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. Mike in NYC

    But his craven apology amounts to a mountain's worth of lost respect and honor. He may not think so, but his opponents sure will.

    April 11, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Larry-hazleton, Pa

    Just shows how Mr Barbour thinks – he is a racist of the worst kind and should be remembered as such.

    April 11, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Opinions of insensitive republican governors from slave states don't amount to diddly.

    April 11, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. GrapesOfWrath

    As a liberal, white, Mississippian, I think that Gov. Barbour doesn't amount to diddly. Once again, he embarrasses our state on a national level. Just try to remember that there are plenty of intelligent and reasonable people in Miss. who are not idiots like Gov. Haley Barbour!

    April 11, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. rich

    Thank you Diddly Barbour.

    April 11, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. Perry

    It is disrepectful fools like this that make me wonder if we can ever be One Nation.

    April 11, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Sally

    Considering there are still many people who claim slavery had absolutely nothing to do with the civil War, I think the omission is much more than diddly or a nit. Those folks would feel vindicated in their beliefs. I think it's time everybody recognized the role slavery played in the war.

    April 11, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Olaf Big

    Barbour said "anybody who thinks that slavery is a bad thing – I think goes without saying". Can anybody tell me what this means? Obama maybe the most liberal president in history, but at least he knows how to build an intelligible sentence, so that you can have a conversation. How can you have an intelligent discussion about anything if your opponent cannot frame his thought in plain English?

    April 11, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Coopere

    Wow...surprise...this is how Mississippi does it. I'm stunned!

    April 11, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Ryan

    There you have it people. Southern racist Republicans at thier best and thier usual. Show them your concerns DO amount to something...vote democrat! At least they don't support inequality and poverty like the GOP does. They don't care about people, they care about corporate donors. Always have, always will.

    April 11, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. The Film Professor

    Ahhh, so slavery doesn't amount to "diddly" according to the eloquent Governor Barbour - and on the other side, Roland Martin refers to the Confederate soldiers as "terrorists."

    Just another Sunday in the good ol' USA, with fringe elements making the news, because the media loves to keep all of us stirred up.

    I'd prefer to see more discussion on why we have 6 Catholics on the current Supreme Court - how in the world did that imbalance happen without their being more discussion in the news media?

    April 11, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Wolf

    Slavery is "bad" but its omission "doesn't amount to diddly" is a good ol' boy Republican's stinging condemnation of an evil. Wonder what he has to say about Hitler...

    April 11, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. char

    Things a redneck would say.

    April 11, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Dee in Virginia

    I'm pretty certain that he would have never made this remark about the Holocaust. Why is slavery ALWAYS fair game? A holiday to memorialize the Confederacy? How about a holiday to celebrate Nat Turner?

    April 11, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    It's a good thing that Govenor Barbour doesn't amount to diddly. If that man had half a brain you would be able to fit it on half of the sharp edge of a sewing needle.

    April 11, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Perusing-through


    Not to acknowledge the brutal component of slavery as the central issue in the American Civil War and for you to state that the omission amounts to 'diddly'; is a lot like the Nazi's refusing to acknowledge the holocaust.

    Thank GOD President Eisenhower documented as much of the holocaust he could find. Because jerks like Barbour through omission will try to re-write the history of the holocaust and American slavery as though it never happened.

    Barbour, you will never get my vote.

    April 11, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. rdepontb

    Oh, Haley-what a twit you look AND sound like these days. Soooo out of it. As for your comment on Confederate Month statements from McDonnell-what could we expect from a good'ol' Southern boy like you? Your comments were quite insensitive-and you had time to reflect on the reaction that the Governor got. What is wrong with you? If that's all you had to say, why not just skip it?

    What is wrong with you??

    April 11, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Debbie from AZ

    So Mr. Barbour, mentioning slavery in a proclamation for Conferate History Month is not significant!? Did Mississippi rewrite their history text books too? Abolition of Slavery was one of the main reasons the Confederacy was formed. The rich, white southerners didn't want to give up their free labor. Not mentioning one of the main causes of the Civil War is a significant omission, and I believe an intentional one.

    April 11, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. wwf

    Wow! Finally. Truth be told, no conversation about the war or race for that matter can ever be held with out first throwing pc right out the window. Mr. Martin when he said that Confederate Soldiers were "Terrorists" forgot about the Union Army when it invaded the south and raged war on the countryside, which included citizens. He also seems to forget that by his own definition, he would also have to include those who fought against England during the Revolutionary War. Both wars fought for independence. Was slavery wrong? Yes. Was it just a southern thing? No. The slave trade revolved around the northern shipping industry or visa versa. Slaves were pick up in Africa and sent to both the northern and southern colonies and states as well as South and Central America and the Carribean. As far as Virginia goes. It did not leave the union until after Lincoln called for volunteers from all states to put the so call rebellion down by force.
    Up until then the majority of those in the Virginian Congress were against leaving. One needs to go way beyond the books in schools to really learn about the war, which most do not do. At this time, our country is divided enough. The continued pushing of this just adds fuel to the fire. Everyone has an opinion, which is great. However, if we cannot agree to disagree (which it seem we cannot, just look at congress) then we will never solve anyting.

    April 11, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. CBR

    To Barbour the whole month of study of the Civil War is fine Of course his ancestors were not involved. The whole idea lacks structure and planning. I think the issue is more than diddly.

    April 11, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. SC-Pub "no" more

    What a gigantic piece of waste Barbour is. To omit slavery from a discussion of the civil war is "nit?" Maybe you ought to re-instate the rebel flag and Dixie as the symbols of Ole Miss if all this is "nit."

    Barbour, is the official currency of Mississippi still conferderate money?

    April 11, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    What a poor choice of words coming out of Barbour's mouth. There are times if you don't know what to say, then you say nothing rather than to continue to pour salt into America's old wounds.

    April 11, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. John in Tampa

    Gov., you are wrong. Confederacy without slavery is virtually a cart without a horse.

    April 11, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. AFR531

    The never ending battle to rewrite history. Those in power always try to change facts by omitting them or pretending that they were justified in their failures and unjust actions of the past.

    April 11, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. Jan

    Why would it amount to diddly for the conservatives.

    As capitalist they system find different ways of exploitation. Such as employing people without proper health care.

    Where is their humanity?

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