April 12th, 2010
12:07 PM ET
12 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. James

    Who shall save us from Republicans!! Why is it so hard for them to understand the simplest of the matters? It is their right to disagree with Dems but not in the way you are doing it. Show some political maturity please. Does anyone know a country called Rwanda? This tiny country faced the devil in 1994, She lost over 1M people to genocide but what horrifies most is that those genociders thought they were doing good service to their Country. I find republicans wired in the same way. Just look at Tea Party, Barbour, Macdonell, Palin, Steele, Fox new, the list is endless. Like father like son. It is hard to accept that these individuals are American politicians. Political maturity Please. Dear John McCain, would you plz organise a retreat for all GOPers and ask yourselves whether you are still a political party or you have become gangstars or angry mobs. There is away politicians go about their differences. They dont throw stones and death threats to their opponents. This is unacceptable. Something has to be done. Dems are NOT perfect either but they are showing political maturity at least, they are calm and composed in their approach to issues. Are we left with one political party and a Mob? Measure up please.

    April 12, 2010 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  2. jim

    I guess the Holocaust is another event that everybody knows was "a bad thing". We should just ignore it as well? Really?

    April 12, 2010 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  3. File under "Sarcasm"

    When Harry Reed talks about Obama as "“light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect”, it's just a slip of the tongue and a simple apology is accepted. When a Republican doesn't highlight slavery and apologize profusely for the sins of the white race, it's racism. I call that hypocrisy

    April 12, 2010 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  4. Arielle

    This is why the Republican Convention looks like and All-White AARP party. We still have institutionalized racism in this country and yet we can't tackle those problems because slavery amounts to "diddly"! I hate when white folk try to tell blacks how we should feel about slavery. White folks continue to benefit from slavery and ji crow laws and blacks coninue to suffer!

    April 12, 2010 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  5. Mickey, NY

    ...I can see the elections in November slipping through the GOP's grubby little fingers now...

    April 12, 2010 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  6. Ron Mosher

    What a surprise another southern republican who glorifies the confederacy while not caring about how slavery is perceived.

    April 12, 2010 07:20 am at 7:20 am |

    Hypocritical wacked out loony lib Dems and their MSM accomplices trying to play the race card yet again and invent an issue where none exists. Perhaps they should get Robert "KKK" Byrd's (D-WV) opinion about this.

    Move along little kiddies, only slimy politicos and state-controlled media at work here...

    April 12, 2010 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  8. Sissy

    This is the typical mind set of the Republican Party.......their party is full of white men full of Hate they are bigots, they would like to have the Blacks be slaves again so they can have the blacks man do all their hard work that they are to lazy to do and still have the black woman as their sex slaves behind their white wife's back........a bunch of slizzy old white men.....

    April 12, 2010 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  9. jane

    I am not Republican. Far from it. But I find it interesting – depressing, actually – that the DNC press secretary willfully misrepresents the Repulican's comments in this statement.

    I wish there was a party I could actually stand behind. Both sides are ridiculous.

    April 12, 2010 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  10. Linda

    I watched the interview in question. Clearly, the remark that it didn't amount to diddly was the flak over leaving mention of slavery out, not slavery itself. Whether or not you want to argue his actual point is up to you, but please don't recast it as something it was not - a statement on the practice of slavery itself.

    April 12, 2010 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    I'm so tired of the blacks perpetually whining about how some probably distant ancestor had been forced into slavery.

    There is not a single person presently alive in the United States who was ever a slave in the United States!

    None of the various whiners have a thing to whine about. They were never slaves.

    I strongly suspect that all the whining is mostly an act designed to justify the perpetual demands by a lot of blacks for endless entitlements and various kinds of special treatment, and the oh-so-shocked-and-horrified act by the Democrats is just political posturing meant to cater to the whiners.

    April 12, 2010 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You have to wonder if when they willfully ignore something that has been DOCUMENTED, if they are just doing it to remind people that they are still amongst the living. God knows they've done NOTHING in recent times to prove otherwise.


    April 12, 2010 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  13. Katy Hill

    another fat, white racist speaks out. Of course it doesn't bother him he's WHITE!!! With their "token black" in Steele, they thought they could hide the fact that the GOP is a white supremecist organization. Any black voting Republican is setting themselves back 50 years.

    April 12, 2010 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  14. Marie MD

    One word says it all . . . . . Mississippi! Sad.

    April 12, 2010 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  15. The RIGHT to Hapiness

    People need to get over it. I don't care if your great great grandfather was a slave. You are a slave to welfare and the democratic party right now! Open your eyes and live free!

    April 12, 2010 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  16. 2 Term President Obama

    Just when you think the Republicans CAN'T sink any lower they do.

    April 12, 2010 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  17. joel palmer

    Of course the gop defends the South; they'd bring back slavery if they could

    April 12, 2010 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  18. John

    I think the DNC is blowing this way out of proportion. I am against slavery in all sizes and forms...but this wasn't about slavery, this was about Confederate history. If you really want to get technicial about it, then each southern state when celebrating their historical events should make mention of how slavery made it possible...Anytime we mention rum, molasses or sugar cane, there should also be a proclamation about slavery. Slavery drove quite a few industrial and agricultural advances...does that mean I condone slavery? On the contrary, it is horrid. However, Let's stop this inane bashing of public officials...it's just tactless to have Democrats and Republicans looking for any way to call each other names or paint themselves as being holier then thou.

    April 12, 2010 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  19. pt

    "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." This is similar to not listing a book in the bible in a meeting announcing God's (fill in the blank). Why waste the breath stating the obvious. Also similar to the civil war, the US is again battling over states' rights.

    April 12, 2010 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  20. Silvereagle

    If someone wishes to talk about the confederacy they don't always have to bring up slavery just to satisfy the blacks.What was said had nothing to do with slavery.WE all talk about the cival war as if it happened yesterday.Hell yes it was a bad thing ,but we don't have to run it into the ground every time someone mentions it.We don't do this with the vietnam war or other wars do we,hell no.The blacks need to get over it and move on,but no they seem to want to continue as if the war is still going on.The american people have spent more than enough time and money and handouts taking care of them.It is time for the blacks to get up off there collective asses and get real lives instead of dwelling on the past knowing good and well you can't change the past.To constantly bring up the past holds you back.Most people are sick and tired of the same ole crap everytime someone mentions the confederacy.

    April 12, 2010 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  21. ras

    RNC ...Racist National Congress...listen to their leaders ,Rush, Palin etc and you will get it...there are nothing but a bunch of racist with an uncle tom as a figure head

    April 12, 2010 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  22. DAW, NC

    He shows his true colors and views in his statements. His words speak for themselves when it comes to his thinking process. are we suprised?????

    April 12, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  23. D. Bunker

    The teabaggers claim they aren't racist while waving racist signs. The GOP claims it isn't racist while ignoring the key role slavery played in the Civil War. Sure, there are non-racists teabaggers and GOPers, but why don't we hear more of their voices when folks like Barbour start spouting ignorance and hate?

    April 12, 2010 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  24. Michelle

    Isn't it interesting that the South is still glorifying treasonous acts by their ancestors, while at the same time glorifying people like Palin who are calling for similar acts today...and all because they can't stomach a fine President who happens to be part-black? You don't know whether to laugh or cry at these people.

    April 12, 2010 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  25. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    Listen – all this nit-picking back and forth is just ridiculous. Even the President ignores it, and he is African-American. There are so many large issues at hand, not to mention finding some way to bring people TOGETHER, not split them further apart, that this is a blip on the radar. Why don't we give everyone the benefit of the doubt, instead of constantly accusing one another of all this stuff. I am not sure that the omission about slavery was deliberate, and I am not sure you could prove it was. And Haley Barbour is really saying, "...for god's sake, move on..." He's right. I do not believe for one moment that slavery should be shoved under the carpet. But, if we don't move on to more important issues, we will get nowhere. In Europe, they don't even look at Black people the way America does. Take a leaf from their page.

    April 12, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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