April 11th, 2010
10:58 PM ET
8 years ago

DNC: Barbour 'defended the indefensible'

 Gov. Haley Barbour's comments 'portrayed a Republican mindset that is not only out of touch with this century, but the last one as well,' a spokesman for the DNC said Sunday.

Gov. Haley Barbour's comments 'portrayed a Republican mindset that is not only out of touch with this century, but the last one as well,' a spokesman for the DNC said Sunday.

Washington (CNN) – With the nation’s first African-American president occupying the Oval Office, the South’s Confederate history is ensnaring a second Republican governor in as many weeks in a controversy over how the nation ought to remember the institution of slavery.

Trying to defend a fellow Southern Republican governor, Mississippi’s Haley Barbour drew fire from the Democratic National Committee, which issued a statement Sunday after an interview with Barbour aired on CNN’s State of the Union.

Earlier: Concern of slavery omission 'doesn't amount to diddly,' says Barbour

“I don’t know what you would say about slavery,” Barbour told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, “but anybody who thinks that slavery is a bad thing – I think goes without saying.”

Barbour was explaining his belief that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell had not made a mistake in omitting any mention of slavery from a recent proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month in his state.

Responding to allegations that McDonnell’s omission was insensitive, Barbour said, “To me, it's a sort of feeling that it's a nit. That it is not significant, that it's not a – it's trying to make a big deal out of something doesn't amount to diddly.”

The DNC slammed Barbour for the remarks.

"Governor Barbour defended the indefensible this morning and in doing so portrayed a Republican mindset that is not only out of touch with this century, but the last one as well,” DNC national press secretary Hari Sevugan said in a written statement. “To say that the systematic condemnation of millions to bondage and generation upon generation to servitude is ‘not significant,’ or that the tearing apart of families and the selling of human beings as cattle ‘doesn't amount to diddly’ is outrageous for any public official to say, let alone a man Republicans have placed in a position of leadership.”

Sevugan added, “These comments are unacceptable and should be universally condemned in the strongest terms. A failure to do so will send a strong message to all Americans that Republicans endorse Governor Barbour's sentiments and are content not only to be left behind in another century, but that they deserve to be a small regional party in the permanent minority “

Last week, McDonnell announced that he was amending his proclamation to refer to slavery and call it “an evil and inhumane practice.”

Related: McDonnell apologizes for initial proclamation

"The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed," McDonnell said last week.

Filed under: DNC • Extra • GOP • Haley Barbour • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Diddly? The enslavement of a race of people that stains the fabric of American history and brings shame to every man who fought to continue it amounts to diddly? Disgusting.
    Confederate soilders fought to sustain an economic system built on the backs of people brought here against their will and subjected to unlimited cruelty. They were treated as subhuman, sold as a commodity and lived in squalor so that southern "ladies' could entertain gentlemen callers on the front porch. Even more disgusting. The romanticism of the old south is a revision of history and needs to end.
    The only thing the the confederacy should call to mind is shame. The decendents of confederate soilders need to come to terms with the fact that their ancestors were Racists and died defending racism. There is nothing to be proud of here.

    April 11, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Tony

    Who takes the DNC with their racist, progressive roots seriously anyway? They're nothing but hatemongers. Only hateful people believe their bigoted talking points.

    April 11, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Francisco Cardenas

    How come the DNC doesn't think that gay and lesbian issues and immigration reform is important enough to counter like they do issues on race?

    April 11, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. John

    Actually, every conversation about the south or humanity at all must include an apology for slavery. Isn't that so?

    April 11, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. ProfBill

    Let's remember Haley BOURBON'S little "diddly" comment this November and give the Republicans "diddly SQUAT" at the polls......These people are soooooo 18th century....

    April 11, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Proud Northerner

    Mississippi burned once... Lincoln's biggest mistake during his presidency was working so hard to make the moronic South part of the US. Obviously the United States would have been far better off without the South and I, for one, will sign any petition that works towards getting rid of them again!

    April 11, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Chekesha Katsiris

    Governor Haley Barbour is obviously ill informed and dense. It's important to know where those who represent constituencies stand on various issues. Now that Mississippians have been made aware of his ill conceived logic, I would expect his ousting to be swift.

    April 11, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    There will always be slavery. It still exist in this world and in America...the most free country. The poor will always be slaves to the rich.

    April 11, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Karl

    I guess to him it would not be important. It is important in that it shows us how he thinks.

    April 11, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. Tracy

    What say you Mr. Steele? Or is being the head of the the Republican Party made you forget you are an African American man?

    April 11, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. sim

    Republicanism = Racism. What a revelation. What's next–the sun is hot, the sky is blue?

    April 11, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Drew

    Confederate History Month????
    I was deeply sadden and concerned when I heard talk of legislation that would allow for a confederate history month in Virginia. I can not imagine why anyone would want to celebrate one of the most shameful periods in American history. Confederacy represents the Black Holocaust, the systematic state-sponsored persecution and murder of hundreds of thousands African-Americans. It was the confederacy that gave birth to our nation’s first terrorist organization – Ku Klux Klan. It was hatred so ugly it had to be hidden under white sheets; and acts so inhumane it is now considered to be crimes against humanity. We must eradicate not celebrate the racism and the oppression that confederacy stands for. Its culture breeds bigotry and injustice and has ultimately left an indelible scar on the face of America. What a shameful reminder a confederate history month would be.

    April 11, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. obamarroids

    Rather a defender of Southern history than a friend of a terrorist. William Ayers and Barack Obama are close friends and confidants. No headlines about that from CNN.

    April 11, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. GetAClue

    Stop with the race card Dems! This "controversy" is being blown out of proportion. Where were were all the Dems calling out Obama when he attended Rev. Wright's church services?!

    April 11, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. William

    Hurray for the both of them. Get over slavery. It's OLD. Stop playing the race and slavery card. When are you people gonna start taking responsibility for your lives? Free welfare, healthcare, never ending umemployment benefits. The list goes on and on. You would be wise to elect republicans who would cut these programs and force you to get off your butts and make something of yourselves!

    April 11, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. todd

    didnt this happen like 200 years ago, like its even relevant now!

    April 11, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. Mickey, NY

    GOP: Your message is clear...

    Fear, hatred, and racism...plain and simple.

    Barbour, people like you are dinosaurs, and you are becoming extinct...THANK GOD!

    April 11, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. Emily in MI

    Yet another example of the ginormous divide between old white guys and everybody else. Of course it's nothing to him–his ancestors benefited from slavery as he continues to today.

    April 11, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. obamarroids

    300,000 Southerners were systematically butchered by the Lincoln administration in an effort to keep states from leaving the union. It didn't have to happen. Mr. Lincoln had other options.

    The the northern politicans drug R. E. Lee before congress after the war, they demanded to know by what right did the South have to leave the U.S..

    Lee's quesion to the northern politicans was "What in the Constituion forbade the South from leaving ?" The northern politician had absolutely no answer.

    April 11, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. C.J.

    Would these comments be any less offensive if our president wasn't African American? I don't think so.

    April 11, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. darth vader hates me

    Only a republican would think that slavery of a race of people does not amount to a hill of beans. Those were dark days of america and something that should not be popoed away

    April 11, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  22. Gary

    What state was George Wallace from?

    April 11, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. obamarroids

    CNN promoted their candidate, Barack Hussien Obama, as post racial, a beacon in the long night of racial animosity. Mr. Obama is probably the most racist individual to occupy the White House.

    April 11, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. xrocketeer

    The Civil War was fought over States Rights. The Slavery issue was an underlying and secondary reason. The men who fought for the south were patriots to their cause. They should be properly remembered. Slavery was and is a bad thing everywhere in the world. It continues today, and should be stopped. In China, Africa, Tibet, everywhere it exists. It should be purged from the face of the earth.

    April 11, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Ridgeway

    Dems are carpet baggers. Always have been , always will be. The only difference between a Democrat coming down south and a hemorrhoid is at least the hemorrhoid will go back up once in a while.

    April 11, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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