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. Jacques

    Black people in Mississippi have an idea who is this man is: a mean and hateful person. The rest of the country is going to discover it soon if he chooses to run for the presidency. I hope he does choose to run to ensure Obama's reelection.

    April 12, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. Steve

    Dear Liberals,

    Stop being so sensitive.


    The USA

    April 12, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  3. briankid

    its interesting to me, the more offended the blacks pretend to be about the issue of slavery .. the more rascis the general population is becoming. The confederate war wasnt primarily about slavery, and many whites died in that war.. not to free slaves, but to defend against oppression..south vs the north, ending slavery was a end result , one of many. Most southerners didnt own slaves, most were too poor.

    April 12, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  4. Sharon Northern Virginia

    Racism is front and center when it comes to the Republicans. People like them is what holds this country hostage.

    April 12, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Moderate

    Barbour and his mind set is as archaic as he is. There has been an enormous backlash from conservatives when Obama took the white house. It has shown the ugly side of America. The congressmen and women sending around drawings of the white house with water melons planted in the front yard, a photo of the hall of presidential paints and when you come to the presidents it's a a black canves with 2 big white and black eyes, or even the tea parties favorite the joker remake. How about the recording "Barak the magic Negro" circulated by one of this nations leaders!

    Long ago I watched as black grade school children tried to be admitted to school and the crowd attacked these children with racial slurs and bottels. These same people never went anywhere, just underground. Now we see they are coming back.

    It is a disgrace to this nation and our image. we want to help and talk to every one – touting tolerance and democracy and we can't even talk to the person next door. Is this really the year 2010?

    April 12, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. Barbara

    Just what you expect from this man – the recognition of slavery in the Confederate cause means "diddly".

    – This man so closely resembles "BOSS Hog" (notice the emphasis on "boss"). He couldnt's really bring himself to utter a comprehensive sentence on the subject, lest his true feeling emerge in all it's roaring "southerness".

    Mr. Barbour and the conjoined twins – Tea Party/Republicans, have a common cry " Take my country back". One asks, to where?

    – to the good ole antebellum age of cotton fields?
    – to days when blacks were only cooks and caretakers in the White House – certainly not occupants (horror)
    – to the (false) civility of southern gentry?
    – to pre civil rights successes?
    – to "back of the bus" , "they're not like us" mentality?
    – to the superiority vs. inclusion?
    – to Salem (modern witch hunts) Now we have the Tea Party and its hunt for RINOS and its "purity tests" – we know what that really means.

    Mr. Barbour.... don't look now, but your sheet is showing

    April 12, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. CEE

    If it wasn't for slavery there would be no Confederate history, the war was started to keep slaves in bondage.

    April 12, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  8. www.BlowOutCongress.com

    The irony is that Barbour's suggestion that slavery wasn't that bad and that slavery wasn't really significant for him, will actually help him with his political base. He will now be able to draw upon the David Duke supporters to build a presidential campaign.

    April 12, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  9. Jay

    I agree that slavery should have been mentioned when discussing Confederate history month. Roland martin gave a good exam that this would be like celebrating the war aspect of Nazi's without mentioned jews and the holocaust.

    April 12, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  10. Michael

    Typical comment from on old white fart!!! from the south!! didn't expect much else!! Plain and simple.

    April 12, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. Alina

    Virginia Governor announced to celebrate April as Confederate month in order to prof the tourism , at list that's what he say. They going to get bunch of racists as tourists. I wonder how black people will fill and not only black but also any body that has half brain.

    April 12, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. terry,va.

    Everyone knows slavery was bad. Move on. Obummie the racist brought up something he had no business doing. Just like him taking side with his black professor buddy against the cops in Cambridge. White people elected you Obummie.

    April 12, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  13. arapikos

    Another "culturalmyopia" Repub. I now wonder, if he knows who wrote the "National Anthem" when, where and why.

    April 12, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  14. DJ in TX

    For my homestate Governor to say something like that is just plain dumb. To imply that slavery was insignificant.......................What the hell is he talking about.

    Just this weekend, here in Texas, my son and his friends (one black and the other Hispanic) had racial slurs thrown at them at a neighborhood park. Some older white kids started telling them that all black people do is eat fried chicken, calling them "tokens".

    And now we have governors in the South who want to "dismiss" slavery. People, racism is still alive in 2010 and more than you want to believe. The neighborhood this happened is probably on the higher end of the middle class and diverse. But yet this still happens. I tell my son to just walk away when stuff like that happens. But it makes me very angy that s**t like this still happens.

    Tell me how am I supposed to react as a parent? You want me to believe that this stuff is in the past, but when my son comes home and tells me this happens, it shows me it is not in the past. And I submit to you, it is more prevalent than you would like to believe. Again, I say as a veteran, I'm starting to wonder what the hell I fought for.................................In 2010, middle class neighborhood, this still happens........................

    April 12, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  15. arapikos

    Sorry, word should be "Cultural myopic"

    April 12, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  16. Bruce

    It just goes to show that Republicans are proud to be IGNORANT!!

    April 12, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  17. Anonymous

    This is where genocide would have made this a better country. they let the white trash live after the civil war

    April 12, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  18. jm for sc

    I amazing me how people can find ways to justify racism but can not find ways to work together for the good of all people. Things has gotten to the point where the truth for some people depends on the political party of persons making the statements.

    Being on one accord when you are wrong does not fool people you are right. Republicans use the same story line regardless. No matter how big of a fool they are making of themselves, they still say the same things as if they all were rehearsed. This started during the 2008 election. They all use the phrase, "Ramming down our throats," when talking about health care. Now they are trying to defend this governor for trying to rewrite the history of slavery.

    Soon, Republicans will all be on the supreme court pick. They will be in unity trying to destroy whom ever is selected. Already, there is a list of people who they plan to attack. I bet the president has not even name any of these people. The game plan is, attack all the people they know have the qualifications

    Fight, Fight, Fight, they say no is their complete sound and dance. If a lot of Republicans are elected in November, the American people will deserve anything they get in the future as they have forgotten the past 8 years.

    April 12, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  19. Michael

    If you think about it, every white born after the Civil War can't help but take pride in thier southern heritage because that is the only thing they know!! So I can't blame them for thier "pride". But when they understand what their pride consist of for the blacks in that era, they should be humbled to simple respect. Africans were taken by the Europeans to the "New Land" to be SLAVES!!!! As a result, descendants were born into "HORROR" in thier lives with no freedom to do as they please for over 400 years!!

    April 12, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  20. Norm

    Oh my....the Republicans just can't seem to stop putting their foot in their mouth.

    April 12, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  21. char

    Seems like the only thing the democrats
    are good at these days is playing the race card.

    April 12, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  22. ETM

    Boss Hogg strikes again!

    April 12, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  23. phoenix86

    Democrats appear to need to keep racism alive and continue to fan falmes of racism whenever they can. I guess it is better than trying to discuss the merits of the issues.

    April 12, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  24. Jeff

    DNC, go get a life. I abhor slavery and the though of it makes me cringe even today. However, McDonnell was simply attempting to give an opportunity to express pride for a portion of our nation that has a history that slavery is not directly a part of. Slavery was part of the USA from it's inception. Confederates supported it...but slavery was not a part of the Confederate Movement. So the Southern flag ticks off a few African Americans...big deal. Pro-abortionists absolutely scare me... will you do away with them as well?

    April 12, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  25. TK

    He is also from the south is he not?? SO what do you expect!!

    April 12, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13