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. Dale

    Pathetic... shameful. Why doesn't he just come out of the closet and admit publically that he is a racist, card-carrying member of the KKK?

    April 12, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. TaBu

    Guess they didnt approve my comment. Figures.

    April 12, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. wally

    Hitler would have thought his persecution and murder of millions of Jews and others not significant. So, there really is no difference between the Nazi's and the folks in the South like Haley Barbour...who, along with McDonnell, Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, etc., are real and shameful embarrassments for our country.

    April 12, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Rete R. Odom, Jr.

    From time immemorial the world has known slavery. It has, is and always will be a repprhensible institution to reasonable people. Slavery was not relagated to the southern United States only but thrived on all continents (including northern North America) affecting all races. Lately unresonable people seeking political accumen have twisted an omission by a governor seeking to enhance tourism in his state as a virtual endorsement of slavery. Reasonable people should see this as a cheap, race baiting ploy as evidenced accordingly.

    April 12, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. ran

    Republicans keep up the great work. You guys especially from the south are a gift that keeps on giving.

    I see either more true Democrats or Independents in congress at the end of 2010 if you Republicans continue your fear/hate/obstructionist/purity ways.

    I will take Democratic freedom ( woman's right to choose, person right to choose who they want to marry, persons right to pick who or what their religious belief will be, workers right to a safe work place person's right to when/where they end their life) over Republicans freedom: women have no rights over their bodies, we will tell you what you can and can not read/study, the only religion is evangelical,we will tell you who you can marry, people are not entitle to health care but corporations are entitle to give as much money as they want to a politic campaign, workers do not have a right to a safe work place and #1 we will say and do all we can to fear/hate/obstruct our way back into power because it is only our freedom that counts. No thank you.

    April 12, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. so what?

    Is this guy for real? A true representation of the Republican Party! So ripping your family apart, raping your mother, daughters, sisters and grandchildren, ripping your children from your arms, selling them at a public meat market to the highest bidder; murdering, beating and enslaving men, women and children.... and that's diddly?


    April 12, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. OETKB

    The ignorance that existed from the start of this country, first decimating cultures and people and then using HUMANS to build this country, continues to fester amongst us. These are the folks who "wan to take this country backwards."

    April 12, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Ethan in Arlington, VA (Communist country)

    Another old, white, "Christian" Southern RepugniKKKant defending the Confederacy. Why does this surprise anyone?

    April 12, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. so what?

    Wow! I wonder what would be his opinion if his family went through slavery!

    April 12, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Al

    I am not really surprised to hear this from Haley Barbour. He has been an unashamed racist for years.. He is very proud of it and it shows.

    But lucky for the rest of the country, only 20 to 25% identify themselves as Republicans, and I am sure less than that identify with the position of Haley Barbour and gov McDonnell.

    The USA is better than these two racists.

    April 12, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Joe Gaines

    is this really something new from them when you have a racist mindset you really never get it anyway from it , born a racist, live your life a racist died and racist and everything seems alright.

    April 12, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. 4 PALIN

    Do eithe of these parties realize how SICK we are of hearing their petty differences???? Everyone in Washington is acting so juvenile!! We have a lot more important things to worry about than this. Everyone is entitled to their opionion, and the politicians are spending way too much time on unimportant things. Our country is more divided now than even during the Civil War. My family just came back from a trip to Washington Dc and while in that area, we visited the battlegrounds at Gettysburg. What a sacrifice these soldiers made, on both sides and after the war veterans of the Civil War were guest of honor at he dedication of the "Eternal Light Peace Memorial" and enscribed on the monument are the words ""Peace Eternal in a Nation United."

    As you look at this monument you can't help but be so proud of our United States, we need to get this pride back!!! We need leaders in Wasington–leader that will lead by example, and the are not showing very good examples not.

    April 12, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. It's Me

    These OLD WHITE MEN have nothing to say that is relevent ANYMORE.

    All they know how to do is deny, deny, deny, and sherk ANY responsibility for their own actions.

    Slavery IS a BIG thing. It has NEVER amounted to diddly as these OLD WHITE MEN seem to believe.

    The MORE that spews out of their mouths the MORE the US DISTRUSTS THEM.


    April 12, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. AXH

    Look who's talking, the DemocRATS are just as out of touch, look what you just did, ignoring the cries of the American people to stop shoving Obamacare down our throats, but you didn't care, you passed it anyway despite our calls to stop! So, don't tell me the Repubs are the only ones out of touch!

    April 12, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. billy123

    Well I guess the GOP stand state another GOP Governor will not be elected to a higher office?

    April 12, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. sms29s66

    Well, that says it all.

    April 12, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. laurence

    This issue is at the heart of this nation. It is no secret that for the vast majority of white southerners the civil war confederacy is worn as a badge of honor. They loved slavery. They fought and died for it. The so-called invasion of the north as they love to put it was the stamping out of domestic terrorist who dehumanized an entire race of people, and in many ways still do. This must not be allowed to stand as is. If America is no better than that, then America its self is not worthy of the lives that have been lost in its defense. I live in Virginia and I truly do not believe that we have the anything yet. McDonnell's thrsis was much more than many gave it credit for. It was the window into this man's soul. If this behavoir continues, needless to say, it won't be taken lightly, as in lying down. Haley Barbour is a bigot of the worst kind. No one in their right mind can argue against the obvious fact hat this man is as racist as they come. Case closed.

    April 12, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. AJ

    I'm a Democrat, but this is ridiculous. Barbour didn't say slavery "didn't amount to diddly". He actually said the exact opposite. He said Mcdonnell's omission didn'y abount to diddly, because anyone in their right mind knows that slavery is wrong and evil. This guy Sevugan is something else...

    April 12, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Dave

    Basically the Democrats are making a mountain out of nothing all for political gain.

    Both sides do it, the difference is the media tends to keep the Democrat causes alive a little longer.

    April 12, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Quadrillion Jackson

    I think I should make sure I don't omit a mention of slavery next time I order a Big Mac meal at McDonalds. Or, call the cable company. Or even ask my kids to pick up their rooms.

    This is just ridiculous.

    April 12, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. Allen Hussein

    Psssssssssssst wingnuts:

    The Dow is up over 3,000 points since President Obama took office less than 15 months ago. Thank you President Obama!

    April 12, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Scott

    Typical Dems...twisting words into meaning something else. Barber said that not mentioning slavery "didn't amount to diddly." Not slavery itself. Dems are such hypocrites. It's ok to celebrate black history month, but we have to completely ignore over a quarter of a million people that died fighting for state's rights? I find the constant race-baiting of the left appalling.

    April 12, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. wwf

    Typical politics. If it was a Democrat, the the Gop would screaming bloody murder. Nothing in this country is ever going to change unless we get rid of the political correctness that is destroying this country.

    April 12, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Tom in Delaware

    Give it up and get over....nobody cares....get a job and stop being a poor little victim and a taker all your lives.

    You're pathetic people.

    April 12, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Andrew

    Sure...stir up race relations...great fundraising opportunity! I think this just about sums up how much the dems really care about the American people.

    April 12, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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