Barbour calls on Republicans to unite behind eventual nominee
June 17th, 2011
02:59 PM ET
7 years ago

Barbour calls on Republicans to unite behind eventual nominee

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour exhorted Republicans on Friday to put their ideological differences aside and rally around their eventual presidential nominee with the goal of defeating President Barack Obama in 2012.

"We are not going to have a perfect candidate," Barbour told the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. "There has only been one perfect person that has ever walked on this earth and there's not going to be one who runs for president in 2012."

Barbour, who seriously considered a presidential bid of his own but decided against running, urged Republicans not to "get hung up on purity." Democrats, he said, are eager to see Republicans squabble among themselves and open the door for President Obama to win re-election.

"In politics, purity is a loser," said Barbour, long regarded as one of the GOP's top strategists. Whoever wins the nomination, he said, will be "many multiples better than Barack Obama."

Barbour said the current rifts within the party - divisions that pit populist-minded candidates against those backed by the GOP establishment - are nothing new.

He told reporters after his speech that Americans want a president with "plain-spoken, common sense solutions," not an ideologue.

"People want a president who gets things done," he said. "They are tired of happy talk."

Barbour also said he expects other Republicans to join the 2012 race, a departure from the emerging consensus in Washington just weeks ago that the GOP field was settled.

Of course, that was before Sarah Palin's bus tour, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign implosion and the sudden emergence of Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a credible potential candidate.

Barbour said there is a chance Perry will run and said he "would be a serious candidate" if he decides to join the nomination fight.

"I think people have several weeks to consider running, whether or not to run," Barbour said. "Obviously the better known, or the more access to resources a candidate has, the later that candidate can wait. I think there is still plenty of time and I think there are likely to be other candidates."

Asked if Palin could raise the kind of money to be competitive, Barbour chuckled in agreement.

"She could raise enough money to burn a wet mule," he said.

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I think old "mush mouth" needs to focus on Mississippi because anyone would be "multiple times better than Barbour".

    June 17, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. glenda

    I agree and let nominee be SARAH PALIN 2012.

    June 17, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. gt

    this one is a no brainer.... the voters will vote for who ever will get the jobs going...

    June 17, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    "There has only been one perfect person that has ever walked on this earth and there's not going to be one who runs for president in 2012."
    And HE condemned the "money changers", and helped the less fortunate. Too bad the republicans forgot that. They also forgot that ONE of the big 10 rules is "THOU SHALT NOT LIE".

    June 17, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Isn't gluttony one of the 7 deadly sins? If so, Barber and Christie are in deeeeeep doo doo in the here-after. ha ha ha

    June 17, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    It's impossible to get anything done with the 'HELL NO CAUCUS" we have in DC at this time.

    June 17, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. S. In California - Obama 2012

    "There has only been one perfect person that has ever walked on this earth and there's not going to be one who runs for president in 2012."

    For ONCE I agree with this ignoramus and the republican party is so dysfunctional they can't even produce an imperfect candidate because they are ALL FAILURES. They are beyond ANY help.

    June 17, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. NVa Native

    This guy is gross, do the Repubs not get it? Nothing more disturbing than a slovenly old white guy telling you what is right & wrong talking hill-billy jibberish through his jiggling jowels. Nasty.

    June 17, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Texas Doc

    Yeah, he's right we should all get behind what's his name!

    June 17, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. kakaraka

    Really? Any republican nominee better than President Obama? Really? What planet are you living in Barbor? Keep your out of touch with the american people ideas and opinions for yourself. Nobody is buying it.

    June 17, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. Ex-Republican

    I guess Barbour was not multiples better than President Obama, whatever the heck that means.

    June 17, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Shadysider

    The article indicates a rift, but there isn't really one between the populists and the establishment in the GOP. Both call for lowering taxes, removing regulation, cutting entitlements (which we actually do need to address in reform if nothing else), reducing the debt (while not admitting the need to use increased tax dollars to cut into it) and almost exclusively an ultra conservative view on social issues. The only rift I see between the two is the personality. The populists are all "Obama is worst president ever!111! Liberals!!!", while the establishment is more tasteful and nuanced about their critique, concerning themselves with the issues rather than going for the demonizing of the individuals they disagree with. Personally I can't stand the inane partisanship, so the establishment would get my vote. There is a rift, though. It's between the conservatives and libertarians. This is where you actually see a difference in position. Libertarians realize the need for a reduced spending on the military (see Russia's Afghani escapade), no funding for special interests, and equal rights for gay couples (if not the title of marriage – Ron Paul). They were the ones looking for fiscal responsibility before it became cool to be so. (See how social conservatives took over tea parties) Gary Johnson is the best example of this, and his record as New Mexico governor shows he can run a state with fiscal responsibility. When I compare Romney to Johnson, Johnson is the real deal, while Romney panders for votes and support. Ron Paul has the infrastructure and support to take the libertarian vote this time around, so Johnson may have to wait for 2016, but he is the guy fiscal conservatives, independents and moderates should be looking at.

    June 17, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Biggge

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, enough said.....So it sounds like he wants them to be a puppet...

    June 17, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Don't worry Haley...Nobody is going to let Obama have a cakewalk into a second term. Another 4 years of massive unemployment and 1.5 TRILLION deficits will sink the country. We'll be another Greece, only worse.

    June 17, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    Too bad Barbour wasn't American enough to call for the Republican Party to get behind it's new President on January 21,2009.

    I literally remember the "one-term President" & "We will work to make him fail" comments comming from Mitch McConnell and others in February of that year. Barack Obama hadn't been in office for 3 weeks and they were plotting his demise. I'm sorry but there is no way that was "based on his policies".

    I CAN NOT reward the GOP for this obstructionist behavior by putting them back in the Whitehouse. My conscience won't allow it.

    June 17, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. JasonP

    Uh, I am pretty sure Jesus Christ would have a problem being called "perfect". He knew he was anything but.

    June 17, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. kayla

    you don't say'! dream on

    June 17, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. OneMoreTime

    Cute one, Haley. "... could raise enough money to burn a wet mule." Since you like all those sayin's how about
    "Tell the truth and shame the Devil". More appropriate for your bunch of hounds, dontcha think?

    June 17, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. Jake

    good luck on that one!
    the GOP will sadly end up with a divisive figure that has zero interest in attempting to bring the country together. their God, their church, their religion is better than everyone else's! and that is how they plan to govern and lead.

    June 17, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    "There has only been one perfect person that has ever walked on this earth."

    Well Haley, that rules you or Rush out.

    June 17, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Name king

    These repugs are like zombies lining up under one banner without varying from their talking points. They will say these lines no matter what the situation or if their a hint of truth to them. It worked to decimate the dems in the house and state government last election, and they think it will work this time also. Because they think americans are very gullible and all they need to do is say their talking points as much as possible over and over again, and the Americans people will fall for it every time, no matter if their personal interest is at stake. I am very worried. I've got to find this mass illusion psychologist that these repugs are using.

    June 17, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. logic in LA

    Gee Haley- how about determining WHO is running in the primaries before asking for unity? Kind of putting the cart before the horse aren't you? But maybe that's conservative politics- like cutting taxes before cutting spending- this way all you have is more debt!

    June 17, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. boocat

    Just another fat white conservative moron.....NEXT!!!

    June 17, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. anotherGDlefty

    Translation: Yeah, we're going to put up a complete loon but it's your duty as a "real 'murican" to vote for the guy with an (R) after his name if you want the black guy gone....

    Good luck with that one Haley.

    June 17, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Squigman

    Yes. Regardless, of how dimented, mentally challenged, hateful, or just plain stupid the candidate is, unite. The nation is of no consequence, just party politics as usual. Keep showing this pile of puke, it makes me more and more determined to vote for any party, not claiming to be republican.

    June 17, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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