June 23rd, 2009
03:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Barbour on 2012 decision: probably never

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.barbour.gi.jpg caption="Is Barbour considering a presidential bid?"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - When a leading Republican public official visits New Hampshire and Iowa back-to-back, it sparks speculation of a 2012 run for the Republican presidential nomination. And that's exactly what Haley Barbour's doing this week. But the Mississippi governor is playing down talk of presidential politics.

Barbour speaks at a state GOP fundraising event in New Hampshire tomorrow. New Hampshire traditionally holds the first primary in the race for the White House. Thursday, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee attends a fundraiser in Iowa for that state's GOP. The Iowa caucuses kick of the presidential primary season.

To top it off, Barbour campaigned Monday in Virginia with Bob McDonnell, the state's gubernatorial candidate. The contests for Virginia and New Jersey's governorships are the two biggest political battles of the year.

But Barbour appears to be waving off presidential politics. At a news conference in Washington Tuesday, where he teamed up with House Republicans to discuss health care reform, Barbour was asked when he's going to make a decision on running for president.

"Probably never," said Barbour. "But, you know Gov. Sununu called me and said he'd like to have somebody come up to New Hampshire who wasn't running for president to talk about party building and I told him I'm your man."

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu is now the state's Republican Party chairman.

The official line on Barbour's travel is that his trips are in his role as a prominent GOP leader and as the vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Next year, Barbour takes over as RGA chairman.

According to one of Barbour's longtime political confidantes, a 2012 run could be in the cards. But the adviser noted that Barbour is also a political junkie: as a former party chairman, he enjoys meeting with state parties and new candidates around the country to talk about upcoming elections.

"I think Haley is probably like a lot of other governors and senators who think, 'I could be that guy or gal who could lead the party,' and it may be that Haley is the person," said the confidante, who requested anonymity to speak freely about Barbour's ambitions. "But first-things-first. This year, and 2010, is first-things. Let's tend to those and then we'll see about 2012."

Filed under: Haley Barbour • Mississippi
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Kathy

    Pleas... Just what we needed another Old White Guy from the South.

    June 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Karki

    He need to focus in his state before running the president. The poeple in Mississippi are still have many problems after Hurricane.

    June 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Noah from Chicago

    Does CNN really think this is a story? This guy can NEVER win! Obama could fail and mess things up on a grand scale still and win in a landslide if this is the best the GOP can do.

    I mean just look at him!

    June 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. truthsayer

    He doesnt stand a ghost of a chance.....the GOP can kiss the White house goodbye for at least 20 years

    June 23, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Here are a few tips for the GOP. I should charge each and every one of you elephants for this. If you ever want to win the support of the American people again, you need to start doing the following:

    -Stop saying NO & look for compromises
    -Present a plan with actual numbers in it
    -Stop the partisan politics

    If you can accomplish those 3 goals in the next 18 months, you may have a chance of winning back some seats. The problem for most of you though is that you're just to stuck in your ways.

    June 23, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    Barber was the govenor of the state of Mississippi who did not expect taxpayers to pay for their party following Katrina as the N.O. bunch did, expecting their homes to be rebuilt as new fancy homes better than the average American lives in. (That was the attitude projected by refugees on all the networks. Mississippi took care of their own and were not crying for the feds to save them even though they took more damage than La. Bush may have failed but Barber was a Govenor after Katrina.

    June 23, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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