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From Barbour, a very on-message call for unity

NEW ORLEANS -- With a build-up and an outro worthy of a presidential candidate -- when he wrapped, he stood and waved as inspirational music boomed -- Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) crystallized the mood here at the SRLC. Again and again, Barbour told the crowd not to "care a whit" about who the 2012 GOP nominee might be.

"We take care of that after 2010 election," said Barbour. As chairman of the Republican Governor's Association, he has some interest in pointing donors and activists in that direction, as he did when he hired former RNC fundraiser Sam Fox to work for his cause. "We've got to win this election," said Barbour. Majorities in the House and Senate -- and statehouses! -- were "within our grasp."

Barbour did a little extra work on an argument this crowd hardly needed to be convinced of: Keeping tea parties in line with the GOP. "President Obama's worn out three sets of knee pads praying for the conservative vote to split," said Barbour.

And he dealt nimbly with the issue of tea partiers running in GOP primaries. "Somebody who's never run before might come in and beat the incumbent Republican," said Barbour. "And when they do, they become our candidate."

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 3:37 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , SRLC  
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