Top Barbour aide resigns amid controversy
March 14th, 2011
09:50 PM ET
7 years ago

Top Barbour aide resigns amid controversy

(CNN) - The press secretary for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour resigned Monday after Politico reported that Dan Turner wrote internal e-mails poking fun at former Attorney General Janet Reno, and that he made insensitive jokes about the earthquake in Japan.

"Gov. Haley Barbour has accepted Dan Turner's resignation as Press Secretary. Laura Hipp will now serve in that capacity," a statement for the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate said.

The e-mails, which were a compilation of the day's press clippings, historical notes, and apparent jokes, were circulated within and outside of Barbour's official government office and were obtained by Politico. One shows that last Friday, Turner purportedly wrote, "Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for his single, (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay. (Not a big hit in Japan right now.)"

In another e-mail, Turner supposedly wrote that when Janet Reno was confirmed to become the first female attorney general, "It took longer to confirm her gender than to confirm her law license."

Earlier e-mails also attained by Politico out Turner writing, "1982 – Jamaica issued a Bob Marley commemorative stamp. (Actually, it was a combination stamp and tiny rolling paper.)"

In another, Turner made a jab at Cambodian genocide . He wrote, "1998 – Khmer Rouge leaders apologized for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed 1 million lives. ('Oops. My bad,' hardly seems sincere.)"

According to Politico, Turner vouched for Barbour's lack of awareness to the controversial jokes, stating that his boss only receives a printed copy of the clips, not the entire e-mail.

- CNN's Laura Klairmont and Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: Haley Barbour
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. OneMoreTime

    Barbour can claim innocence on the knowledge of these e-mail "jokes" all he wants. I don't believe it. There are
    too many out there and no one, not one person told him? Then they are all not loyal to him, or he knew it. I believe
    that he knew, and they all got caught. Disgusting is too simple a word for this. Prayers for Japan.

    March 14, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. Indy

    Barbour currently has 1% approval rating amongst Republicans so I am not expecting this to be any threat to his support base of two people.

    March 14, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |

    GOP leadership at its best.

    March 14, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    Every politician/aide should realize by now that they are NEVER not seen, not heard or not noticed!!! If they are NOT smart enough to realize that – they should not represent someone who's running or run themselves for public office!!

    I think the AIDES represent the Politician therefore, BOTH of them should have "resigned"!!

    March 14, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. AnaHadWolves

    Once again, Republicans poke fun at those not within their ultra-small circle and clique. Making fun of Asians, Ms. Reno's gender, Africans and anyone not exactly like them demonstrates an appalling lack of empathy, intelligence, sympathy and kindness. The "good ol' boy" Republicans are exactly as we see them: racist, homophobic, xenophobic and jingoistic...hardly the qualities America needs to have exhibited by politicians in this multi-cultural and complex society and world.

    Tea Partiers Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and Haley Barbour plus the rest of that miserable cabal of misanthropes are hardly the best representatives of this pluralistic America. Those who vote for them or defend them are enablers, or worse.

    March 14, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  6. steven harnack

    Mean spirited seems to be the only thing that makes Republicans laugh.

    March 14, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Turner's the kind of people Barbour would pick to SPEAK for him?!? There's no way Barbour wasn't aware of Turner's character ... I'm sure he talks like this in private all the time ...

    The fact that Dan Turner has done this so many times proves that he's a dirt bag ...

    March 14, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. Thomas

    A republican made insensitive jokes about the pain and suffering of others??!! How shocking and totally unprecedented!!*

    *sarcasm was heavily implied.

    March 14, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. Proud member of "Globesl Zero"

    He may as well save money now and bow out. There is no way this backwards hick will get the nomination. I will work hard to re-elect the president in 2012. Yes, he has disappointed me on many fronts but it is the best we can get right now. On the other hand,, the rep from NJ that beat Watson will be my next choice for 2016. I just watched that man on TV and he is very smart.

    March 14, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  10. shane

    Well. Who's surprised? Thousands of people dead in Japan. 1 million murdered in Cambodia. It's all good. As long as millionaires and billionaires keep stealing money from the middle class! Hooray for the GOP!!!

    March 14, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  11. thomas

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour replied ,I'm talking about Grits and Pickled Pigs feet, putting Sugar on everything, KOOL-AID!!

    March 14, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. Keith

    Wow. A conservative making callous remarks about the misfortunes of others. What a shock.

    March 14, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. Debbie from Arizona

    I do not believe that Barbour was unaware of these E-mails. This seems just the sort of sick and tasteless humor that Barbour would enjoy.

    March 14, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  14. Billy Davis

    My woman is Cambodian and the things she saw as a teenager and the pain her family experienced is no laughing matter. Turner is a classless imbecile that Barbour is fully aware of. That's like saying I have no clue of what type of jokes people I work with make at dinner, lunch in the office etc.

    March 14, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  15. LouAz

    Hey, as Haley remembered it, "It wasn't so bad."

    March 14, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  16. Seattle Sue

    Boss Hogg sure surrounds himself with nice people. Boss Hogg should just stay Governor of Miss. The bottom ranking of all the states.

    March 14, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  17. NoObama

    That is so stupid... I say those jokes everyday... but if it would have been a liberal everyone would be laughing!

    March 14, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  18. Squigman

    Hard to imagine anything this antiquated and extinct could actually have a place of authority in a modern world. Go Away.

    March 14, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  19. Michael

    Mockery of better people than himself...stereotyping others who differ from himself...joking about human suffering, disaster, and genocide...sounds like a good ole GOPer to me. Typical fare.

    March 14, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  20. Gene Ellison

    My gosh, get a sense of humor. That's funny stuff!

    March 14, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  21. kravitz

    Heck, I'd fire the guy because he broke through several national stories and tanked Barbour's presidential (never really had a) chance.

    March 15, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. Patrick

    Ah yes...yet another "family values" Republican" who's arrogance and xenophobia clouds his judgment. Who wants to bet this guy also has a "wide stance" to go along with his compassion and empathy?

    March 15, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  23. Patrick

    At least he can go get a job writing for Jay Leno now........Boo-Yaa

    March 15, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  24. kent bowen

    This guy is an idiot. Period. Nuff said.

    March 15, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  25. Ken in NC

    This is the least of what we can expect coming from the White House if this man is elected President.

    March 15, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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