April 12th, 2010
12:07 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 • GOP • Haley Barbour • State of the Union
soundoff (310 Responses)
  1. Chef Jeff

    While I understand that Confederate soldiers were more often than not fighting for what they were told were the loss of their rights, they were lied to, just as much as people today who believe their government has turned "Socialist" are being lied to. Just like today, people with power and money and influence are leading the uninformed into battle and using their blood to make more money.

    The main cause of the Civil war was slavery. Slavery was a profitable enterprise for some wealthypeople, not for the masses of poor Southern Caucasians of the era.

    However, to rewrite history in such as way as to make such an omission of the very mention of Slavery in this matter does smack of insensitivity to a huge problem that plagued America since its founding. To then make it sound as if it weren't "diddly" takes an even more foolish stance because of the huge problems with racism and Jim Crow in this nation after 1865.

    April 12, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Dale

    Another SORRY attempt by the liberal party to convince Blacks to stay on their side.

    IT'S OVER – Slavery does'nt exist in the USA anymore. The liberals are just blasting HOT AIR to try to covince them otherwise. How desperate can you get.

    All Lawyers need to be voted out of office in Nov. They do nothing but stir things up and create laws that insures their job security.

    April 12, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |

    The majority of the confederate soldiers did not own slaves. What were they fighting for? It wasn't to retain slavery, contrary to the revisionist historians from the north. Some fought because the northern soldiers were fighting in their homeland. Some fought because they were conscripted.

    To put down remembrance of the sacrifices made by southern soldiers in their fight for freedom by saying it somehow ignores slavery is just a political ploy by the DNC, etc. to gain political advantage.

    April 12, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Gloria

    Another stupid republican opens his mouth only to insert his entire leg!!!

    April 12, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. andrew

    Republicans are constantly on the wrong side of history. if the republicans continue living in the 19th century they may snatch defeat out of the jaw of victory.

    April 12, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. pat regan

    No, I would like my state to have Yankee History Month, you know, for the winners of that war and the ones that helped free the slaves and help to restore those unfortunate people to their rightful place in our society. Take that.

    April 12, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. bettyboop33

    "Concern of slavery omission 'doesn't amount to diddly,' says Barbour.
    He sounds like HE is unconcerned over slavery itself. With leadership like that it is no wonder the GOP is the Party of the past.

    April 12, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. It has begun-

    Wow Democrats are really scrambling to make something out of nothing.

    Barbour said slavery was a bad thing and it goes without saying. Meaning that's like saying "Racism is bad" or "Murder is bad". Well duh!

    April 12, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Alex

    The right is revising history again. The Civil War had many contributing causes, but central to it all was slavery. To ommit slavery is at best ignorant and at worst hateful.

    April 12, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Daniel

    It is probably not in the Democratic Party's best interest to remember which party supported slavery and which opposed it at the time of the Civil War. However, anyone interested may be surprised by the answer history affords.

    April 12, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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