April 11th, 2010
01:38 PM ET
13 years ago

Barbour diplomatic about Steele, Palin

(CNN) – A leading Republican is being diplomatic when it comes to the fate of two of the most prominent and controversial members of his party.

In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was diplomatic when asked about Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“I expect him to be head of the party for the rest of his term,” Barbour, himself a former RNC chair, told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

For the past two weeks, Steele has been embroiled in a controversy over the RNC’s spending and his stewardship of the national party committee. In a recent interview, Steele, who is the RNC’s first African-American chairman, likened himself to President Obama and suggested that both he and the president have “a slimmer margin” for error because of their race.

Asked about Steele’s remark, Barbour said he did not believe Steele was being held to a higher standard because of the color of his skin.

“That's like me saying I think I'm held to the higher standard because I'm a fat redneck with an accent like this,” Barbour said, making a joking reference to his stereotypical Southern drawl. “The fact of the matter is in that job, people are judged by results and that's just the way it is. It's the way it was for me, it's the way it was for everybody since then.”

Barbour added that he does not believe it is right for any former GOP chair to criticize the current chairman.

And the Mississippi governor was equally diplomatic about former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

“Do you think she's qualified to be president right now?,” asked Crowley. “Do you think she’s had the background and the experience if she does run to be qualified for the job?”

“Well, of course, I didn't think President Obama had the background experience to be qualified, so the fact of the matter is, she is legally qualified, and after that it's up to the American people,” Barbour said. “Just like it was for Senator Obama, now President Obama.”

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Sandy SC

    Sarah Palin qualified for President. Well if this is the case I hope you people have a lot of men and women to fight wars because that is what we will have if she get any closer to the White House. If you Republicans would do your job and stop selling the US short then maybe we will be better off as a nation.

    April 11, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. catmomtx

    Heaven forbid a Republican is actually honest and calls Sarah Palin out . Everyone knows that Republicans are only using Palin and Steele. Neither will ever be allowed to do anything more than they are doing. Noticed how he said she is legally qualified. That means that she is never going to be a nominee for President, she isn't smart enough. We see how they at least shut down Michelle Bachmann on the census. Do you think they could possibly point out the hypocrisy in Steele and Palin? Nope, never, they think ALL Americans are stupid. They think that despite the American people overwhelmingly rejecting them in 2006 and 2008 that they still speak for the American people. Would somebody please tell them that the American people rejected them in Nov.08 and elected President Barack Obama as President of the United States. Republicans, Palin, Steele and the rest of the right wing Obama haters do not speak for the American people. The American people have spoken loud and clear.

    April 11, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Joe

    Crowley should also ask the very simple question "is OBAMA qualified to be the president?"

    April 11, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |

    He has no right to say anything about Palin. Palin only stands up for the truth. The reason the OBAMA followerers critizize her. Stupidly trying to make fun of her is simply because they're scared to death of her knowing that she will destroy the one who walks on water while he's selling America down the river. Come 2012 PALIN WILL OVERCOME.

    April 11, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. PalmReader

    Barbour and diplomatic should NEVER be used in the same sentence . . . fat, redneck- hick, yes. But diplomat – no.

    Not now, not ever.

    April 11, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. John in Tampa

    Admit it, Barbour. She won't be qualified until she gets to Oz and gets a brain. But I am glad you can joke about yourself, if that wasn't some kind of bragging. I do hope you realize fat rednecks are meant to invite the lowest standards rather than the highest, and that you have not disappointed.

    April 11, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Well we already know Barbour certainly isn't qualified to be governor so one can expect him to say Palin is qualiied. I guess Palin is more qualified than Romney.

    April 11, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Charles W. Skinner

    I love all the Democrat voters and commentators that love to criticize Gov. Palin for not having sufficient experience to be President, and then have to turn around and justify why it's OK for Pres. Obama, who has EVEN LESS EXPERIENCE to have been elected President. It warms my heart to see that level of hypocrisy, and the Democrat party WILL pay for it in November, as it has been symptomatic of their entire governance in power since January of 2007.

    April 11, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Josh

    Haley are you afraid to make a comment on those two morons? These two are the most vile people in the republican party. Please tell those two to tone down the venomous comments that they are making about our president.

    April 11, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. pam

    if they think that palin could be president, that means that the gop really needs help because they are about to fall off the cliff forever

    April 11, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Suman1938

    On the face of it, Barbour's reply may look as if he is avoiding giving a forthright reply to the question. But even the little of what he says tells a lot about his mind. 1. He wants to play both sides. If he had a favorable opinion he did not want to antagonize those hedid not and vice versa. 2. Such persons always join the bandwagon. Therefore his vacillating reply indicates he does not think there is a bandwagon one way or the other yet. 3. At the same time het wants to placat the gorgeous governor – hence her comparison with Obama. Who would not like to be compared with the President of the USA! A curt reply that he did not want to comment would have been construed as an offensive stance. While driving, a car passed a house painted red and a politician sitting inside the car was asked, 'Did you see the house painted red?" He responded: "At least on this side." 'Sheer Opportunism' does not have a better definition nor 'Ddiarrhea of the Mouth'.

    April 11, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |