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. CBR

    The statement by the DNC says it all. Is anyone surprised by Barbour's comments or by the comments of the governor of VA. There are still those who cannot support the end result of the Civil War. It is still second nature to them to belittle the importance of slavery.

    It is astounding but the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln has fallen so far. The GOP will be a party of people who act alike and think alike. There is no place for new ideas. There is no place for minorities and there is no place for dissension.

    What a sad commentary!

    April 11, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. robert

    Are you serious CNN? Are you purposely twisting what Barbour said in that interview – the fact that Democrats have passed a similar proclamation in his state.......CNN – are you really saying it is okay for Democrats? But not for Republicans??

    April 11, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. Doug - Dallas

    Anyone who thought that racism was gone only has to look at the statements by these supposedly educated men to see it's alive and just below the surface.

    April 11, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. DontGetIt

    Why does the vile hatred have to shine through time and time again? Can't republicans rally the people based on differences of philosophy and policy, not race? Do they know that whites will be a minority in the US of A by 2020? Wake up and join the human race!!!

    April 11, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. JR

    Where does the GOP find these relics, is there a closet at RNC headquarters devoted to politicians with a mindset from 1860?

    April 11, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. derek

    barboun may all your children grow up seedless so that they may not bring such individual like you into this beautiful world. you and your confederates minions are sadistically evil in natural. whatever that is evil in nature must be destroy, tear down, and make over. the human intelligence aim toward good progressiveness, people like you has not place in our american future.

    April 11, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. American

    Boy the NUTS are out in full force these days. Well the squirrels don't have far to look to store the NUTS for the winter.

    April 11, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. derek

    the people of this "fool states" need to demand forcefully for his resignistion.

    April 11, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Jerry L. Rhodes

    To all those who rant over slavery, I say get a life. Slavery existed under the flag of the United States from 1783 to 1861. We might need to consider changing the flag from the current stars and stripes to a new flag that has no connection what so ever with slavery.

    April 11, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. John E Lexington KY

    Haley Barbour's brains don't amount to diddly.

    April 11, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. Karol

    Good for the DNC to respond. Sick and tired of seeing the 'Party of NO' standing up for everything that is wrong.

    April 11, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Alex

    Gov. Barbour Is without doubt an insensitive and boorish representative of the extreme right wing of the republican party. Please shut up Mr. Barbour lest you inevitably provide we Democrats the tools to remove such ignoramouses from our political lives.

    April 11, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. Sue

    Of course the Democrats are going to jump on something like this......

    Obama and the Democrats are getting clobbered in the polls--so they have to come up with "something/anything"---to try to give them more support/approval.

    However, numerous polls have also indicated--that the majority in the country are tired and fed up with the race bating of the Democrats.

    Again, if they continue to push this-–this is going to backfire on them--because the majority in the country are tired of their race baiting games.

    April 11, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    How anyone can talk about the Civil War, the Confederacy or the Union and not mention slavery is beyond me.

    Unless, of course, you never have and never will care about African-Americans ... maybe that's what's going on here ...

    April 11, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. Will

    Anyone surprised? I think not. This ish has gotten way out of hand.

    April 11, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  16. Jilli

    Comments by both Barbour and McDonnell were pathetic. The spokesperson is correct, it's a statement by the pale and stale party.

    This country needs to continue moving forward, not back. These displays are evident of a backward thinking mindset. They want their country back. Unfortunately for them, the majority of this country has moved beyond that point years ago.

    April 11, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. spike in conshohocken pa

    The confederacy was an insurrection that tried to dismantle the United States. There's nothing honorable about this. In addition to defending the despicable institution of slavery, what the south did during the civil war was traitorous and dishonorable.

    April 11, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  18. Just Wait You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

    The Democrats are just trying to gain a smidgeon of ground back after this past HORRIBLE year and I don't think what they are doing will work because "Frankley my dear, it's the ECONOMY stupid!" and people don't want to hear about the tit-for-tat stuff.

    April 11, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  19. Katie Speers

    Please vote men like him out of office...for our childrens' sake...he is an absolute embarrassment to what we call America.

    April 11, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. Dennis

    I saw the interview with Mr. Barbour, and the Democrat response is distorted and out of context completely. CNN was pushing as hard as possible to push Mr. Barbour into a position of controversy, and set him up. At no time did Mr. Barbour belittle the scourge of slavery, or try to make out as if this portion of our history (which was brought to Amercia long before there was a United States of America) wasn't a blight upon us all. At the same time, it is dispicable that the Southern People who have pride in their Southern Hertitage must be contunuously besmerched by High Bow Democrats. Let us not forget the Democrats themselves fought to defend Slavery, while Republican fought to distroy Slavery. CNN and the Main Stream Media are waging a war to turn Confederate Heritage into scorn for the Slavery Issue was settled after 100,000's of deaths, and permanently distroyed by Law. Execept now Democrats want to legislate millions into bondage through oppressive taxation and confiscation of vital portions of our free rights.

    April 11, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Capsaicin

    And this man–Barbour– is considered a serious contender for president on the GOP ticket?

    April 11, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. Beverly

    Wow, slavery "is not a big deal?" I have no respect for Repubs.

    April 11, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. John in Tampa

    Gov. Barbour either cannot see a fire that is already burning, or he is intentionally speaking only to the small group of people in Mississippi he thinks wil put on their white robes and reelect him to office there. Well, so much for his national ambitions anyway. I'm an older white man living in Florida and I wouldn't help him avoid a truck.

    April 11, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. Just curious?

    Besides Mr. Sevugan's appearing to forget the fact that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican from Illinois, does anyone else find it most amusing that the professionally outraged spin themselves into a holier-than-thou hissy over some subjects, all the while declaring their own bigotry? Which other "small region" could Mr. Sevugan have meant, aside from the South? Not ALL Southerners deserve to be persecuted in these modern times–especially not by these supposedly oh-so-open minded, cosmopolitan elite. McDonnell and Barbour carelessly wandered into a mine field–Sevugan just shot his hypocritical mouth off.

    April 11, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. Pragmatic

    Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut! You can be quiet and let people think you are ( your choice ) or sound off and prove that you are stupid!

    Old, southern republicans simply can not get over their segregated past ... and can't pass up the chance to tell us all that slavery is "something doesn't amount to diddly.”

    April 11, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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