Barbour won't formally endorse Romney, but offers advice
April 12th, 2012
09:03 AM ET
10 years ago

Barbour won't formally endorse Romney, but offers advice

Washington (CNN) - Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has no plans to formally endorse Mitt Romney now that his fiercest challenger, Rick Santorum, is no longer in the presidential race.

But Barbour, a respected Republican party elder who voted for Newt Gingrich in last month's Mississippi primary, acknowledged that Romney is the de facto GOP nominee and said he plans to help him get elected in November through his work with the powerful super PAC American Crossroads.

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"I didn't endorse anybody in 2008, and I am not going to endorse anybody this time," Barbour told CNN in a phone interview Wednesday. "But obviously I am going to do everything I can do to help Romney get elected."

Barbour is raising money for Crossroads, the well-funded super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove that recently began airing television ads attacking Barack Obama in key battleground states.

Crossroads must operate independently of any political campaign, the main reason Barbour said he isn't coming out with a full-throated endorsement of Romney.

"Because of my activity with American Crossroads, it's probably just as well I not allow any appearance that I am involved with Mitt's campaign," he said. "But I am very involved with American Crossroads in hopes of getting a new president named Mitt Romney."

Following a lengthy Republican primary fight, which raised questions about Romney's support among conservative voters and forced him to tack to the right on several key issues, Barbour advised Romney to aggressively focus on a policy-heavy message that questions Obama's handling of the economy.

Barbour said that theme will be enough to keep the conservative base excited while also appealing to independent voters who will ultimately decide the election.

"This campaign is going to be waged in the center," Barbour said.

"Don't ever forget that Barack Obama is the great uniter of Republicans. The party apparatus, the conservatives, the tea party, the organizations like small businesses and the NRA, they will be very active in providing volunteers and our base will be very active. That's critically important. But the election is going to be decided by a few million people, most of whom voted for Obama last time but have the same level of buyer's remorse as ticket purchasers on the Titanic."

Barbour also advised Romney to ignore the vice presidential chatter bubbling up around Washington now that the Republican race is effectively over.

"If I were giving advice about that, it would be don't hurry," he said. "Give a lot of time to make this decision and don't make it until you have to, because you have more good information three months from now than three weeks from now."

"I wouldn't even talk about it now except to say that our candidate needs to pick a running mate who is ready to be president," Barbour added.

Filed under: 2012 • Haley Barbour • Mitt Romney
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Jerry

    Stuff your advise Mr. Barbour!!!

    April 12, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  2. ST

    The man is not sold yet to Romney. He is not alone. There are a lot like him.

    April 12, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "If I were giving advice about that, it would be don't hurry," he said."

    Well of course Mittens is in no hurry to pick a VP ... good grief, Haley. There are any number of choices for Mittens to keep pandering about state by state: let's see, we've already had Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley, Rubio, Christie, Pawlenty, Portman, Daniels, Thune, Allen West, Santorum, Rand Paul. I'm sure I've left off a few others, but Mitt's pandering knows no bounds and he's never shy when pandering. Quite the opposite ... he digs right in and panders away. Apparently Mitt still thinks he can dig himself out of that deep hole of golden BS he's already dug for himself. Wonder which of his five strong sons will be given the task of polishing off the Romney golden shovel?

    April 12, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Mr. Barbour, don't forget that the tax policies of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan are the great uniters of the Democrats. Both of them instituted aggressive "supply side" policies, which stagnated middle class jobs growth while lining the coffers of those on the receiving end of the tax cuts.

    Democats must not forget what the true Republican agenda is. Republicans want to privatize everything, including the Post Office, Social Security, Medicare, and eventually the politicians themselves.

    April 12, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. RINO Bil

    Maybe Barbour should just offer Romney a pardon!

    April 12, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Sniffit

    Boss Hogg hath spoken.

    April 12, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    If Barbour really wanted to help Romney, then he would be best to stay our of the public eye. Barbour had too many skeletons in his closet to launch his own campaign. Romney should distance himself from Barbour, but we all know that he won't. Barbour's name represents some powerful donors, which is why he's working with the superPAC and not directly with the campaign.

    April 12, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Jeff in Virginia

    Haley Barbour spouts something that isn't news, and Peter Hamby dutifully reports it to the masses. Great job, Peter.

    April 12, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Larry L

    Advice from Haley Barbour... Hmmm... Just look how well Barbour improved Mississippi! He took the state on the bottom of every chart for income, welfare, healthcare, education and general standard of living and managed to lower those rankings. Romney needs advice from him why?

    April 12, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |