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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 12/27/2010

Haley Barbour takes heat for jet trips

By Matt DeLong

Just a week after coming under fire for saying he didn't remember the civil-rights era being that bad, Politico reports that Mississippi governor and potential 2012 presidential candidate Haley Barbour (R) has been flying lavishly on the taxpayer's dime. According to records, Mississippi has spent $500,000 over the past three years on Barbour's air travel in a private Cessna jet. He has used the plane "to go to fundraisers for himself and other Republican candidates and committees, to football games and to at least one boxing match," Politico reports.

On the afternoon of March 7, 2010, for instance, Barbour's state-owned plane arrived in Las Vegas to pick up the governor. The official purpose of the taxpayer-funded trip on state forms was a "project meeting," but Barbour had other reasons to be in Las Vegas.

According to the Mississippi Business Journal, Barbour had invited donors to his state political action committee to drive a stock car around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and then to join him and casino mogul Steve Wynn for drinks -- for a $5,000 contribution. The stop to pick up Barbour was not reimbursed to the state.

[Barbour spokesman Dan] Turner said it coincided with a necessary refueling stop, but POLITICO's review of the records show the plane also stopped in Lubbock, Tex., before picking up Barbour in Las Vegas.

A month later, in April 2010, the state plane flew to New Orleans to pick the governor up from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, a key stop on the early 2012 presidential circuit. Barbour also made time for a $10,000-a-plate GOP fundraiser at the New Orleans food palace Brennan's before hopping the Cessna to a Canadian trade summit on the Gulf Coast.

"Canada is the No. 1 export destination for Mississippi trade," Turner said in an e-mail.

Turner dismissed criticism of Barbour's air travel, which according to Politico has not garnered much attention in Mississippi, though one state Democrat has introduced a bill to sell the Cessna.

"Gov. Barbour is an effective marketing tool in a state that really needs it," [Turner] said in an e-mail. "In other states, people don't necessarily appreciate the idea of a governor being so outgoing about promoting the state, whether it's in Congress or in boardrooms."

It's not uncommon for the expenses of governors who flirt with running for higher office to come under scrutiny. In 2008, The Post reported that then-Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin billed taxpayers for a per diem allowance for hundreds of nights spent at her own home, as well as travel expenses for her family when they accompanied her on out-of-town trips. As Politico notes, other potential 2012 GOP candidates, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, have been scaling back their use of state planes.

By Matt DeLong  | December 27, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency, Eye on 2012, Haley Barbour  
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Funny, lefty De Long has never shown an interest in Pelosi's demand for a personal 757 to cater to her and her friends and family for 4 years.

Posted by: kfstewart | December 28, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Gov. Barbour is an effective [fool]." Well, that could be said about most Republicans. They're very effective, when misleading the human sheep that flock to them and hang onto every word they speak. I really hate to say this but I believe our country is continuing its march towards destruction that began with implementation of the Bush/Cheney economic and political policies. The damages caused by those policies runs so deep that it's virtually impossible to stop the country's slide into oblivion. Too bad there will be no one left, who can effectively punish the Republicans for the harm they are causing to freedom and democracy.

Posted by: Caliguy55 | December 28, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Political power in the United States is a playground for the wealthy to use tax payers money to do all the things they want to do, free of charge under the guise of "Working for the People". Those who get to play are those who talk the best game of, "I'm only thinking of you", but soon forget after winning the limited vote for useless vs. dummy. Politicians will bring this country to it's knees, but only after loading their and their rich friends pockets with our tax dollars and killing our youth in senseless wars. the star spangled banner used to bring tears to my eyes every time i heard it played. now, it just makes me sick to my stomach.

Posted by: mhalligan83 | December 28, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Barbour reminds me of Sydney Greenstreet's Kasper Gutman (aka, "The Fat Man") in "The Maltese Falcon".

Posted by: hogsmile | December 28, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"Gov. Barbour is an effective tool."

Couldn't have said it better myself...

Posted by: bellsauf | December 28, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"Gov. Barbour is an effective tool."

Couldn't have said it better myself...

Posted by: bellsauf | December 28, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

So this Barber is supposed to be one of the poster child examples of the conservative movement. Instead he is setting himself up as a target for the left and right. First he turns off the blacks and other minority groups and now the tead baggers have to be wondering.

Posted by: tmd678 | December 28, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Way to go, Gov Barbour, I hope every Republican in public office throughout the nation throws their hat in the ring. It will create so much static, cost billions of dollars for Soros, et al, to study your potty habits when you were three years old, and deflect 'msm' attention from ALL competent Republican candidates. We'll cut through the media bias and finally get a competent LEADER in the White House.

Posted by: IQ168 | December 28, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Yes, OK, he is a bloated, blatantly hypocritical, conservative-except-with-other-peoples'-money Republican unqualified politician, a governor unqualified for the oval office. So what? Don't get cocky, America. The last two presidential candidates offered by the Republicans that matched that description, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, both occupied the Oval Office for 8 years--when they weren't asleep or on vacation, anyway. Americans who care for the well-being of our country would be well-advised to remember that we are perfectly capable of rejecting the better candidate in favor of an incompetent, easily manipulated candidate of a far lesser caliber. It's all in the packaging and advertising. Including Fox "News," and we should, the Republican advertising budget beats the Democratic advertising budget by something like ten to one.

Posted by: Dallas138 | December 28, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey, when it comes to YOUR benefits, he's a "fiscal conservative".

Posted by: gkam | December 27, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Haley Barbour. Mouth bigger than brain. Ego bigger than any organ on his body. Waist girth too big to fly coach.

Posted by: oldwoman | December 27, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

So,based on what little that I have seen or
heard about Haley Barbour and his insane run for President as a Republican candidate,therefore I can only conclude that Haley Barbour is the biggest buffoon
the Republicans have got,not Sarah Palin
and so Haley Barbour must be the GOP answer
to buffoon the Democrats put in the White House currently Barack Hussein Obama.

Posted by: carleen09 | December 27, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I listened to his interview on Meet the Press a few weeks ago and it was obvious. He has all the talking points and no substance behind it. No answers to the economic problems we face and only good at saying "NO" to anything and everything proposed by the present administration. Now it's even more obvious that all this guy does is spend other people's money and use influence and power to try and keep the status quo alive for purely selfish reasons. He's a "good 'ol boy"--exactly what we don't need and can't afford.

Posted by: valerie14 | December 27, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

This is what Republicans call "conservative"?

Sure, everybody else is supposed to sacrifice so that Republicans can spend spend spend, and then try to recover funds from our Social Security money.

The GOP makes me wanna puke!

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 27, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Do as I say.......

The pot calling.......

Posted by: jckdoors | December 27, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I think the Gov. better enjoy it while he can cause it will come back to bite him.

Posted by: tojo45 | December 27, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Typical republican hypocrisy. A bunch of utter phonies.

Posted by: monk4hall | December 27, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

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