need a 1400 cal deficit per day, and if the liquid was about 800 calories it might work, but examples of people succeeding at this are not abundant. UAMS doesn’t have examples at their website, and Dr. Kern notes that Huckabee’s results are atypical. So too is ultimately losing 110 lbs. atypical (Huckabee’s beginning and lowest weight are unclear, he could have started as high at 300 and gotten as low as 170 lbs.). Then, he retained his weight loss. All three– rapidity, amount, and maintenance– are exactly what is expected with gastric bypass surgery. It looks like, walks like, and quacks like a bariatric duck.

    (2)”Plenty of folks have hernias, but never had WLS”. You need to reread the section in the original post. Inguinal hernias are fairly common (incidence 1 in 500), but the Spigelian hernia type Huckabee had is extremely rare, and accordingly implausible. The only plausible way for diet/exercise to explain the hernia, is that he really was having his excess abdominal skin removed (abdominoplasty), that was deemed embarrassing, and they made up the hernia diagnosis as a cover for abdominoplasty.

    (3) Liquid diet and muscle wasting. Could be, but bariatric involves protein maldigestion which causes greater muscle wasting. The liquid diet likely is relatively protein rich and muscle wasting not as profound.

    (4) Not eating at dinners. The diet habits of bariatrics are more restricted than dieters. Huckabee’s habits are much more peculiar than a dieter.

    (5) Excercise until the 2d or 3rd year for bariatrics? An unsupported assertion on your part. I haven’t seen that. On the Obesity Health fitness forum it seems to me that the bariatrics start getting into it as soon as the weight comes off.

    (6)Type of muscle wasting and irregular fat retention? Huckabee’s marathon picture looks fairly typical for bariatrics. What muscle wasting would be found in diet/exercise we don’t know, because examples are scarce. The big losers at the Men’s Health forum I linked often seem to gain muscle, as they include weight lifting in their exercise.

    The clinical findings Huckabee exhibits are a lot easier to explain with gastric bypass surgery than they are with diet/exercise. All Huckabee would need do to prove diet/exercise is release the CT films and radiologist’s report from the barium swallow CT scan he likely had in 2005. If Huckabee is right, it will show a normal GI tract and a rare Spigelian hernia.

    Comment by plutarch01 — December 19, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

  27. […] First, Mike Huckabee, Republican candidate and well-known weight-loss poster child may have had weight loss surgery. This is absolutely not proven, but Plutarch makes a strong circumstantial case. […]

    Pingback by Body Impolitic - Blog Archive - » Presidential Politics Meet Fat Politics - Laurie Toby Edison: Photographer — December 19, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

  28. This is a very well researched and convincing argument. As the author says, it’s a strong circumstantial case, the best we can hope for when there is no smoking gun, and may never be, privacy regs being what they are.

    But let me take the legal case one step further. The author establishes means and opportunity fairly plainly. But what is the motive? That, to me, is an equally interesting point to ponder.

    If you’re already elected to multiple terms as governor, why hide the fact that you had a bariatric surgery? Crafting a lie and hoping to keep it secret forever, despite the intense media scrutiny of a public, political life seems like a lot of effort and risk of being caught, with the only payoff being an admirable narrative to tell afterward. Did he have no other narratives he could latch onto such that he needed to create this one? Would a bariatric surgery be such an embarrassment to a future presidential candidate that it would need to be covered up?

    I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, I fully understand that politicians don’t think like me, so, yes, the GOP narrative of personal responsibility and a story of individual will to tell could, I guess, prompt such choices for someone thinking of someday running for president. On the other hand, I want to say, holy cow, that kind of thinking is really over-the-top, and there had to be an easier way. Maybe the guy really does have an extraordinary level of commitment, though not the kind he wants us to believe.

    Food for thought. Heh.

    Comment by Rick — December 20, 2007 @ 7:48 am


    Comment by John Allan — December 20, 2007 @ 8:45 am

  30. As someone who has suffered from Obesity for many years, I’ve lost over 100 Lbs twice in my life. Neither was due to GBS. The first time was due to a similar Protein Sparing Modified Fast as his Liquid diet. This was done by Dr. Blackburn at the Deaconess Hospital in Boston and it was completely successful for rapid weight loss but a total failure for changing habits, all the weight eventually came back. Maybe he was successful in changing his liifestyle after the PSMF but the track record of success is very limited.

    The second time was 15 years later and was after a heart attack for motivation. This was based on a heart-healthy, low-fat diet (fruit, veggies and lean protein) and exercise (8-10 hours of cardio a week)and I’ve been largely (75 of the 100 lbs still off) able to maintain it for 7 years.

    So it is possible but the hours spent exercising and the attention to diet would be readily visible to observers. Since his change in lifestyle is such a major part of his campaign, I think Gov. Huckabee owes it to voters to verify that it was not surgery.

    Comment by Other Ed — December 20, 2007 @ 8:57 am

  31. Your arguments are very persuasive.

    I would add another bit of evidence. Judging from photographs, both of Huckabee’s sons are extremely obese. This argues for a large genetic component to his obesity, which would be hard to correct by diet and exercise only. Furthermore, as far as I know, his sons have not slimmed down the way Mike Huckabee has. If it were just a matter of diet and exercise you might think they would follow his example.

    Comment by Diogenes — December 20, 2007 @ 10:43 am

  32. It is totally unbelieveable and quite sad, that you spent all of this energy and time trying to find out how Huckabee lost weight. Just think if you had devoted that time and energy to some worthy endeavor, such as helping the homeless, or the elderly. I truly believe that you have some serious issues that require medical attention. There are too many sources within our society that are available at no charge for someone such as yourself to be walking around in your mental and emotional condition. Your statements would make a good “This is your brain on drugs” commercial. I agree with Shannon 12/08…..Get a life!

    Comment by Randy Brookman — December 20, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  33. He had surgery? So what? He’s a Christian Republican, did you really expect him to be straight with us?

    Comment by Grodge — December 22, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  34. All I Want for Christmas

    When I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, my wife Shauri replied, “All I want for Christmas is for Mitt Romney to win Iowa. If I can have that, I’ll be pretty happy.” Later, on Christmas day, she asked me, “Would you like to see Mitt for…

    Trackback by Dr. Scott — December 26, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  35. The other Big Question, besides the implausible lack of denial of surgery by the Huck mouthpieces is: Why has our vaulted “Free” Press ignored the question during the primary while writing constantly flatterly articles for Huck?
    IMO, the Huck is the “Christian Republican” the Left most desires to run their candidate against.
    The Huck is the Trojan Horse!

    Comment by el Vaquero — December 28, 2007 @ 4:19 am

  36. Having lost 95 lbs on a liquid Diet I do not find it at all unbelievable.
    Jeeping it off; now that is the problem.

    Comment by Positive Dennis — December 30, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  37. You claim that the Law of Parsimony applies here, thereby implying that that no matter how *likely* you think it is, that it is *possible* that Mr. Huckabee lost the weight through diet and exercise. Fine. But this is not simply a medical diagnosis, it is also a proposition that Mr. Huckabee has weaved a complicated lie. That frankly makes the application of the L.o.P. considerably more complicated. Is it truly the simplest explanation that he surreptitiously obtained GBS and subsequently lied about it explicitly and indirectly for years? I think not. That is not to say that it is *possible* he did so; just that without considerably more evidence, it is not the simplest explanation.

    Comment by mcg — December 30, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  38. Pretty good try, but as a runner who knows a bit about the sport, you can’t fake gaining runners muscle tone in your legs without vigorous training (which he has). Furthermore, the evidence is against you on the fact that a minimal amount of training would be required at least a few months prior to a marathon to complete it. There is no way that this could have happened for Huckabee if he were solely using surgery as a means to gain a better health perspective (as you are allegedly suggesting). In other words, he [probably] would have had a heart attack if he tried to finish a marathon while losing massive amounts of weight through surgery. Simpe as that. His body wouldn’t be able to cope with the shock.

    Comment by nbt — December 30, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

  39. As someone who lost 168 lbs through WLS, everything said in this article makes a lot of sense to me – and I have a theory on why he might have lied about this (if, indeed, he did.)

    With a lot of people, there is a stigma to losing weight through WLS – it’s considered lazy, or the “easy way out.” Didn’t have enough self-control or willpower to lose it on your own, eh? Couldn’t do it the “old-fashioned/hard” way, could you?

    Perhaps Huckabee thought that, as a politician, he would appear weak if he couldn’t manage his weight on his own. Or maybe he found it embarrassing – would you believe I’ve been asked if I had my stomach “stapled”?!?!? That was a procedure from 30 years ago!

    I’m blessed: I’m more than three years post-op, have a full head of hair (just ask my stylist!), great skin color and no complications from the surgery. There should be no shame in having this surgery – it gave me my life back.

    Comment by Judy — December 30, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

  40. This is an incredible piece of work. I find almost all of the arguments very convincing. While Huckabee’s calves do look very defined that amount of flesh hanging off his quadriceps is not loose skin, it’s fat. True loose skin has a wrinkly, papery appearance. This looks like the awkward distribution of fat more often seen after WLS.

    Most people I know who have lost significant weight and kept it off actually look quite muscular, since they weight train to build metabolically active muscle to increase their metabolism. The Huckster has not done so, obviously.

    But the one area I think detracts from your argument is the evidence of six small meals per day. Again, the few people I know who have lost weight through diet and exercise alone know that step one is going from 3 square to 6 small meals per day to prevent the types of insulin spikes that encourage fat retention.

    But that’s just one small point in a pretty damning mountain of evidence.

    Comment by Bob — December 31, 2007 @ 7:46 am

  41. Ooops. I mean skin hanging off his hamstrings, not his quadriceps. I’m an idiot. Excuse me…

    Comment by Bob — December 31, 2007 @ 8:16 am

  42. You’ve made an excellent case. And remember, this is a guy who warns us that those who obtain the job dishonestly will rule dishonestly.

    Comment by Jim O'Sullivan — December 31, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  43. […] evidence put together at Plutarch’s Weblog is long and convincing, but here’s the summary of it: We’ve considered a host of clinical […]

    Pingback by South Carolinians for Mitt Romney » Did Huckabee Really Lose the Weight Naturally? — December 31, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  44. This information has the potential to turn the Republican primary upside down. The Dems are praying, I mean hoping, that Huckabee will win the primary. If he does win the primary he’ll have to prove to the nation that he didn’t have surgery, just like Kerry had to prove he was a real hero – and didn’t. The media should push Huckabee to the limit on this and not let up until Huckabee proves he didn’t have surgery, or admits he did. Considering this article it is reasonable to ask Mr. Huckabee to disclose the needed medial records to the public as soon as possible.

    Comment by frederickbastiat — December 31, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

  45. Good work.

    For a followup, try looking up John Dodd. He was a photographer at one of the Little Rock shops who went through the same program Huckabee claims to have done at UAMS. For a year, the station followed his weight loss. John didn’t undergo any of the hair loss or nasty looking skin like the RevGov… he took it off and was healthy enough at the end to leave the station and go to work for the North Little Rock Police Department. There is an interview out there on the web where the two sat down and John interviewed Huckabee. That just might be your key point.

    Comment by Gringo — January 1, 2008 @ 9:52 am

  46. Is that a Diet Pepsi i see in Huckabee’s hand while he is sitting with the 60+ year old. Many bariatrics I know can’t drink carbonated sodas without reflux problems or pain!

    Comment by John Ranmis — January 2, 2008 @ 9:30 pm

  47. John Ranmis–
    That is a valid point. Carbonated beverages are poorly tolerated by some bariatrics.

    Comment by plutarch01 — January 2, 2008 @ 10:02 pm

  48. 1 pound is about 3000-4000 calories. Huckabee’s loss rate means a net of at leat 8000 calories less per week in his intake or through added exercise. Achieving and sustaining that much of a lifestyle change is a Herculean effort. In advising my own patients on weight loss goals, it is mathematically and physiologically near impossible to lose more than 2 pounds per week. His initial 75 pound weight loss is the real kicker. That rapid drop requires the unnatural effects of bariatric surgery or serious illness (malignancy can do it).

    Comment by Keith — January 3, 2008 @ 9:39 am

  49. Rick @29 says: “But what is the motive? That, to me, is an equally interesting point to ponder. If you’re already elected to multiple terms as governor, why hide the fact that you had a bariatric surgery?” Exactly right: no need to hide this kind of surgery if you have no further political ambitions. BUT if you’re a little-known small-state governor who wants to be president, what better way to become well known than to claim to have lost over 100 lbs. through diet and exercise and write a book about it? That’s the kind of story that gets you on every talk show in the country, and resonates particularly well with the working-class voters Huckster is appealing to.

    Comment by kk — January 3, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  50. It could be another tell tale sign if he purchases certain nutritional supplements. For instance, most weight-loss surgery post-ops rely on pre-digested protein, iron, Vitamin D, and calcium … these things are malabsorbed the most.

    Comment by Amy — January 4, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

  51. From an earlier comment:

    “Weight loss helps to avoid cholesterol and fat oriented health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems.”

    Obesity is not a “fat oriented health problem.” It is just the state of being fat, which isn’t a health problem at all. There are plenty of us out here who are “obese” and are very healthy. Dropping a crap-ton of pounds in a year isn’t a healthy thing to do. Starving yourself isn’t healthy. Yo-yo-ing up and down with your weight isn’t healthy. Depriving yourself of nutrients isn’t healthy. Depriving yourself of calories has nothing to do with cholesterol.

    Knowing that someone is fat tells you nothing about their health.

    Comment by Teresa — January 4, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  52. Meh, I’ve lost over a hundred pounds within a year naturally, so it is possible. The “caloric-intake-minus-exercise-output” model is archaic. Lifestyle factors, hormonal processes, organ function, molecular nutrition, and state of mind are all more important.

    Huckabee talking about the “liquid diet” sounds good to my ear, since a fast is a good way for the body to repair itself, and is also probably the best way to gain mental clarity and insight. Anyone who’s been on an extended fast would probably vouch for that – it’s quite remarkable. Also, the “paying no mind” to weight loss rings true to me too, since I lost most of my weight without effort.

    Still, the grassy knoll stuff is interesting, and it wouldn’t reflect well on the candidate if he was lying.

    Comment by Ian — January 4, 2008 @ 9:14 pm

  53. being as dumb as a rock and a liar is a bad conbination

    I don’t trust huckabee

    Comment by thewellofemoness — January 4, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

  54. […] He Dieted for Our Sins–Or Did He? Republican Undernews! Did Huckabee go bariatric? Plutarch makes the (surprisingly non-weak) case with photos and graphs. … P.S.: The Arkansas ex-governor’s dramatic weight loss is to […]

    Pingback by Huckabee a huckster? « Wayward Fundamentalist Christian — January 6, 2008 @ 12:09 am

  55. I swear. You have built your whole argument up on the fact that you have no evidence.
    “No evidence is evidence” seems to be your mantra. You Libs disgust me.

    Comment by SpaceRat — January 6, 2008 @ 1:46 am

  56. Good stuff!! Try to get the AP or whatever to pick it up before it is too late!

    Comment by Key — January 8, 2008 @ 4:33 am

  57. This “article” is disgusting. I can attest to the fact that one CAN lose 110 in a year using a diet and exercise regimen. I lost 185# in 1 year through a supervised liquid diet followed by a calorie restricted diet. Not only have I maintained this loss for more than a year. I DID NOT HAVE ANY SURGERY.
    Yes I have some saggy skin.
    Yes I use a fuel belt on my long runs (it IS important to fuel and hydrate yourself when running long distances, like say a MARATHON!).
    No I don’t eat the food provided after a running event or at banquets, I prefer to eat meals and snacks I plan in advance to be sure of the calorie and nutritional content. Reason: it is too easy to overeat at banquets and buffets….. wouldn’t want to regain what I have worked so hard for.

    Apparently the case could be made that I too am lying based on your “evidence” the Huckabee lied. Seems to me you are just out to malign someone for making improvements in their life. Find a hobby- you seem to have too much time on your hands.

    Comment by Jenny — January 8, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  58. I’ve been inspired by Mike Huckabee’s weight loss since I read about it in Runner’s World last year (see,7120,s6-243-297–12393-0,00.html). There he describes in detail how as governor he was out the door running by 5 each morning and overhauled his eating patterns. Your theory is interesting and well-written…a super investigation. I hadn’t considered he may have had surgery until I read it. But I don’t think it matters at all. Whether he had surgery or not, the fact remains that he now has a better quality of life and has extended his lifespan because he now exercises and eats healthy foods. Therefore any public commentary he’s made encouraging others to do the same—whether he is sans surgery or not—to me are completely ethical. I see him as a public figure who’s experienced a positive change in his quality of life and wants others to experience the same. The only reason I see this investigation mattering is if he was making statements condemning weight-loss inducing surgery. Which he’s not.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 10, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

  59. You make a convincing argument. As someone midway through my own weight loss plan (25 down, 25 to go!) after a whole year of exercise, I find your evidence believable. Doing it this way is tough, but it’s the best way to go for me.
    I cannot understand why he would not be honest about this- there’s no shame in GBS! His weight loss and healthier lifestyle are still inspiring and commendable. I know that the GBS surgery demands a new discipline from patients, and is not an easy lifestyle. Why wouldn’t he have been honest about this? It’s disappointing.

    Comment by Lola — January 12, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  60. He does look like, “one of us.”

    Comment by MM — January 14, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  61. he had surgery…you can see it in his hair skin and body…not that its a sin but dont write a book and say lies to win votes when your life is a lie…and dont even consider winning a pres election…who wants someone who cant even be honest about their life journey as a leader of our country making desicisions (sp) about our future?…I have many friends that had the surgery and have the calf muscles he has and have run marathons as well and the tell tale is the way is body is sagging…if he is so gung ho on saying he didnt have surgery and sticking to it then prove us all wrong and have the barium test done otherwise I cant see giving you the time of day let alone my vote!!! and you can take that one to the bank!

    Comment by no name — January 17, 2008 @ 6:18 am

  62. This story is only important if Mike Huckabee ends up being on the Republican ticket as presidential or vice-presidential candidate. Nothing is lacking in this story. What is lacking is a person who will doggedly confront Huckabee until he provides the evidently irrefutable evidence that he has not had the surgery. The primaries may rule him out even as a viable vice-presidential candidate (in which case the voters will have discerned more far-reaching deficiencies than lying about weight loss). When this article was written, no one knew the prominence Huckabee would attain by winning Iowa. To date, he has won only that one, but it is not yet clear how well he will do. (Didn’t Pat Robertson win Iowa years ago?)


    Comment by Larry, Georgia — January 20, 2008 @ 4:13 am

  63. The body (with a sedentary lifestyle)needs about 14 calories per pound of bodyweight to maintain itself(, therefore a 300 pound person would need 4200 calories a day to stay alive. The same article points out “One pound of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories” In order to lose one pound a week without increasing your exercise level, you’d need to cut your caloric intake by 500 calories a day. To lose 2 pounds a week, a thousand calories a day, and so on. I don’t know Mike Huckabee’s eating habits when he weighed 290 pounds, but I know my own eating habits at 285 pounds. Knocking a thousand calories off my own daily intake would not be that much of a sacrifice. Like most big people I tend to think I’m not eating all that much, until i keep a record of it and realize I eat a hell of a lot. A whole lot of people (including myself) have had huge weight losses but regained the weight, The problem is not losing it, its keeping it off, and the cure is in discipline. I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised at a man losing over a hundred pounds, we all know how to take it off, and no kind of surgery is going to give you the resolve and discipline to keep it off. Anybody who’s ever been fat and seriously set about to lose some weight could tell you the same thing. There are some really important issues that need to be considered in choosing a presidential candidate, but this isn’t one of them.

    Comment by Steve — January 20, 2008 @ 8:37 am

  64. I disagree with this whole article. In 2005,I weighed 350. Then through running and dieting, I lost 130 lbs in a year. Then and now I run marathons. I know TONS more marathoners that lost a lot of weight through running than through surgery. In fact, I have never met a marathoner that had WLS. Also the fuel belt thing – all my skinny friends and life-long runners that go with me to marathons have the belts, and they take it a lot more seriously than me. I’ve seen hundreds of marathoners with the belts, and again, I’ve never met a marathoner that had the surgery. So the fuel belt theory is totally bunk. Take it from someone who knows. And btw, I didn’t have surgery, or any doctor assistance, or any health club membership.

    I’m only 29, but everything Mike Huckabee has said about his weight loss I relate to 100%. I did the exact same thing. I’ve never seen anything to make me doubt it, and I’ve seen a lot of articles about Huckabee that substantiates his version of the weight loss. I know many people who’ve had surgery, and I know many people who’ve lost weight through running and doing marathons (it’s an exclusive community, but it’s definitely there – can be found online or at marathons). Mike Huckabee is 100% DEFINITELY someone who lost weight via running. You can’t fake running-induced weight loss. I have the same post-weight loss body issues he has. And we do look different than people who have surgery. And we have totally different exercise and eating habits from people with surgery.

    Mike having surgery is not even plausible if you understand what he’s done, how one loses weight through running, and how one who has surgery CANNOT run like Mike and I did DURING the wieght loss. It’s impossible for them to get enough calories (due to the smaller stomach) to fuel that much exercise. After the surgery-induced weight loss, maybe, though again I’ve never come across anyone who did.

    I’m insulted by this article. I disagree with Huck’s politics, and would never vote for him, but I give him a ton of credit for his weight loss. It takes one to know one, and I recognize Mike’s weight loss “the hard way” is definitely genuine. Which is why he’s not at all concerned about trying to “prove” it. Those who really understand can see the signs very clearly.

    Whoever wrote this article, despite your trying to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you really don’t know. Your arguments only emphasize how little you know. There is a reason why NONE of the THOUSANDS of journalists following Huck have made an issue of this – even a cursory but unbiased investitagion into his weight loss shows it is impossible to have come through surgery. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Comment by Matt — January 24, 2008 @ 6:55 am

  65. I, like Mr. Huckabee was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, the disease that killed my father. In the last 7 months I have lost over 80 poinds through excercise and diet. I ran my first half marathon yesterday. I am offened my your suggestion that he lied. You have no real evidence. One person suggested that I had the surgery as well. I think that comes from people who believe that hard work can not accomplish amazing things. Shame on you.

    Comment by Marc Sommer — January 28, 2008 @ 8:30 am

  66. […] directed by endocrinologist Dr. Philip Kern. The UAMS program involves …article continues at plutarch01 brought to you by and […]

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  67. I find this article be very lacking. There’s evidence he’s honestly achieved his lifestyle change. Your lack of evidence is not evidence.

    Let’s say he could have had surgery or did it naturally, but then you factor in the ability to keep a great conspiracy, by your own OCCAM razor logic, it’s more plausible that he honestly made the lifestyle change. Ben Franklin said 3 can keep a secret if 2 are dead. It seems to me that if he had this surgery, a lot more than 3 people would have been privy to this secret.

    But what’s YOUR motivation? Obviously he’s not your candidate, so you like someone else.. so obviously you would write this in an attempt to aid the person you like.

    Reagan didn’t get to be president on his first nor second try… So I introduce you to the thought, that you may be looking at a Huckabee President within the next 20 years.

    I sometimes see “lights” outside my house. I feel cold inside my house sometimes. I hear strange noises sometimes. Should I jump to conclusions that they’re all evidence and they’re connected? Many innocent people are convicted by circumstancial evidence… doesn’t mean it’s true. Get some real evidence. Thanks.

    Comment by Daniel meyers — February 20, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

  68. Hi, I must admit this is an interesting post and blog in general. I feel bad there are not more places like this around. We all need quality informations and knowledge in order to advance faster towards out fitness goals. Sasha

    Comment by Fast Muscle Growth — May 19, 2008 @ 4:47 am

  69. Do you know what you have to do after weight loss surgery to lose weight? You have to stick to a strict diet plan and exercise every day. It is hard work and no one who is familiar with life after surgery will tell you that surgery is easy weight loss. Surgery give obese people a tool to help them get their eating under control. Losing the weight and keeping it off take a lot of effort. He says he did it the hard way. Weight loss surgery is a hard way.

    Comment by Karen Ogle — May 20, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  70. As I read this artical or what have you, to be honest i could not stop laughing.

    Whey do fat people have to have YOUR approval to do something about their weight.

    There is a saying in the south — none of your damn busixiness. what does hillary have to explain her choice of birth control to you?

    the amoutn of research you did was logical. The amoutn of time your wrote on this piece of crap artical seriously, with sooooooooooooooooo much time on your hand you could have gone after something important. you could have taken a class. something that you could have said I did this. i went back to school and earned three credits toward something…

    Instead you wasted all that time to what say mike hukabe had a medical procedure done without kissing your ass? Its no more your business if he had it done than the stranger down the road…

    seriously, this amount of effort for something that is none of your business is laughable and if you decide that your president has to allow you to rape his privacy…

    your not looking for a president. your looking for a excuse to be mean….

    it is very obvious from your artical that not only are you mean, but sERIOUSlY dude, get some help. Psyho.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 26, 2008 @ 7:47 am

  71. You have a picture of Huckabee drinking a can of soda, a person who has had gastric by pass can not drink soda again ever. Hair loss from this surgery grows back. A gastric by pass patient can eat restaurant foods (or banquet) with no problem. They will only control how much they eat, and not eat fatty meat or fried foods.
    Your article is full of misconceptions and fallacies. Not to mention none of your business.

    Comment by kate — June 19, 2008 @ 10:26 am

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  73. The safe way is proper diet and exercise. Results may not come super fast. Losing 10% to 15% of body weight can result in an amazing health impact but, we need to always focus on achievable and realistic goals.

    Comment by G Coker — June 25, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  74. Thank you for a well-researched and well-reasoned article.

    After all Star Jones has now admitted she lied about her surgery, and she wasn’t running for anything! I can understand the motivation behind Huckabee’s reticence about how he did it, which is fine… but then to write a book based on a lie takes it over the top.

    I had the same doubts you had.. because of his book and his behavior afterwards. Having lost 50 pounds by changing my eating habits, and having talked to many friends who have had success with varying methods, one thing is certain: people talk about weight loss in detail.

    They share techniques, recipes, fitness goals and pant sizes. Because they are happy, because people are curious, because this is a difficult task no matter how you do it, people tend to be eager to share all the minutiae of their experience.

    Huckabee’s complete absence of any detail really set off my bullshit detector.

    Comment by WereBear — July 14, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

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    Comment by rahul — August 24, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  77. Interesting article. Got to know lot about Huckabee. I have given a digg to your article.

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  79. Maybe they found out about his gastric bypass….no wonder he lost miserably at the end.

    Comment by White tea weight loss — December 14, 2008 @ 4:39 am

  80. Maybe they found out about his gastric bypass….no wonder he lost miserably at the end.

    Comment by White tea weight loss — December 14, 2008 @ 4:39 am

  81. I believe Mike Huckabee’s defeat was a reflection of the fact that, even in the dwindling and increasingly hardline ranks of the Republican faithful, there is no majority support for young Earth creationists. I believe Mike Huckabaee would make a fine small town spiritual leader. However, I suspect many Republicans share my belief that he is simply not fit to command an organization that must grapple with all manner of complex technical issues. As the U.S. government is such an organization, it only made sense that voters would look elsewhere for leadership.

    Comment by Demonweed — December 28, 2008 @ 3:06 am

  82. Wow, I’ve been searching the net for some information related to a new site I’m starting in a week or so. Would you mind if I posted this article with author credit and a link back here? If not the full article just a teaser? Feel free to e-mail me and let me know. Thanks!

    Comment by JT @ Acai Berry Information — February 2, 2009 @ 3:48 am

  83. It does seem likely that he did use bariatric surgery to acheive the results he has. Who knows? What is important for him personally is that he was able to overcome obesity. He will never regret it.

    Comment by Weight Loss Surgery Cost at — February 23, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

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  85. Aside from the fact that it’s obvious you dislike him… I mean the only real thing you could think to hit him on was that you think he’s being deceitful about he weight loss!… I found this an interesting point:

    While I did not follow all of your links, I did follow your link claiming that

    “Bariatric surgery is associated with…increased long term mortality….”

    Following that link takes me to a New England Journal of Medicine abstract of an August 23, 2007 study titled “Long-Term Mortality after Gastric Bypass Surgery” in which the researchers say

    “Long-term total mortality after gastric bypass surgery was significantly reduced, particularly deaths from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.”

    Which leads me to wonder, (though I, like you, don’t have so much time on my hands to check them all out), how many of your other links actually substantiate your claim? Are you operating under the assumption that the majority of readers take information seemingly substantiated by links as “truth”.

    Research that actually supports your claims would make you significantly more believeable.

    Comment by Jill — May 3, 2009 @ 5:30 am

  86. A new breakthrough secret is all you now need in order to forever shed countless pounds, stay healthy, and add many years to your life!

    A lady doctor from Arizona has blown the lid off the best-kept secret in weight loss ever discovered — and this has the whole diet food and drug industries turned upside down and in nothing less than a torrential uproar.

    Her name is Dr Suzanne Gudakunst, and she’s marching to the beat of a different drum.

    And no, nothing about her “secret” is difficult — nor does it require that you do something completely out of the ordinary or anything unnatural.

    Instead, the Arizonian boasts proudly “…this is something that I caught onto just before 2002 when there was so much research and exploration going around concerning the human colon and digestive system working in harmony with nutritional absorption, and I started doing independent studies just to test things at first … but which I later expanded on after seeing some fantastic results.”

    This same woman medical practitioner went on to accurately determine a definitive correlation between harmful plague and parasitic infestations of the human bowel tract, and people suffering chronic obesity — and who despite intense diet and exercise appeared to be unable to lose any weight whatsoever.

    Over the course of six years the Arizona doctor developed a number of natural treatments for the removal of these same harmful, even life-threatening plaques and rapidly reproducing digestive parasites — and when applied to even worse-case patients suffering extreme obesity (98% of which were in immediate danger of dying) she saw a 100% effectiveness and success rate.

    She then borrowed from her research on the severely obese, and applied the same strategies on milder cases of overweight persons — only to find the same effectiveness and quality results as described above (although the individual weight loss per subject wasn’t nearly as much as those obese patients 100 lbs to 200 lbs or more overweight).

    So powerful is her secret that she’s able to reverse diabetes, rid illness altogether in people suffering from cancer (linked directly to poor diet and overweight factors), as well as an elimination of an entire spectrum of serious and otherwise life-threatening diseases.

    Nearly 100% of all her case subjects were told in the alternative by “conventional doctors” that they either had just months or years to live, or they would never live a life anything resembling remotely a “normal” existence — yet after applying Dr Suzanne’s treatments saw a complete contradiction to others doctors’ prognoses.

    Again, nothing about her secret is unnatural or requires someone to do any major action or modification in their lives.

    In fact, her entire treatment is based completely on built-into-nature ‘protection agents’ scattered throughout the world in the form of select herbs, extracts, and organic constituents, and which can be found in a variety of plants — but when combined in specific combinations and carefully chosen amounts make for a solution to what is perhaps the world’s worst ever plague: OBESITY (and the illnesses and diseases resulting from it — or at least severely aggravated or exacerbated by it).

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    Some experts and sociologists suggest that in the bigger scheme of things, the world will never tolerate a discovery of such magnitude, any more than it would be realistic to expect a car that runs on water (even if very real) to ever become commercially available to the general public for day-to-day use.

    One well-respected and famous diet & wellness author wrote years ago that if anyone ever “truly unlocked the keys to permanent fat loss, they may actually suffer the same fate as JFK.”

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    Comment by it6t9tech — May 16, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  87. Great post. I’ve wondered about MGB many times and it seems very quick. Is it true that it can be done within 30 minutes?

    Comment by Cosmetic Guru — May 27, 2009 @ 7:00 am

  88. Really interesting read. Im very interested in one of the figures depicting weight regain patterns typical for diet/exercise (graph shows results for 2/3/4 year cohorts). The link to the original article that I assume this was taken from doesnt work – anyone know where it comes from?
    Many thanks

    Comment by Nik — August 25, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  89. .

    Comment by Nik — August 25, 2009 @ 2:54 am

  90. […] the video here. And then look at old chubby Mike and little Automatic Slim Huckabee side by side here. I think you'll agree that this year's model is somewhere betwixt and between, although […]

    Pingback by Huckabee waistline watch | Michael Tomasky - Politics - BlogSpotz — September 21, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  91. […] the video here. And then look at old chubby Mike and little Automatic Slim Huckabee side by side here. I think you’ll agree that this year’s model is somewhere betwixt and between, although […]

    Pingback by Photomaniacal » Blog Archive » Huckabee waistline watch | Michael Tomasky — September 22, 2009 @ 12:00 am

  92. Look, you can speculate all you want, but did you actually look at the program that Huckabee went through? The program he went through was a program provided by UAMS (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) in Little Rock.
    I’m pretty sure if you were losing weight under the supervision of doctors at a medical school, you would have some pretty extraordinary results, too.

    Comment by RP — October 3, 2009 @ 8:38 am

  93. This is a very informative article. The title of his book is really clever. I agree with RP though, it would be nice if everyone could have medical supervision for their diet, too.

    Comment by Kelsey — October 13, 2009 @ 11:59 am

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  96. Medical privacy is an interesting component of medicine. I wonder if that applies to statistics too where seeing whether some treatment or another worked can be used to determine the effectiveness of any one drug.

    Comment by lahgibbs — March 11, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  97. Nice work but for one problem — 2 million Arkansans who watched their governor slim down. Guess this article could be printed for wallpaper and have some practice use, eh?

    Comment by Johnny Reb — March 13, 2010 @ 11:45 am

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  105. This article is interesting because show a politician try to deceive people in such personal things like losing weight. It is not necessary to lie to justify achievements and more people appreciate the politicians who tell the truth even in their personal affairs.

    Comment by Leo Avila — October 11, 2010 @ 7:35 am

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  109. saw Huckabee on TV last week and you can see in his face and chest size a whole bunch of extra weight, maybe 40-60 lb, which would put him well over 200 now.

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  111. Pretty much a circumstantial case with no hard evidence. Without that, it’s just a pretty theory.

    Sadly, if Huckabee can and does release an X-ray proving no changes to the digestive system, years from now there will still be people claiming he did it with surgery. We have to deal with “birthers” now. Are “weighters” next?

    Comment by Me — April 22, 2011 @ 5:51 am

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  113. As a person that has had the lap band and lost about 50 lbs with it, I can tell you that even if he did do that, it still requires serious behavior modification- if you don’t change your ways, you can eat your way out of the fix. And it’s not easy- so regardless of how he did it, I say kudos to him- get off his back.

    Comment by Phil W. — September 19, 2011 @ 7:02 am

  114. It’s hard to tell if Huck had any surgery. But one thing is for sure, the man simply doesn’t care what’s true or not. He is one of the better liars in public life now.

    He lost that weight very quickly, I only know one person who lost that much weight in that little time, and this guy lived at the gym, and was on a crazy diet of 700 calories to. He also gained that weight back and then some.

    He lost the weight in exactly the same time span as surgery would cause him to lose it, much much faster than most people his age would lose it.

    But would he lie? Hello yes, he is one of the best..

    His support for the fraudulent Fairtax is an example. True, that doesn’t mean he had surgery, but it means he just doesn’t care what true. The man lies as easily as he talks. As for the Fairtax, Huck was probably duped at first – lot of people were. But clearly he found out the fruad of it, as time went on. Early he protrayed Fairtax as magical — he even called it a magic wand. It was going to fix EVERYTHING — economic, immigration, poverty, social security, national debt, no praise or promise could be too much.

    Not exactly over night, but clearly, Huck backed off, unless someone asked him. He had to find out SOMETHING to make him all but punt. Why the change? Was Fairtax suddenly different? If it was the best thing EVERY on tuesday, why all but forget about it, on Friday?

    Huck would talk about taxes, and oftentimes not mention this magic plan. Or he would give ambiguous statements. HE isn’t above outright lying, but he seems to prefer to give half truths..

    I don’t trust Huckabee.

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