Haley Barbour out in race for president before he officially got in

Although well respected in Republican circles, where he has been involved with the party for over 40 years, there were serious questions about how well Barbour would play outside of his native South.


There was, for example, his racial baggage.


In a December profile of him in the Weekly Standard, Barbour praised the segregationist Citizens' Councils, though he later reversed himself and called them "indefensible."


He also engendered criticism in February when he refused to oppose a plan to create a state license plate honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate lieutenant general and early Ku Klux Klan leader, saying "I don't go around denouncing people."


Of course, there's no evidence that these incidents hurt Barbour, other than in his national image in the media. As the LA Times reported:


When asked whether the recent incidents were harmful to Barbour, Democratic consultant Mark Mellman laughed and, in an apparent reference to the GOP's relative lack of black support, quipped: "Not in the Republican primary."


Politico is speculating that Barbour's exit might pave the way for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to get into the race ? Daniels is a favorite of the policy-wonk crowd, who get aroused by his talk of cutting spending.

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In the never-ending battle to see if there's anybody other than Donald Trump Republican voters might be excited to vote for in 2012, comes news Monday afternoon that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will not run for the GOP nomination.

In a statement, the 63-year-old Barbour said,

"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.”

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

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