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Haley Huddles with Top GOP Strategists



Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Gov. Haley Barbour dined with a handful of senior Republican strategists Monday night in Washington, a gathering certain to further stoke talk of the Mississippi Republican's interest in a 2012 race.

The attendees at the dinner, which was held at the Caucus Room, a steak place that Barbour co-founded along with Democratic lobbyist Tommy Boggs, included former Bush White House political director Sara Taylor, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, Club for Growth founder Steve Moore, president of the 2008 Republican National Convention Maria Cino, American Gas Association executive vice president Rick Shelby, former Bob Dole campaign manager Scott Reed and lobbyist Ed Rogers.

The discussion was wide-ranging and touched on 2012 politics but not specifically in relation to the possibility of a Barbour candidacy, according to one attendee.

These sort of "feeling out" meetings are going on for any and all of the GOP candidates seriously considering running for president in 2012. (And, if these conversations haven't started for some of the field, you can bet they will now.)

The goal of these gatherings from the perspective of a 2012 prospect is not to lock up commitments from top operatives but rather to sound them out on a variety of political topics and make sure they know that you are keeping your options open heading into 2012.

Barbour, who has served in a variety of top political positions including chairman of the Republican National Committee, is a well known commodity to the professional political class in Washington and probably doesn't need to do the sort of introductions that, say, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty might.

Still, Barbour is smart to do these sorts of sessions since they ensure that the inside-the-Beltway buzz surrounding his potential candidacy will keep up.

And, just in case you needed more evidence that Barbour is considering a run for national office in 2012, check out his schedule over the next two days: fundraising stops in New Hampshire and Iowa!

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 23, 2009; 3:24 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012  
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Comments

Please General Powell...run!!!!

Posted by: jfregus | June 25, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Why the heck can't the GOP nominate a moderate and someone who commands everyone's attention, i.e. General Colin Powell?

I know Mrs. Powell did not want him to run before, but please Mrs. Powell, if you let him run, I promise $20,000 so you can build the ultimate cocoon in the White House and I would salute you as well if you followed Mrs. Harry Truman when she told the Press Corps following her when she would be having her chats with the press and replied never, and this one was the first and last time.

Please, Mrs. Powell...let the General run.

Posted by: jfregus | June 25, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Why the heck can't the GOP nominate a moderate and someone who commands everyone's attention, i.e. General Colin Powell?

I know Mrs. Powell did not want him to run before, but please Mrs. Powell, if you let him run, I promise $20,000 so you can build the ultimate cocoon in the White House and I would salute you as well if you followed Mrs. Harry Truman when she told the Press Corps following her when she would be having her chats with the press and replied never, and this one was the first and last time.

Please, Mrs. Powell...let the General run.

Posted by: jfregus | June 25, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to OHIOCITIZEN for summing up succinctly and without invective the 2012/2016 situation the Republican Party finds itself in.

On a more basic plane: Does the Republican Party wish, for the sake of 'principles', to continue losing, being marginalised, being (becoming?) a regional party--and this is someone speaking who LOVES the South, OR will they eventually reach a point at which they can break free of the (political) tyranny of the Evangelical Right, get tired of losing elections, and nominate someone who can win?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | June 24, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely hilarious. I'm sure he can land the votes of the 28% of people who thought Bush did a fine job as president.

Posted by: Gutavo | June 24, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

A southern governor who used to be a tobacco lobbyist. Can it get any better for Democrats? Only if the Republicans nominate Governor Sanford. Was he in Argentina with a boyfriend or a girlfriend?

Posted by: trl618 | June 24, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Chrisfox and thebobbob are both right.

Mississippi was on Bush's GOP map so it got plenty of services delivered to the kind of people the GOP likes to help. The people of Louisianna and NOLA? Well, as Bar pointed out, they didn't have much to begin with, so go pound sand.

I'd love to see a list of the ways HB has improved the economic, race, health and education issues his state struggles with. If he can't fix things on that micro scale why should anyone think he can handle the macro scale?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 24, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------
That's the repubs problem - they think that Bush did a good job on everything and that's now their standard.

Of course, when my kids were in kindergarten and brought home a drawing that was outside the lines, etc., etc., I put it on the refrigerator and told them what a good job they did.

The only difference between my kids and Bush is that my kids grew up to be reasonably well adjusted, educated, caring, human beings.

Bush and Barbour and the rest of these despicable repug pieces of sh.it won't ever get there. While I agree with some that Ray Nagin is as big a moron as Bush was, the help that NOLA got was pitiful.
Kind of like the rest of the country got from that idiot for a full 8 years and we will get again if we ever allow another of these criminals to get anywhere near the White House.

Posted by: dennissuper | June 24, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Let the American Southern States secede. Barbour would be a perfect Jefferson Davis II to lead them into oblivion. With a Grover Norquist satisfying tax base and the education level of the average Alabaman or Mississippean, the ASS would be on a par with Albania with respect to gross national product and world influence.

Posted by: jboyno | June 24, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Chrisfox and thebobbob are both right.

Mississippi was on Bush's GOP map so it got plenty of services delivered to the kind of people the GOP likes to help. The people of Louisianna and NOLA? Well, as Bar pointed out, they didn't have much to begin with, so go pound sand.

I'd love to see a list of the ways HB has improved the economic, race, health and education issues his state struggles with. If he can't fix things on that micro scale why should anyone think he can handle the macro scale?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 24, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Apart from Mitt Romney there is probably no other Republican capable of appealing simultaneously to the "Washington conservative establishment" and "Cultural Conservative Base" wings as is Barbour. With Huntsman nominated as Ambassador to China there is no truly moderate, centrist Republican who will be in the race in 2012. Pawlenty or Crist would come closest to that. They won't be expanding the party in 2012, as there are currently too few moderates in the Republican Party for any true Eisenhower/Nixon-type moderate to have a chance at their nomination.

The Republicans have to decide whether they will nominate a far-right sacrificial lamb candidate like Palin or Jindal in 2012, or go with someone of greater stature and heft like Barbour and Romney who is more of a traditional conservative. By nominating a candidate like Barbour or Romney, they at least have a chance to run a respectable race and perhaps prepare the ground for younger, more moderate possibilities like Pawlenty and Huntsman in 2016.

The Republicans won't nominate a moderate in 2012. The question is whether they will nominate an experienced standard-issue conservative like Romney or Barbour, or someone from the far-right fringe element like Palin or Jindal.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | June 24, 2009 2:35 AM | Report abuse

"Katrina hit Mississippi just as hard as La."
Except that there was a major US city in LA and a bunch of fishing towns, vacation houses and a few casinos next door. Once again, coded racism.

==

No, Louisiana had a Democratic governor (bad!!) and Mississippi had a Republican governor (good!!)

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the Republicans just embrace White Christian Supremacy and be done with the charade. Are they seriously thinking of running a fat white guy from Mississippi as their candidate for the Presidency??

"Katrina hit Mississippi just as hard as La."
Except that there was a major US city in LA and a bunch of fishing towns, vacation houses and a few casinos next door. Once again, coded racism.

Posted by: thebobbob | June 23, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"I think you properly illuminated our policals Mark. I am sure I would be more radical than in cutting the bloated federal govt. Commerce, Education and EPA would go out of existance if I had my druthers. He would cut into their was a balance budget and once the supluses starting coming, we would cut taxes to match. Posted by: vbhoomes "

vbhoomes is still stuck in Reaganomic fantasy land, since the three departments together only account for $ 71B (Commerce, $ 13.8 B, Education $46.7 B, EPA $10.5 B)

Note that the Commerce Department you would do away with includes NOAA, the Bureau of the Census, the Patent and Trade Mark office, and a couple other agencies you might NOT want to do away with.

These were always Reagan's favorite goats in his bloated budgets, "If we could cut out the waste in Departments like Energy and Education…" The claims only stand up until someone runs the real numbers out. Or the real functions of the Departments.

Try again, boys, your numbers and your rationals just don't make it.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 23, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

What the Republicans need is someone like T-Paw (but NOT T-Paw himself), someone fresh and middle of the road. How that will happen, however, would be miraculous in 2012 or, I'll wager to guess, even in 2016. Obama would have to 'screw up' very badly to achieve that.

==

I keep hearing about Pawlenty or Romney or whoever, the one who's going to rescue the GOP. Fact of the matter is they don't have anybody and they're still trying to win on the negative emotions. Fear and hate. They've painted themselves into a corner with the southern strategy, alienated everyone with an education or a decent bone in his body. To hell with the GOP.

I have nothing against Barbour, except his party. They don't deserve to be elected.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

"The attendees at the dinner ... included former Bush White House political director Sara Taylor, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, Club for Growth founder Steve Moore, president of the 2008 Republican National Convention Maria Cino, American Gas Association executive vice president Rick Shelby, former Bob Dole campaign manager Scott Reed and lobbyist Ed Rogers.
The discussion was wide-ranging and touched on 2012 politics but not specifically in relation to the possibility of a Barbour candidacy, according to one attendee."

With that particular collection of deep thinkers its width and depth were nearly one dimensional: "We will win because our cause is pure."

God grant that that becomes the political operation that runs against Barack Obama in 2012. They might even get half of Sam Brownback's family to vote for them.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 23, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least Haley will have some help.

The NY Times reports (in a story played down by the MSM) that Fox News is now officially calling itself the "voice of opposition." No broadcast station since Marconi invented the radio has ever held itself out as an extension of the national party opposing the President. Unprecedented. 24/7 of Knock Barack.

From NYT:
"The channel has become the “voice of the opposition on some issues,” according to Bill Shine, Fox’s senior vice president for programming."

The rest of the Times article is about how Shep Smith, the only sane person at Fox, is under fire from the Fox-fueled hate community for daring to reveal the hate mail Fox News gets--so extreme and dangerous Shep couldn't share them. (Yeah, that bad.) Stay safe, Shep.

Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/business/media/22smith.html

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 23, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Just think of Haley Barbour and Sarah Palin on the same ticket. She made John McCain look like a dirty old man, imagine what she, or the Republicans' next designated blond, will do to Barbour's image.

Barbour/Palin 2012.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 23, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
It's TOO provocative of you to float this...death wish for the Republican Party! Haley Barbour is EXACTLY what they DON'T need to regain their place as a viable political party--and you know it (or should). If Barbour and his cronies are drinking the self-delusional 'Cool-Aid', that's one thing, but the last thing the Republican Party needs is to nationalise its face as yet another sour, mean-spirited, southern, white male! Not to mention that he is far too OLD, and so steeped in the backroom, lobbyist-driven politics of yore that all the chlorine in the world won't whiten those soiled cuffs of his.

What the Republicans need is someone like T-Paw (but NOT T-Paw himself), someone fresh and middle of the road. How that will happen, however, would be miraculous in 2012 or, I'll wager to guess, even in 2016. Obama would have to 'screw up' very badly to achieve that.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | June 23, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Latest poll shows 86% of Hispanics disapprove of the GOP. Thanks Haley, Rush, Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Inhofe (refused to meet with Sonia), Bob Corker (refused to meet with Sonia because her broken leg caused her to be ten minutes late for their meeting) for shamelessly disrespecting Sonia Maria Sotomayor and ensuring a electoral landslide in 2012.

Great strategy for reducing the GOP to the Eastern Mississppi Neo-seg party. Keep it going. Fresh face Haley would be even better than Phalin in 2012.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 23, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Have another eclair, Governor!

Posted by: misterjrthed | June 23, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Another week of laughing at Republican has- beens. I wonder if laughing at Republicans will ever get boring?

I still want the truth (I can handle the truth) about the "eccentric" Governor Sanford. Has he returned from his head clearing hiking trip (wasn't it also to work on some projects he couldn't do because he was so busy rejecting stimulus money, or to get away from the kids on Father's Day, or something)?

Posted by: shrink2 | June 23, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse


A fresh young face for racists to racists to rally around!!

YOU DO IT, BOY

Posted by: lichtme | June 23, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

If Gov Barbour thinks he has a legitimate shot at prevailing in a national election he is severely delusional.

Does any Republican still wonder why they are getting the reputation as the party of old, white, Southern men? And, if they do get it, what is the percentage in putting up a candidate who is an old, white, Southern man whose appeal beyond his region is quite limited?

OTH, run, Haley, run! Maybe you can get Gov Sanford to run as Veep, if you can find him.

Posted by: mjshep | June 23, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Very telegenic too - has a chin down to his knees, apparently.

==

And I think American voters are finally getting tired of mushmouthed southerners

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Very telegenic too - has a chin down to his knees, apparently.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Those people pretty much had the same attitude when Gustav was taking place during the RNC last fall. Many people derided it as a bit of rain.

==

Well if there was any doubt that vbhoomes is just another troll his last few posts have ended it.

It was Nixon who created the EPA fre chrissake, and to say you'd abolish it, along with the departments of education and commerce, well, I'm picturing a ninth grader coming to school in a T-shirt showing a leering snake coming out of the eye socket of a leering skull. Shock value.

Trolling.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

""whining"

A hurricane hits the state and leaves thousands homeless, and your answer is that they should just take it like men.

Ugh.

"whining."

How Reagan-era."

Those people pretty much had the same attitude when Gustav was taking place during the RNC last fall. Many people derided it as a bit of rain.

Of course, Bush was soooo concerned about this hurricane that somehow he couldn't make his way to the RNC.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 23, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I think you properly illuminated our policals Mark. I am sure I would be more radical than in cutting the bloated federal govt. Commerce, Education and EPA would go out of existance if I had my druthers. He would cut into their was a balance budget and once the supluses starting coming, we would cut taxes to match.

Posted by: vbhoomes

==

With irresponsible ideas like that I'm just really glad people with views like your are out of power for generations to come

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I think you properly illuminated our policals Mark. I am sure I would be more radical than in cutting the bloated federal govt. Commerce, Education and EPA would go out of existance if I had my druthers. He would cut into their was a balance budget and once the supluses starting coming, we would cut taxes to match.

Posted by: vbhoomes | June 23, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Please, please run! Run as fast as your fat, southern, white, old, GOP legs will carry you. And use the photo accompanying this post, that'll help show the nation the New Improved GOP. Yeah!

Posted by: rhinsker | June 23, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree with vbhoomes that HB has proven to be a very competent governor, albeit of a rural and poor state.

I cannot see him as the leader of a national ticket, however. He really is the definition of "insider", although he is a practical one who gets things done - maybe a southern fried conservative Rahm without the cussin' would be a fit comparison. Any R who becomes the nominee would do well to consider HB as Chief of Staff, I think.

I can make a case that McC was the single most effective US Senator as recently as 2005. I can make a case that no one is more competent in the Senate on FP than Dick Lugar. I an make the case for a few R Governors as very competent, and in that regard, HB is one of them, while my own, Goodhair, is not. I can make a good case for Olympia Snowe as a Senator and a leader. I can make the case that Lindsey
Graham does care more for country than for party, and I can make that case for Orrin Hatch, as well.

But - and this is a big but - I am convinced that the R Party is pulled downward so hard by Norquist, by Moore, and by catering to social authoritarians that they will not break out of this spiral for years to come.

Bhoomes and I would both describe ourselves as social libertarians, fiscal conservatives, believers in a strong military, and in a bipartisan FP. But we would sharply disagree about what fiscal conservatism means, I think. For me it can never be Norquist - "starve the beast" is not equal to fiscally sound, for me. When McC said in 2003 that we could not cut taxes while fighting two wars, THAT was fiscal conservatism. The downward pull of Norquist-Moore trapped McC as badly as the Hail Mary pass of naming SHP. As an indie I find many of the Blue Dogs more appealing now, b/c they are more resistant to the big spenders in their party than my favorite Rs are to the one-issue "no-taxers" in their party.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 23, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Barbour has a certain amount of southern charm. For me as a Republican, it would be a toss up between him and Mitt. We forget that Katrina hit Mississippi just as hard as La. It just they had competent leadership in MS, so they took care of their problems without a bunch of whining.

==

"whining"

A hurricane hits the state and leaves thousands homeless, and your answer is that they should just take it like men.

Ugh.

"whining."

How Reagan-era.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

His candidacy will demonstrate that the GOP is not just a party of old white southern males.

Or maybe not.

Posted by: nodebris | June 23, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"The attendees at the dinner, which was held at the Caucus Room, a steak place that Barbour co-founded along with Democratic lobbyist Tommy Boggs, included former Bush White House political director Sara Taylor, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, Club for Growth founder Steve Moore, president of the 2008 Republican National Convention Maria Cino, American Gas Association executive vice president Rick Shelby, former Bob Dole campaign manager Scott Reed and lobbyist Ed Rogers."

Omigod, what a collection of crime against humanity. We'll be hearing lots of shrieking about drilling in the years coming up, that's for sure. We'll get tons of taxpayer money spent on subsidies to fossil fuels, then we'll watch their profits roll in at the same time prices at the pump skyrocket.

Just like last R administration.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Barbour has a certain amount of southern charm. For me as a Republican, it would be a toss up between him and Mitt. We forget that Katrina hit Mississippi just as hard as La. It just they had competent leadership in MS, so they took care of their problems without a bunch of whining.

Posted by: vbhoomes | June 23, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

(*chortle*)

GOP strategists? You mean the guys who did that listening tour thing and invited Sarah Palin to take part?

Nothing to see here but another frog-faced Republican, move along.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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