April 12th, 2010
12:07 PM ET
10 years ago

DNC: Barbour 'defended the indefensible'

 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.

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. anonymous

    I guess the dems fell asleep in History class. Since when was the Civil War about Slavery?

    April 12, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. JPX

    There’s nothing that sends shivers down my spine more than the words “Southern Republican”. Together those two words create antonyms for, “hatred”, “intolerance”, “ignorance”, and “uneducated. Also, why is every Southern Republican always a bloated Caucasian man?

    April 12, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. 30something

    Yep, and they wonder why African Americans want no parts of the Republican party.....

    April 12, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. U.S. Common Sense

    The DNC missed the point, or is merely looking to try to make an political issue where there isn't one (especially since it is the Democrats hands that are covered in the blood of slavery).

    April 12, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. Bill

    Gee, an old white male said that? I'm think I'm going to have a heart attack and die now.....

    April 12, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. Joel Miller

    The equivalent would be if Germany were to insitute a Third Reich HIstory commermoration without mentioning the holocaust or drawing most of the world into a huge world war that killed millions.

    April 12, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    And here comes the chorus of Republican Governors in "blackface" singing "Oh, dem golden slippers"!

    April 12, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Puuuleeeezzzzz!

    Let us make slaves of those two AND the GOP for a while and see how long it takes them to forget or minimize it then! (maybe two or three generations?)

    April 12, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Sickofit

    I am tired of this type of argument. Slavery is dead. It is illegal and living conditions in this country have changed 1000%. We have black people in Congress, they have served on the Supreme Court, and we now have a black President. There are numerous CEO's in this country that are black and we have plenty of black athletes making millions of dollars. There are numerous black actors and comedians who have great careers....

    I am not saying our country is perfect. We have a ton of issues to work out. But I am tired of the black community bringing up slavery. Plenty of black Americans have succeeded in this country. They have become doctors, lawyers, professors, etc. If you want to succeed in this country, work for it. No one is going to hand it over to you because of your skin color.

    That is the real problem in our country today. And it goes well beyond skin color. No one wants to work for anything anymore. We want hand outs. We want to have the government give us everything we need. And if someone does work, they want to make 100,000 a year to flip burgers at McDonalds. This country has lost its grip on reality.

    April 12, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    you should expect nothing less from a Southern Republican Governor like Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, Racism is still alive and during well America today.

    April 12, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. Sarah the baby seal basher

    This guy could be the missing link between man and pig.

    April 12, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. Tom, St Paul

    Thank goodness there are enough Northeasterners, Midwesterners, Westerners and sensible Southerners to see through what is behind today's Party of No. It is ironical how these people who crow the loudest about "freedom" and "liberty" are the first ones to defend the practice that is the biggest insult to freedom and liberty that is slavery.

    April 12, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  13. American Patriot - a true "tea partier"

    Right, and as we all well know, the Republicans are experts at not "admitting" the past. They won't accept responsibility for their failures so it's a systemic behavior that permeates everything they talk about. When something is bad, just don't talk about it. It'll all go away, right? No point bringing up things they don't want to talk about, right?

    It's called whitewashing history, and that ought to be a crime.

    April 12, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  14. Jim - PA

    I am sure that this is not a new revelation for the public.....a racist Republican. To be honest I do not know why you would want to be in the Republican Party unless you were white and wealthy (give me some of them good ole tax cuts Mr. Bush). Of course this will probably not get posted. Thanks CNN.

    April 12, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. Tom, Michigan

    Backwards and forwards, these GOP guys just keep falling into their own
    holes. It's a syndrome attached to the hypocrisy they embody.

    April 12, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Barbour must be a member of the "KKK". Barbour calls it diddly because no one was hung, beaten, tarred and feathered, sold at auction, house burned down and raped and if he had his way that's exactly what would happen.

    April 12, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Brian

    The Tea Party and half the Republican party is simply the Klan in street clothes. Haley Barbour is probably more proud of being a White biggoted Southerner than being part of an America that from it's very beginning has been mult-racial, multi-national, and multi-religious. God Bless all of the USA and everyone that has contributed to it – blacks, whites, reds, yellows and browns.

    Brian

    April 12, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. Donatella

    You can tell by this mans accent and his demeanor that he probably has been part of the clan sometime in his life, please sir tell it to somebody that is not from the south. I know better.

    April 12, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Steve

    I consider myself conservative, and this is sad, these governors are out of touch. Personally as an American I object to glorification of the confederacy, these people were traitors and thankfully most got what they deserved. While wiping all mention of the confederacy from the books is slightly overboard, proclaiming the confederacy as a point of pride is appropriate, after all do we have "Happy English Colony" history month? Does England celebrate the 4th of July?

    April 12, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. Ryan

    As republicans go, this is SO typical that I can't even pretend to be shocked. Why do you think all thier supporters are racists ? Because that's how they connect with thier base. Even if that base is the kkk.

    April 12, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Kent in CA

    Unfortunately, there are more than a few people in Governor Barbour's state that still believe that enslavement based on race is not necessarily a bad idea. They wouldn't say so in public, but amongst friends over a couple of brewskies, they would readily share this sentiment. I have heard more than one person in his state say it's time to put those ni...rs back in irons where they belong.
    How do we, as a society based on pluralism, eliminate this kind of thinking from our national psyche? It starts with our leaders. They must attack this kind of thinking at every opportunity. People like Govs. Barbour and McDonnell should lead the way. If they don't, there is going to be a concern about where their sentiments truly lie.

    April 12, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. JURONE

    with a mind set HALEY know wonder the south still have so many problems. you now know what goes on in those close door private meetings with the so call good ole boys. the slaves are not slaves any more they are intelligent people that have a voice that can be heard now. now HALEY the world now knows what you think. so your opology is not needed because you spoke your true feelings from your heart. you sir make MISSISSIPPI look bad.

    April 12, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. vika

    why am i not surprised? they'll be happy to go back to the day of the white, male, middle class rule without question or challenge by any other human group or gender for that matter

    April 12, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. kd

    Is Barbour running for pres? He's been saying really stupid things the last couple of days. Go back in hiding, will ya?

    April 12, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. pharoah

    Well, Herr Barbour, go down the road in plainclothes and try to get one single black man to shake your hand and come away with a clear notion of who the untermensch is... You are fat, ugly, irrelevant and no different from Islamic radicals who remember their glorious Andalusian conquests with nostalgia and seek to recreate it through violence....

    April 12, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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