Barbour announces he won't denounce
February 15th, 2011
08:33 PM ET
4 years ago

Barbour announces he won't denounce

Washington (CNN) - Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour refused Tuesday to denounce attempts to create a special license plate honoring a 19th-century Ku Klux Klan leader.

"I don't go around denouncing people," Barbour told reporters Tuesday in Jackson, MS.

When asked by a reporter what he thought about the KKK leader in a historical context, Barbour gave a terse response.

"He's a historical figure," Barbour said.

Barbour went on to explain that he thought there was little chance approval for the plate would come from the state legislature.

"It's not going to happen," he said. "The Nathan Bedford Forrest tag is not going to happen."

On Monday the NAACP called on Barbour to condemn attempts by a Confederacy group to create the plate, which honors Forrest, a confederate general, slave trader and former KKK grand wizard. A Facebook group was also formed calling on the governor to denounce the effort.

Barbour is considered a likely candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, scheduling trips to early voting states and speaking at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.


Filed under: Haley Barbour • Mississippi
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Regarding the KKK leader, "He's a historical figure," Barbour added.

    Fine, and you've allied yourself with one of the most despicable historical figures. Don't go crying when people reject you for it.

    February 15, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  2. Ron

    Well, I guess since his straw poll showing at CPAC was so high (ha ha), he's letting the real Haley show. Unfortunately for him, everyone already knew where he stands – which is why he's a "losing option".

    February 15, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  3. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Why would he denouce someone he simpithizes with?

    You know he doesn't "recall" segregation being so bad.

    Put a fork in this big oversized turkey as he is done!

    Palin/Bachmann in 2012
    Angle for Attorney General

    February 15, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  4. Name Larry

    I really starting to hate what the republicans stand for

    February 15, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. Karyn111

    Doesn't Gov. Barbour know what century this is?

    February 15, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  6. DKincaid

    Why are you people so surprised re: Barbour. He is now and has always been a RACIST and probably a card carrying KKK (James Crow, Esq) member. I am not surprised because many of you are so busy trying to make people believe that racism has gone away – you still lie for people like Barbour.

    February 15, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. GonzoinHouston

    In Mississippi, which is not so far removed from the 19th century, Nathan Bedford Forest is a hero to a lot of people, and those are the kind of people Barbour supports.

    And he wants to be President? Aw, come on, man!

    February 15, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  8. TM

    Feet of clay. It doesn't matter that the legislation MIGHT NOT pass. The IDEA behind it is what you should have opposed. You had your chance, and you chose to stand behind a RACIST and a movement stands for BIGOTRY, MURDER, and TERRORISM. Good luck convincing ANYONE to stand behind you next year.

    February 15, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. TheTeacherThePreacher

    What about Osama Bin Laden, Hitler, and Vlad the Impaler? Would he refused to denounce them because they are historical figures?

    I believe in some circles this is known derisively as "moral relativism". Circles like the CPAC crowd.

    February 15, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Steve Fielder

    Is there anything racist or bigoted that Governor Barbour actually WILLL denounce, or is every aspect of the Confederacy and Jim Crow to be considered unassailable due to it being "historical" or a part of "Southern culture"!?

    February 15, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  11. azmary

    Just because someone is an "historical figure", it does not follow they should be revered or honored. In some cases they should be placed on the trash heap of history.

    February 15, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. Gaylon Barrow

    YEAH! He may need to come back.

    February 15, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. Shannon

    Funny, he says he doesn't denouce people, so he won't speak out against the KKK guy, but he has no problem denoucing our President at every turn. Let's see, KKK off limits, our President, not so much. Tell me Mr Barbour, what does that say about you.

    February 15, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. John

    Why would anyone expect a fat faced old school Mississippi racist to denounce the Klan? I'm sure even a tiny bit of investigative reporting would turn up quite a few of haley's family and friends as being current or recent klan members. Or at least citizen's council members - the "non-violent" (when anyone was looking) version of the klan.

    February 15, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. TheTeacherThePreacher

    Seems like he's banking on this being a moot point, so he doesn't have to take a stand and either look like a redneck bumpkin in front of the country by supporting the tag. or go the opposite way and enrage his bigoted constituency. Next headline: "Mississippi legislature approves Nathan Bedford Forrest license plate". Oops.

    February 15, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  16. TheTeacherThePreacher

    Haley Barbour, Grand Lizard.
    As low as they come.

    February 15, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. Name

    He is such a racist. Sad but true. People like him should not be in government.

    February 15, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  18. nicotoscan

    "I don't denounce people"????? So he wouldn't denounce Hitler? Mississippi elected this racist pig??? Amazing in this day and age...

    February 15, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. fayse

    This is my message to ALL Americans, Please let us stop the bickering and infighting. That is how the Politicians control our Country. My suggestion is this, let us demand that the Federal Government start with cuts in the payrolls of ALL elected officials. I don't care if you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, liberal or conservative. Cut all of their salaries, cut their staff, expense accounts, perks, pensions, healthcare etc. etc. The politicians are benefitting at our expense. Name one that is worth their salary. I am not suggesting anything unreasonable. This is our Country and they are not serving us well. We will never agree on the political side of things. This is America, thank God! and we all are entitled to our own views. Let us all agree that we need to start somewhere. Cut their pay and see how they like that. This is still America, we do not need politicians or media to tell us how to think. That has been going on far too long. I thank God that we all have the right to speak up. America is still the greatest Nation of all, we have the freedom to speak.

    February 15, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. lgny

    Barbour AKA "Boss Hogg" exemplifies the ugly former segregationist wing of the Republican conservatives. Nixon's southern strategy in 68 sought to split the white southerners from the Democratic party. Since then, they've become a potent force in the Republican party with racism morphed into code words. Thus, now honoring the Stars and Bars, and celebrating KKK leaders are white washed as respecting their heritage.

    February 15, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. jane

    The NAACP refused to denounce Jermiah Wright and gave a platform to Louis Farrakhan even though he said he is proud to be compared to Hitler, They also have given a free pass to tons of anti-asian, homophobic, and antisemetic within their ranks. Given this, I don't think they are in the position to cry fowl

    February 15, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  22. jennifer

    He's a slimy white toad with a yellow streak down his back.....

    February 15, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. Dirk Wladon

    Who would have thought any differently about his decision? Not I. Thats one of the third world countries on the 'don't fly list' along with Arizona and Texas, (whose governor said that they want out of these United States). Probably it was his mouth that got NASA the big axe. Go figure.

    February 15, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  24. Larry

    What do you do when you don't condemn? You condone.

    February 15, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  25. Jerrold

    He leaves no doubt he is a racist piece of garbage. We should all be thankful that he has left no uncertainty as to what he stands for.

    February 15, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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