Entries in Haley Barbour (10)


Haley Barbour: Contested GOP Convention "Not Necessarily Bad"

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While he will not weigh in on who he thinks should get the GOP nomination, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on the “This Week” roundtable that it is growing more and more likely that it will be months before his party coalesces around a nominee and that there will likely be a contested Republican convention.

“We have had twice — three times really — Governor Romney looked like he was poised to begin coalescing, and each time he lost the next week, and now we’re at another juncture,” Barbour said.

Other GOP big hitters, such as Mike Huckabee, have said a brokered GOP convention would be a “train wreck” and a “disaster” for the party, but Barbour said today such a scenario is “not necessarily bad.”

“Whether or not we have an open convention is up to the primary voters who are left between now and there,” Barbour said. “If it is a convention where we get there with nobody having the vote, [that is] not necessarily all bad.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Haley Barbour on 2012 Race: ‘Somebody Else Might Get In”

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Could the battle for the Republican nomination go all the way to the Republican convention in August?  Could we see an entirely new candidate getting into the race?

One long-time Republican leader tells ABC News the answer to both questions is yes.

“If the Republican primary voters continue to split up their votes in such a way that nobody is close to having a majority, then there is a chance that somebody else might get in,” former Republican Party chairman Haley Barbour said in an interview with ABC News.

Barbour calls such a scenario unlikely, but not out of the question.

“I think the odds of having a contested convention are not good but the fact that we are where we are and there is actually a possibility, I guess this is why there is so much talk,” he said.

A contested convention would mean another six months of Republicans battling Republicans, but Barbour says that’s not necessarily bad for the party.

“It is not accurate to say that a hotly contested convention is necessarily bad,” Barbour said.  “I am not saying it is necessarily good, but I don’t think it is accurate to say it is necessarily bad.  Let’s just see.”

Barbour, who has not endorsed any candidate, says Mitt Romney has never really been a true front-runner.

“In our primaries the more conservative candidates have an advantage,” Barbour said.  “Doesn’t mean they always win. But that is just a fact and I think Romney is showing himself to be moderately conservative.  We still have a long way to go with three candidates who are to the right of Romney.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that he thinks Romney cannot win.

“In our party it is an advantage to be more conservative, but at the end of the day I think most Republicans want somebody who can beat Barack Obama,” Barbour said.  “And nobody in my opinion has made that case to the Republican voters yet -- Romney, Santorum, Paul or Gingrich.  I don’t think any of them has made the case that, ‘I am the guy who has the best chance to beat Obama,’” Barbour opined.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mississippi Pardons Issued By Gov. Haley Barbour Challenged in Court

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- The Mississippi Supreme Court is hearing arguments that could send 10 freed convicts, some of whom were convicted of murder, back to prison following controversial pardons issued by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a 49-page brief with the state's Supreme Court arguing that the governor's pardon power is not absolute and that the people who received pardons did not run ads daily in a local newspaper for 30 days as required, rendering the pardons invalid.

Hood has called the pardons a "slap in the face" and has promised to vigorously challenge the governor's decision to pardon four murderers who worked at his mansion, along with a slew of people convicted of rape, manslaughter and other crimes.

If the court sides with Hood and decides the pardons can be challenged, each case would be heard individually by a lower court.

Many victims and their families have spoken against Barbour's decision to release those who have hurt them and their loved ones.

Barbour's decision to grant clemency to some 208 convicted felons right before he left office has focused the national spotlight on a unique practice that's relegated to a handful of states: inmates working in the governor's mansion.

The four murderers pardoned all worked in the governor's mansion under a "trustee" system that allows well-behaved prisoners to clean, cook and do other chores at the governor's mansion.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Barbour Warns Social Conservatives: Purity is the Enemy of Victory

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Gov. Haley Barbour issued a warning to social conservatives in choosing their Republican nominee for 2012: "Purity is the enemy of victory."

"Remember purity in politics, purity is the enemy of victory," Barbour said.  "We can't start out with the idea out as the Faith & Freedom Coalition that our candidate's got to agree with me on every single thing.  We cannot expect our candidate to be pure.  Winning is about unity.  Winning is about us sticking together to achieve the main thing."

"Conservatives, religious people, small government people, we are not going to have purity.  We're not going to have a perfect candidate," Barbour said. "There's only been one perfect person that ever walked on this earth.  And there ain’t gonna be another one in this election."

Barbour did not endorse a particular candidate but told reporters after the speech a number of candidates in the field appeal to the religious conservatives.

Asked if he thinks Sarah Palin will run in 2012, Barbour responded: "She certainly has a following.  She's got something to add, but she's the one who's got to make the decision."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Haley Barbour: I Will Not Be a Candidate for President in 2012

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has elected not to run for president in 2012.

In a statement on Monday, the governor called his decision “difficult,” and said that he appreciated the efforts of his supporters who “offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign.” Barbour said that, “If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.”

“A candidate for president today is embracing a 10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else,” Barbour said.  “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.”

Barbour vowed to fight “to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Haley Barbour: President Obama Has Been ‘AWOL’ On Entitlement Reform

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour unleashed some of his sharpest criticism to date of President Obama’s fiscal policies in Chicago on Monday, accusing the White House of pursuing policies that “show little understanding of how our economy actually works.”

“Think about it,” Barbour said in a speech to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “Is there anybody in the current administration who ever signed the front side of a paycheck?”

Barbour, who looks increasingly likely to jump into the 2012 presidential race, used the speech to kick off a two-day campaign-style swing through Illinois and Iowa.

He told the audience that President Obama has exhibited a “failure of leadership” and that upon taking office his administration abandoned pro-growth policies in favor or “unlimited faith in limitless government.”

And the Mississippi Republican, whose previous experience as a lobbyist, Reagan administration political operative and chairman of the Republican National Committee allowed him -- as he put it on Monday -- to see “the sausage factory” of Washington “up close,” also accused Obama of being “AWOL on the subject of entitlements.”

How to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- programs that make up the largest chunk of the federal budget -- has been a topic of intense debate in Washington as Republicans and Democrats wrangle over spending levels and the deficit.

Barbour asserted that he did not “shy away from entitlement reform” as governor but offered few specifics in his speech about how extensively he tackled the issue in Mississippi or about his ideas for doing so on the national level.

He praised fellow Republican governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin for waging “a courageous and necessary fight to rein in excessive government spending,” while turning up the volume on his calls for the U.S. to increase oil production as the average price of gas inches toward $4 a gallon.

“Let me say flatly: $4 gasoline is bad for our economy, bad for small and large businesses and bad for American families,” Barbour said.

After his Chicago speech, the Mississippi governor was headed to Iowa for meetings with political leaders and voters. On Tuesday he will deliver a speech at an Iowa GOP fundraiser in Scott County, an event that is expected to draw a business-minded crowd. Iowa Republican sources believe that with these initial visits, Barbour has an opportunity to make real inroads in the crucial early state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Obama Takes Shots at 2012 GOP Hopefuls

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images (file)(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama entertained the Gridiron Club at their annual dinner in the nation’s capital Saturday night.

Every president since Grover Cleveland has attended a Gridiron gala, and this was Obama’s first appearance at the dinner as president.

The event, attended by 650, was held at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington.

The 126-year-old journalistic organization had arranged a program of their usual satirical song-and-dance numbers, including “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore adapted for Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Obama cracked some jokes at political rivals, notably Mississippi Governor -- and likely 2012 presidential candidate -- Haley Barbour:

“Haley Barbour is here," the president said. "And I want to thank him for working with Michelle on the 'Let’s Move' campaign.  I do have one thing to clear up, though, Haley.  You know, when Michelle said, you need to run, she didn’t mean for president."

The president then turned to another likely presidential hopeful, Tim Pawlenty, who was not in attendence.

"He’s hard on the campaign trail," Obama said. "To be honest, I think the American people are going to have some tough questions for Tim -- specifically, who are you? And where did you come from?

"Which is okay," Obama said. "Two years into my presidency and I'm still getting those questions."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Haley Barbour Calls Obama Policies 'Reckless,' Bashes 'Leftish Media'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is laying the groundwork for a 2012 presidential campaign, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, and offered kind words for several of those who could be among his main rivals for the Republican presidential nomination if he -- and they -- ultimately decide to enter the race.

Barbour spoke quietly and slowly to a packed hotel ballroom, receiving a favorable reception by the audience, especially when he held up liberals and the media as bogeymen. He accused them of describing conservatives, “especially tea party activists as somehow out of the mainstream -- a bunch of unsophisticated know-nothings.”

“The leftish media says the Tea Party’s a problem for Republicans,” Barbour said, “Now, this is a case of the Left whistling past the graveyard.”

He called the policies of the Obama administration “reckless,” arguing that they have “brought America to a crossroads.”

“President Obama has tried to sound like Ronald Reagan for the last several weeks,” the governor said. “Reagan would recognize this ploy as just another play from the Democrat playbook:  Fake up the middle, then run around left end.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour Under Fire for Calling Civil Rights-Era Tensions Not ‘That Bad’

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- Critics pounced on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Monday for comments he made in an interview with the Weekly Standard in which he appeared to downplay the tension of the civil rights movement in his home state.

 “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” Barbour told the Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson, who penned a 7,400-word profile of the potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate for the magazine.

In the piece, Barbour seems to have a foggy memory of an event he attended with the civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr., in the early 1960s and credits a pro-segregation group with helping to integrate the public schools of his hometown, Yazoo City, Miss. without violence.

“You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders,” Barbour said in the interview. “In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

The statements made Barbour an instant target of progressive bloggers, the president of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP as well as a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.

“He’s not ready for prime time or not ready for the 21st century,” DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan tweeted on Monday. “Either way, it’s disqualifying.”

A spokesman for the governor declined to comment, but insisted that the governor is not a racist, according to the Web site Talking Points Memo.

But the quotes foreshadow serious challenges ahead for Barbour should he decide to run in 2012 against the country’s first African-American president. They seem to be part of a pattern of remarks that critics have characterized as racially insensitive.

Barbour, for example, defended Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell when he declared April as “Confederate History Month” in the state without acknowledging the role of slavery.

“To me, it's a sort of feeling that it's a nit, that it is not significant,” Barbour said in a CNN interview, “It’s trying to make a big deal out of something doesn't amount to diddly.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels Put Off Presidential Announcement Until Spring

Photo Courtesy - in[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- Here are two more clues that the 2012 presidential campaign is going to get off to a late start: two potential GOP candidates acknowledged this week that if they decide to run, they won’t jump in until the spring.

“I think the decision has to come at the end of this General Assembly session, if not before. No later than that,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told WANE-TV in Ft. Wayne on Wednesday. The state’s General Assembly session will conclude by the end of April.

"In fairness to people from all over the place -- many of whom I've only read about before -- who like this idea,” that he would run, Daniels said, “I owe them some kind of an answer."

Another potential Republican contender, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour outlined a similar timeline in an interview with the state’s Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

“It's a big, big decision. I'm not in any hurry to make the decision. I've got time,” Barbour told members of the Clarion-Ledger editorial board. “But I feel like I need to make a decision by this spring, and that's what I intend to do.”

A third possible Republican contender, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, recently said in an interview on Fox News that he also planned to wait until several months into 2011 to announce his decision.

“If I do it, I will do it about March and I am still look at future openings with a book coming out in January, and I have to spend time promote that,” Pawlenty told Fox’s Neil Cavuto last week.

Like Daniels, Barbour and Pawlenty, none of the other potential Republican presidential contenders appear to be in much of a hurry to make their intentions known.

A delay means that the candidates have more time to organize and staff up -- both on the national and state levels. It also means they can start building up their campaign war chests and don’t have to start spending the money so soon.

The 2012 timeline represents a marked departure from the early stages of the 2008 campaign. By the end of December in 2006, Democrat John Edwards had already officially announced his candidacy. He was followed by Hillary Clinton in late January 2007 and Barack Obama in early February.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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