Barbour says unknown status an advantage
March 16th, 2011
08:59 AM ET
11 years ago

Barbour says unknown status an advantage

(CNN) - Mississippi Gov. and possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate Haley Barbour says his lack of name identification may actually help him if he decides to take the plunge and run for the White House.

"I start off with hardly any Americans who really know me. There are some political leaders, some elected officials, some reporters, but the average American has no reason to have ever heard of Haley Barbour," the governor said Tuesday during an interview with Radio Iowa.

When Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson then questioned Barbour if his lack of name ID is an advantage in a year when other possible candidates like Sarah Palin are well known, the Mississippi Republican responded, "I tend to look at it more like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. At this time and the year before each of them was elected president, nobody ever heard of them either,"

"And they were both southern governors," Barbour added.

A brand new poll backs up Barbour's claim that he is not well known by most Americans. According to an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Wednesday, 57 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican didn't know enough about Barbour to form an opinion. That figure is much higher than the 5 percent who were unsure about Palin, the former Alaska governor, or the 19 percent who were unsure about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It's also much higher than the 23 percent who didn't know enough about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to form an opinion.

Barbour wrapped up a two-day visit to Iowa Tuesday night by headlining a state Republican party dinner. Barbour keynoted the Chairman's Dinner Tuesday night in Davenport, Iowa. The gathering is the first of a series of fundraising dinners designed to strengthen the Iowa Republican Party and county party organizations across the state.

Barbour also reached out to Republican Party lawmakers, leaders and activists with a stops in Sioux City and at the Statehouse in Des Moines before heading to Davenport.

The two-term Mississippi governor and former chairman of the Republican Governors Association and the Republican National Committee was also in Iowa last month, meeting with state GOP officials and Republican Gov. Terry Branstad on Presidents' Day. The state plays a crucial role in the race for the White House as its caucuses kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

Barbour continues to say he plans to decide at the end of April - after the Mississippi legislature concludes its session - whether or not he will seek the GOP presidential nomination. This month he's beefed up his political operation with some key hires.

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Filed under: 2012 • Haley Barbour
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Adalbert

    This guy is no where near Carter or Clinton. He is not even qualified to run a garbage truck.

    March 16, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. Born Again Christians Against the GOP, Barbie Bimbo Palin, the Tear Pity Tea Party Loser Brigade, and everything made in China

    Hey dimwit . . . America knows who you are. You are a GOP loser. You hate the middle-class and the idea that a progressive government can and should lift up the average American. You want the middle-class to be the slaves for the wealthy. We also know you have to pause between speaking short phrases because you are out of shape and keep 6 pork chops in your suit pocket to hold you over between sentences. America does not like or want you telling us what to do or how to live. Go crawl back into your personal diner and stuff your mouth with chips and pork so the rest of us don't have to hear your annoying dumb mouth speaking words from your puny brain.

    March 16, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. Dave

    HA! That's the ONLY hope Haley Barbour would have of getting elected – if nobody knew him! Well, I live in Mississippi, I've been here under his tenure, and all I can tell the rest of the country is, if you got to know him, you would NEVER vote for him. Ever! He's made our state even worse, and he's been a crook, funnelling Katrina relief money to his brother Jeppie, who used it to build condos in areas that weren't even touched by the hurricane. What's his campaign slogan going to be, "I can do for the rest of the country what I've done for Mississippi?" Good luck with that!

    Barbour's wise to hinge his hopes on voters not knowing anything about him, because that's really the only hope he'd have of getting votes.

    March 16, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. sara

    We know Haley Barbour and his school of thought....and that's not good for Forward Americans.

    March 16, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. Bob Dog

    Haley "All You Can Eat Buffet" Barbour cheap, self-serving, morally bankrupt, hypocrite.

    With Palin dropping like a stone, America needs a disgrace like this to guarantee a second term for Obama.

    March 16, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    And Barbour will go back to being a relative unknown rather quickly.

    American voters are quirky in what they focus on, but the fact remains that the U.S. has not elected a fat president since 1908 ... and on the basis of Republican President William H. Taft's performance, they are unlikely to do so in the near future.

    March 16, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Duh

    Of course his being unknown is an advantage. If people really knew him, he would never be elected.

    March 16, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. Rob

    With the Republicans war on the middle class only a fool would vote for any republican.

    March 16, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Doc

    Yeah Haley, it's an advantage right now and will remain one until you declare your intention to run and then we'll all get to know about you, in overly minute detail, immediately. And as soon as they do know you, you won't stand a chance.

    March 16, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The less people know about Haley, the better off he is. When people learn about his lack of leadership in Mississippi, his background with citizens councils, his views on education, and how he manages to make his state a southern version of a third world country, the majority of Americans will reject him. (Although the base of the republican party will embrace him)

    March 16, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. bdude

    We don,t want to know you Mr. Barbour! Please stay in the backwoods of the deep south and line the pockets of your "Fat Cat CEO buddies" Teapartyers with poor peoples tax money? What are you going to doMr. Barbour about the ceilings falling down in your little towns school houses. How about paying more attention to the big percentage of poverty in your own state,you can,t do Squat for the rest of the country. How about painting and fixing your elementry schools with some of those millions you will spend on your "campaign"????

    March 16, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. Tom TX

    Oh a lot of us know of him alright and it isn't a favorable put it nicely. The Republicans have yet to come up with a viable candidate. It's exactly why I left the party years ago. It's moved way too far to the right.

    March 16, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Gary

    The only high poll numbers Barbour will get will be his cholesterol.

    March 16, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Tam

    Shouldn't all these governors, congressmen/women and senators be governing their own constituencies instead of campaigning already for two years from now? Who's paying for their trips?

    March 16, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. Robert

    Dear Lord, please stop this parade of circus clowns and send a candidate. Amen.

    March 16, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. Rob R

    And you don't think if you do decide to run that the fact that you were proud to admit you were a former tobacco lobbyist and governor of one the poorest states in the country won't be all over the media? Not to mention your dubious comments about racial issues in MS?

    You may win in the deep South but that's about it. The rest of the country doesn't want Boss Hogg for president.

    March 16, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Read my lips "no new rednecks"

    The current batch of GOP gives me hope for an America with President Obama at the helm for another 4 years!

    March 16, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The less we see of Haley, the better off we are. Lobbyists should not run for office.

    March 16, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. realitybites

    "I tend to look at it more like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. At this time and the year before each of them was elected president, nobody ever heard of them either,"

    "And they were both southern governors," Barbour added.
    They also weren't polarizing, old south style, conservative relics of the segregation age and had a more human, moderate, and compassionate feel to them that appealed to a broader spectrum of Americans than Barbour will. Sorry Haley but, Blue Dogs make better hunters than old hound dogs when it comes to the national scene. I think you'll find you're barking up the wrong tree. Folks, just a reminder that not all southerners or southern politicians are like him, thank God. Hopefully John Calhoun will not be resurected to run for president either.

    March 16, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Former Republican, but never again!

    He has NO chance!

    March 16, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. once upon a horse

    many Americans may not really know you sir, but I think enough have heard about you to decide that it's not worth casting their vote for you to be POTUS. I know I sure wouldn't.

    March 16, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Lisa P

    Yeah, look at how well Scott Walker has worked out for Wisconsin... not!

    Buying a pig in a poke is never a good idea. If Haley Barbour's big advantage is that no one knows him all I can say is "Buyer, beware!"

    March 16, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  23. al in memphis

    The other half that don't know you will find out that you don't know much. It's really not his fault, he just caught up in the wave of anti-Obama excitement that says anyone left standing who can coherently repeat the Republican rethoric has a good chance. It also helps that there are no limits on what corporations can contribute to campaigns. Let's face it, as voters we don't pay much attention to the facts, only the soundbits and infomericals.

    Why else would this guy come out 2 days ago and say that the economic problems we have today are cause by the current administration. The previous 30 years did exist.

    March 16, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. tampamike

    Sorry governor, we are all aware of the dismal state of mississippi, didn't do much for the state why would we trust you with the country. Beside, you seem to think everything was just fine in the south when you were growing up. Makes you wonder.

    March 16, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. ja

    the factors are greater than being unknown, the president need a certian charisma, haley just don't have it

    March 16, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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