April 11th, 2010
01:49 PM ET
13 years ago

Gov: Concern over slavery omission 'doesn't amount to diddly'

(CNN) – The Republican governor of Mississippi thinks the recent controversy over honoring the Confederacy in Virginia “doesn’t amount to diddly.”

Last week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, backtracked and admitted that he’d made a mistake when he declared April Confederate History Month with a proclamation that made no mention of slavery. The proclamation “contained a major omission,” McDonnell said.

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 in a written statement. The governor also announced that his proclamation would be amended to mention slavery and call it “an evil and inhumane practice.”

Asked about the controversy in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he didn’t think McDonnell made a mistake in issuing the original proclamation.

Later: Barbour 'defended the indefensible,' DNC says

Barbour noted that Mississippi’s Democratically-controlled legislature has enacted Confederate Memorial Day, a statewide holiday, and that he and his predecessors in both parties have issued proclamations regarding the holiday.

“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.”

Responding to concerns that McDonnell’s omission of any mention of slavery 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.”

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. M I Dasneves

    There you go... the Rep Gov. of Mississippi doesn't think that slavery is (or wasn't) a big deal... I do hope he's up for election in the Fall... his constituency should let him know how THEY feel.

    April 11, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. T'SAH from Virginia

    Why is it, that every RepubliCAN'T interviewed on TV has a DEEP SOUTHERN accent?

    "Responding to concerns that McDonnell’s omission of any mention of slavery 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.”"

    Actually, the word is "diddly squat"!! I am so glad every time the RepubliCAN'Ts open their mouth, they put their foot in it!!! This man is a few French Fries short in a Happy Meal!!! What the heck is he saying??

    April 11, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. steven harnack

    Yeah, slavery is just a little nit, didn't mean much, just a minor blip on the history of America. I mean, who in the south even remembers that anyway? Wasn't the war between the states just some teabaggers fighting against the big bad government healthcare plan of 1860?

    April 11, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Ken

    My comments:
    1) Confederacy is part of US history- like it or not and the Confederacy played a valuable part in the development of WHO we are today
    2) If one takes the time to investigate about the war, slavery was an issue, not the overriding concern, i.e. states rights vs. federal rights, etc
    3) Yes, Virginia DOES have a right to propose this part of our history as a moment of reflection. Much of the war and sacrifices occurred on Virginia soil- both North and South- these are people who need to be remembered, not forgotten. the slaves should revel inthis as these momentous battles and sacrifices allowed them freedom!!!
    4) I am sorry and apologize for our president and others who are too tunnel visioned and who fail to see the dignitiy and the historical significance to his race(s) and why he is president today, because of those sacrifices in VIRGINIA!!!

    April 11, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Darnell

    If you were offended because McDonnell didn't mention slavery, then you were going to find a way to be offended if he had mentioned slavery.

    April 11, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Out Of Touch

    Barbour strikes me as one of those Southerners that thinks the Confederacy was somehow a noble thing.

    April 11, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. marlene

    I used to think Haley Barbour was a leader worth listening to when he spoke. Boy, I was wrong! Marlene in Mich

    April 11, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. jbakaregit


    Vote Democrat or Indepenent coem November.

    April 11, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. TonyH

    If Haley Barbour thinks that forgetting the part slavery played in the Confederacy is "a nit" or "not significant", then he's reverting to the kind of thinking that used to characterize the most repugnant aspects of his state. This kind of talk from a guy the Republicans are touting as a potential presidential candidate is something we should all remember if he actually runs.

    April 11, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Carmen, Miami FL

    Typical Republican politician, spouting BS without any thought behind the issue. Of course it's important that the VA governor left slavery out of the original proclamation! It's also important that his initial reaction after being called out for leaving slavery out was that it wasn't a big deal, just like Barbour is doing here. What a moron.

    But, again, he's a Republican politician. They don't tend to say anything intelligent or important, so I guess I shouldn't have expected better.

    April 11, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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