Barbour not running for prez
April 25th, 2011
03:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Barbour not running for prez

(CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Monday he will not run for president in 2012.

"I will not be a candidate for president next year," Barbour, a Republican, said in a statement. "This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided."

Barbour, the former chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said he would continue serving as governor of Mississippi and work to "elect a new Republican president in 2012."

Although he is popular among Washington insiders, he has had trouble gaining traction in recent national polls. In an April CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll of likely Republican voters, Barbour received less than one half of one percent. But he did win a recent straw poll in Charleston County, South Carolina with 22 percent.

According to a source close to Barbour, the governor felt he received positive receptions on recent trips to the early contest states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, but that his decision in the end came down to a "gut feeling"

"He just wasn't quite there," the source said Monday. "It wasn't one particular thing. To run for president obviously is a big decision."

His announcement eliminates one name from a still crowded field of potential Republican candidates against President Barack Obama's re-election bid.

One of the likely GOP contenders for the party's nomination, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, praised Barbour as "one of the Republican Party's great leaders."

"When Republicans defeat Barack Obama next year, it will be thanks to the solid party foundation Haley helped build," Pawlenty said in a statement.

GOP consultant Ford O'Connell, who worked on Barbour's 2007 gubernatorial re-election campaign and for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008, said Barbour's decision makes him "the most important man in the Republican Party not running for president."

"There are only three things Haley Barbour loves more than America: his wife, Marsha, his family and Mississippi. And it is time for him to focus on the things he cares about most," O'Connell said. "One of the hallmarks of Haley Barbour is his low-key behind the scenes effectiveness, and I don't expect that to diminish in any way."

From Gov. Barbour:
“I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.

“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.

“I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.

“This decision means I will continue my job as Governor Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”

- CNN's Peter Hamby, Kevin Bohn and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Haley Barbour
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. bush jr

    HahahahahahhaaAaaaAaaaaaaaaaaAaaaaa one down

    April 25, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. George or whatever

    Someone nobody's ever heard of isn't running for president. Okay.

    April 25, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Barbour should pull a Palin, quit as Governor of Miss., because he can't do that job either.

    April 25, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Sylvia Saint

    He never could have won. He has vestiges of the OLD SOUTH and I, for 1, am glad to see that there is a price that has to be paid for people that BENEFITTED FROM and DEFENDED the actions, behaviors, and unspoken biases of that era.

    When some NEW SOUTH Southerner runs, one that today quickly, and decisively, castrates these racist birthers, then that person can expect to have A CHANCE to get my and other progressive's votes.

    April 25, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. bvilleyellowdog

    Racist, lobbyist. What's not to like? Fits right in with the other GOP bozos.

    April 25, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. kakaraka

    Who would even vote for him? Loser.

    April 25, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Diogonese

    Soooooo...Barbour won't run, eh?! The failed governor of a perpetutally failing state had about as much chance of winning as an August snowball in downtown Jackson, MS.

    April 25, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. jrp

    It is probably for the best, although I have always supported the republican party. The way things are these days we need to look at the man not the party in which they are from. By the way I am a proud resident of Mississippi and am even more so to be a citizen of the united states of america. God bless the USA.

    April 25, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. cesarName

    Well u have Tha best devotions coze if u no what too do is nether bet sale person

    April 25, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. mike

    Wow you liberals and your failed persident are so witty. I hope it doesn't take 8years of your failing agenda to make you realize money is earned and giving welfare to people cripples them. I want bush back at least he had some balls and knew what he was doing. Obama knows nothing of foreign policy economics or leadership. He is however very good at giving my hard earned money to you liberal moochers and immigrants.

    April 25, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Mountaineer

    He can't Govern Mississippi, how in the world could he ever govern the U.S. First of all, you have to be compassionate and be President of all Americans, not the chosen few. He, like many other Republcians, need not run. They lack a heart!

    April 25, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty"

    Well;, we can finally make the list of all the things that actually aren't in Boss Hogg's vast distended belly:

    1. The fire.

    The end.

    April 25, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Tax the rich

    Obama is going to win no matter who the Repub candidate is.

    April 25, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Dan

    There are plenty of better choices. Though, to all the Mississippi bashers, California and Michigan still have higher unemployment rates despite the Democrats in Washington trying to do everything to save those states.

    April 25, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. Sal

    I just sent the fat slob governor a nasty and insulting email a few minutes ago. I do things like that...... I know that he doesn't personally read emails but it makes me feel good. 

    April 25, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. ART

    This red neck clansman didn't stand a chance

    April 25, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. FatherofLies

    Like he had a chance. Romney is the new Bob Dole. Not an entirely bad guy but lacking into many areas and reviled by too many schisms within his party. Tea Party likens Romney care to Obama care, and enough of the religious right struggle enough with his mormanism to stay home. Like Clinton, Obama is far from perfect, but he's proven more versatile than Bush during these equally hard times–And the severely unpopular Bush managed to win reelection. Obama's numbers and policy fair better.

    April 25, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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