April 11th, 2010
10:58 PM ET
13 years ago

DNC: Barbour 'defended the indefensible'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/11/art.barbouriso0411.cnn.jpg caption=" Gov. Haley Barbour's comments 'portrayed a Republican mindset that is not only out of touch with this century, but the last one as well,' a spokesman for the DNC said Sunday."]
Washington (CNN) – With the nation’s first African-American president occupying the Oval Office, the South’s Confederate history is ensnaring a second Republican governor in as many weeks in a controversy over how the nation ought to remember the institution of slavery.

Trying to defend a fellow Southern Republican governor, Mississippi’s Haley Barbour drew fire from the Democratic National Committee, which issued a statement Sunday after an interview with Barbour aired on CNN’s State of the Union.

Earlier: Concern of slavery omission 'doesn't amount to diddly,' says Barbour

“I don’t know what you would say about slavery,” Barbour told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, “but anybody who thinks that slavery is a bad thing – I think goes without saying.”

Barbour was explaining his belief that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell had not made a mistake in omitting any mention of slavery from a recent proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month in his state.

Responding to allegations that McDonnell’s omission was insensitive, Barbour said, “To me, it's a sort of feeling that it's a nit. That it is not significant, that it's not a – it's trying to make a big deal out of something doesn't amount to diddly.”

The DNC slammed Barbour for the remarks.

"Governor Barbour defended the indefensible this morning and in doing so portrayed a Republican mindset that is not only out of touch with this century, but the last one as well,” DNC national press secretary Hari Sevugan said in a written statement. “To say that the systematic condemnation of millions to bondage and generation upon generation to servitude is ‘not significant,’ or that the tearing apart of families and the selling of human beings as cattle ‘doesn't amount to diddly’ is outrageous for any public official to say, let alone a man Republicans have placed in a position of leadership.”

Sevugan added, “These comments are unacceptable and should be universally condemned in the strongest terms. A failure to do so will send a strong message to all Americans that Republicans endorse Governor Barbour's sentiments and are content not only to be left behind in another century, but that they deserve to be a small regional party in the permanent minority “

Last week, McDonnell announced that he was amending his proclamation to refer to slavery and call it “an evil and inhumane practice.”

Related: McDonnell apologizes for initial proclamation

"The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed," McDonnell said last week.

Filed under: DNC • Extra • GOP • Haley Barbour • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. daniels

    Maybe the best thing to do when the DNC plays the race card for political points is to ignore it. I know, I'm going to get slammed for my "insensitivity" and called every name in the DNC Book because of the above opinion.

    April 11, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Teckniquez

    WOW......He is a idiot

    April 11, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. stephen Pagnozzi

    It just goes on and on with the Republicans, they have turned into a party that has parochial views on just about everything and it spills into ignorance. While I understand the Confederacy has its place in history,(I don't think anyone will deny that!), its really abhorent that this governor would place emphasis on slavery from the get go. Slavery was a major issue and there is no denying that, although, to the Republicans, it doesn't make for much news! (Surprise, surprise!). Its sad to see this party go so far to the right that at this time in our country's history, they make absolutely no sense to whatever views they hold.

    April 11, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Bob

    Well, there you go again. Another off the wall comment from one of the leaders of the new Nationalist White People's Party. Slavery was "diddly" indeed...just how many northern Republicans, the party of Lincoln, men died to keep the Union together? This man is beneath contempt.

    April 11, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. Carol

    Who can say such a thing that salavery doesnt mean diddly. People like that should not be in office. I live in Va maybe the worst state but now Missisippi is a close first.

    April 11, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  6. MJM

    Yes, slavery was a very bad thing and yes we are very glad that God ended it. But it is over with. The only salvery that people are in now is the ones that they keep themsleves in. If you are still crying over slavery, then you are the ones that are keeping you there. There have been a lot of things happen to me but I refuse to let myself stay there. Forgive and let go!!!

    April 11, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. I am Newt Limebaugh

    AND all of this comes as a surprise from a Mississippi governor. I am not surprised..nor am I appalled....all of this talk is how these heathens realy feel. It runs deep in their blood...besides it allowsthem to pander to their base and gaon political favor.

    The South is trying to rise again....What a pitiful sight....maybe Fox News will move its headquarters there.

    I never dreamed that the South could dredgr up old hate...but even i underestimated how far a political hack can go

    April 11, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. LC in CA

    The whole history of slavery sucks, that is true. But in the global historic context, the US was only one of most Euro-influenced countries that traded in human lives. Slavery has been around for thousands of years, and was the backbone of that fine "Greek" system of democracy that allowed the rich to rule while their slaves did the dirty work. No one in my lifetime that I know of has owned a legal slave in the United States, (although some marital relationships might fall under that broad definition.) That being said, slavery is still an evil in the world, with the sale of children into bondage, girls into marriage, and other abominations of human behavior. I suggest the GOP start paying attention to the real world, and not to their own small, limited, and negative agenda of undermining the current party in power.

    April 11, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. CEE

    The Confederate soldiers were created because the south didn't want slavery to end, you can't have one without the other.

    April 11, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |

    Lets see how long it will take for the Republican leaders to criticize this idiot!

    April 11, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. Ann

    "With the nation’s first African-American president occupying the Oval Office, the South’s Confederate history is ensnaring a second Republican governor in as many weeks in a controversy over how the nation ought to remember the institution of slavery."

    Your first AA president has nothing in his past related to slavery.. other than maybe her mom's ancestors being slave owners? So, what's the point about bringing Mr. Obama in this discussion?

    April 11, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. Leftcoastblue

    Those who seek to minimize the evil of slavery may as well come out in outright defense of it.

    Barbour and McDonnell are typical of attitudes that still inform the Southern mindset. Flying their souvenir Confederate flags and pining for the "good ol' days" - when blacks knew their place and worked the fields for Boss Hog.

    It is sickening to see these descendants of traitors promote nostalgia for the South's treasonous secession and for the subjugation of our fellow humans in bondage.

    April 11, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. cc

    Barbour is a racist.

    April 11, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. Alert Citizen

    We do not have any racism in this country! LOL

    April 11, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. NotALemming

    Maybe we should be getting over something that happened 150 years ago, already. Geesh!

    April 11, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Seestar

    I praey for those people. I hope in your heart you will find to forgive yourself and for those people who had opresed and discrimnate aganst God given skin. Trust me some some day you will be juged the mesure

    April 11, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. DJ

    Did you feel that? I think it was Lincoln rolling in his grave.

    April 11, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Aaron

    Dems are getting right up there with the Repubs for twisting things around for political purposes. It's very sad.

    April 11, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. ariveria

    once again everybody misses the point of the so called civil war. until post wwii it was called what it really was the war of the rebellion.

    it was not about slavery. it was not about states rights. it was about the survival of the united states of america.

    the conservative states rights people of that time just like the conservative states right people of today want to destroy the good ole us of a.

    there is no difference between confederate history month, nazi history month, communist russia history month, and al qaeda history month.

    April 11, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. CJ/PA

    I'm starting to think that maybe the entire South should secede from the Union!! That way, they can fly their Confederate flags, engage in open bigotry, preach hate, carry guns, and wear hoods all they want, and even celebrate Jefferson Davis's birthday. What an outragious statement indeed from Haley Barbour. He certainly showed his true colors, and I, for one, am sickened by it!

    April 11, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  21. Curt

    Why don't these guys just wait until Texas rewrites U.S. history and removes slavery along with Thomas Jefferson? After they rewrite our past to fit their wants the slavery issue will be over and done with. Wait for it Repub’s, the revisionists are coming to save you, just like they did with Stalin.

    April 11, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. sc coast gal

    I know for a fact that this kind of inexcusable attitude towards the horrors of slavery is still very real. It's simply wrong to trivialize the atrocities committed by the Confederacy. Hopefully, the good people of Mississippi will acknowledge that fact and vote Barbour out of office as soon as possible.

    April 11, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. Bill

    Didn't President Abraham Lincoln (R), Illinois, abolish slavery many years ago?

    April 11, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. Caribbean Reader

    The DNC, once again, is playing the "race card" against the republicans for the 2010 election. Gov. Barbour is right. No one in his/her right mind would support slavery in the 21st century. The proclamation by the governor of Virginia was only meant as a way to attract tourism to his state. He conceded that it was mistaken in the way that slavery was not mentioned and that ought to be enough. As usual, the DNC is trying to make a storm in a glass of water. They sure don't care when Sen. Harry Reid says some stupidity. Hipocricy of the highest caliber.

    April 11, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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