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. Wil Baker

    To me this is the same as a group asking to have a license plate with Hitler's name on it.

    February 16, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. Keith

    Nowhere in the article does it mention that Forrest left the KKK due to it becoming to radical

    February 16, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  3. jake

    Well if the blacks can have BET, black history month and streets after MLK then why not the plate? Are they still scared of the past? Why the double standard?

    February 16, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  4. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    "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."

    HITLER "was a historical figure," but not fit for any kind of proud recognition in any country in the world.
    Trent Lott ended up RESIGNING for comments he made about Strom Thurmond and while reprehensible, the thoughts and actions of Thurmond PALE in comparison to those of Nathan Bedford Forrest,

    Anything short of repudiation seems like an embrace. Try and run for President (in a general election) with this hanging around your neck – and we shouldn't have had to ASK you to do it, you should have been WAY out in front of this.

    February 16, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  5. Taioseach

    Well Mr. Barbour, I'd save your money in 2012. I really hope you've enjoyed your term as governor of the Mississippi because that ride is going to come to an end too. Then you can be judged in the history books right along with Nathan

    What's the old joke, "what has 4 eyes and cannot see?" "Mississippi."

    February 16, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  6. Marie MD

    It's not going to happen? Do you have anything meaningful to say besides this racis bigot was a historical figure. If you had your say you would join the VA governor and its attorney general to bring back the ole south! Just remember . . . . . . you lost the war!!! GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!
    barbour probably has pictures of forrest on his wall because birds of a feather block together. It doesn't matter that it's been years.

    February 16, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  7. duke

    Good job Barbour
    Don't anger your racist base

    February 16, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Name

    A racist governor. The best gift the Democrats could as for. HOpe he gets the party nomination from the Republicans. Birds of a feather

    February 16, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. informed voter

    Unbelievable! This character refuses to denounce a know racist, hate and fear monger, and still thinks he has a shot at the presidency? Barbour is a bigger fool that I thought. Unfortunately, his ill informed, racist base will applaud this nonsense. Thanks goodness there are enough educated, progressive, enlightened voters who won't let this excuse for a politician anywhere near hight office.

    February 16, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  10. Golden Girl

    Of course not; he wouldn't dare upset his precious KKK followers.

    February 16, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. CalDude

    As a life long Republican, I continue to be pushed from the GOP by racial bigots, homophobes and religious idealogues.

    February 16, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Considering the amount of minority voters and the amount of whites who feel ashamed because of the color of their skin this guy doesn't stand a chance.

    February 16, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  13. MARKPAIN

    The Ku Klux Klan is the largest terrorist organization ever to exist. Supposedly responsible for 10,000 deaths in 1930`s alone and still totally legal to join or support in the United States of America. Haley Barbour may even say that he thinks the kkk is a "bunch of good ol` boys" just like Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (r) when he was a U.S magistrate.

    February 16, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  14. blaqmajik

    I hope this guy does run, how about a Barbour/Palin ticket. That would secure Obama for 4 more years.

    February 16, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  15. ZACK

    I wonder how popular an Adolph Hitler plate would go over in Germany?.. He is an "Historical Figure".. Why not create a James Earl Ray plate instead?..

    February 16, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. Former Republican - Now Independent

    If you don't denounce it then you are for it.

    Remember the old dictum, "Silence denotes assent."

    February 16, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. Herm Roeben

    KKK lic Plate in Miss, Fine by me after all Don't we have a Martin luther King holiday and a postage stamp to honor his history for equal rights of the back man.

    February 16, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. Roadrage

    Awesome. He also should have announced that he has not shot at winning the presidency in 2012. Some of the GOP might be OK with the racist antics that this guy plays up.. the the majority of the US is not.

    February 16, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. Keenan

    Yeah Barbour just come on out and say you support the KKK and the contributions of such hate groups to America.

    February 16, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  20. Monster Zero

    What are we supposed to do, ignore history that were subject to the events of the day in which they took place? Besides wasn't Thomas Jefferson a slaver, does the NAACP wish to denounce Thomas Jefferson also?

    February 16, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  21. Lee

    "I don;t go around denouncing people." CNN, please exhume that remark when he starts campaining and denounces the President from here to Baton Rouge.

    February 16, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  22. Eric Bonner

    I lived and worked in Mississippi fpr 24 years in Pascagoula where they still have a «whites only» swimming pool. I am not surprised of this refusal at all but respect him for not hiding his true feeling. Silence is consent.

    February 16, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
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