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.