June 23rd, 2009
03:10 PM ET
12 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. with the GOP, they should pay him to run

    I would NOT want to be a part of that organization, what a bunch of misfits, and answerable to a bunch of radio talk show entertainers

    with any luck Palin will run

    June 23, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. tedious898

    Who would be his running mate anyway....Pontius Pilate maybe?

    Listen, the GOP needs to wonder in the wilderness a bit longer until they actually come to the table with good ideas and actually start governing with respect and civility

    June 23, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Pround Democrat

    Gee, Obama must be relieved he doesn't have to run against Haley Barbour!

    June 23, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. spudmctater

    I can't even imagine a nation that just elected Barack Obama as president would then turn around and put someone like Hayley Barbour in the White House.

    June 23, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. G

    I feel like the Republicans need a younger, fresher candidate who is more libertarian socially (can be socially conservative but not impose that on other people) but fiscally conservative (lower taxes, much lower spending and balanced budget). That combination would really capture the sentiment of the majority of the nation. Unfortunately, Obama is a great orator but has proven early to be fiscally irresponsible with spending and planned healthcare spending foreshadows large potential tax increases. We need change from this course before our economy is permanently damaged.

    June 23, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Janice in Mississippi

    "But first-things-first. This year, and 2010, is first-things. Let's tend to those and then we'll see about 2012."

    He had better tend to Mississippi and it's citizens.

    What about that 30 million dollars Barbour? ? ? ?

    June 23, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Wish just one time one of these southern hypocrits would have a picture in their white sheet. We know who you are.

    June 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    We should all be so lucky. Just what the country needs – another pontificating Republican who has all the answers but doesn't even know the questions.

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Sick -n- Tired

    I'm from New Hampshire and I don't want you here! Hows that! Oh and John Sununu was one of the worst govenors this state ever had! I remember it well.

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. T

    Oh, I'm sure once he goes to one of the rallies or whatever, he'll decide to run along with Sanford, Palin and the weird Louisiana govorner.

    Don't kid yourself

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Peter E

    Yet another hypocrite governor who grandstands about rejecting millions in stimulus, while keeping quiet about the fact that he still accepted BILLIONS in that funding. So much for 'fiscal conservative!'

    June 23, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. yuri

    Hey Barbour-

    Take it easy, man! Too many cooks spoil the broth, as happens every term during the primaries.

    June 23, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Michigan

    Not even maybe....!

    June 23, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Eileen

    That "good old boys" day has come and gone – he has no chance of becoming president. Why do reps keep looking back at these old school southern boys? Still living in the 80's hoping for the reincarnation of Reagan. Good luck with that.

    June 23, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. David

    Never is a good choice.

    June 23, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Film Professor

    Oh, yeah. The new face of the Republican Party, Haley Barbour of Mississippi. Now that's hilarious.

    And who's his VP? Rush? Ann Coulter? I could make a whole stand up comedy routine out of this.

    June 23, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Lee in TN

    Thankfully, this guy is not running for president. He like so many others in his party (Sanford, Jindal, McConnell, Boehner, Corker, etc.) have always demonstrated their drive to put politics over the needs of the people they represent.

    June 23, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Obama Victim

    Let's review............White, Christian, Conservative....put me down as a "yes"

    June 23, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Brian

    As a midwesterner, I'm tempted to take offense that the only reason CNN can think of a politician of visiting a "flyover" state is presidential campaigning...

    As someone who understands the importance of sincerity in leadership, I'm glad he's doing the duty to his party even though he thinks it's not leading him to a band playing Hail to the Chief. Makes him that much more worthy of the noimination were he actually to be nominated

    June 23, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. G SMITH PA

    There are many Republicas that are better than any Democrat, especially the one in office now. A big win for Republicans in 2010 and 2012. It is time to get back capitalism and destroy the socialists I mean the Democrats

    June 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Frank, Las Vegas

    This great news, just what the GOP needs to run, another good 'ol boy, an old white man from the south. How original. Does anyone think the GOP will ever get it? 21% and falling fast.

    June 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    He wouldn't stand a chance in hell of winning. A Tennessee republican. What a joke.

    June 23, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Tim

    In stead of where’s Waldo, where’s S.C Governor Mark Sanford? He should be fired or he should resign!!! If you say that’s harsh, try leaving your job for a few days without telling your employer. Bet you he or she won’t say “hey, no big deal, you just needed a few days off”!!!

    June 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Gary SC

    And if we change some laws we can get another failed republican govenor to run, what do you think Arnold.
    The republicans stack the deck with losers. You'd better set another pre requisit for candidates. Being a failed govenor won't cut it.
    Bobby, Sarah, the lost soul Marc and now this guy. Oh yeah, and that fool from Texas.

    June 23, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Glennis

    Uh, Dutch; he's from Mississippi. You didn't read the article? Now I think I see how a flim flam artist like Obama got elected. People just made up their minds without knowing any of the facts.

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