Barbour: GOP 2012 candidates should focus on ’09 and ’10
In addition to being Mississippi’s governor, Haley Barbour is also veteran political strategist. Today in a press event with Virginia republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell he compared 2009 to 1993.
In 1993, Barbour was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee and his party had just suffered a crippling loss of the White House, when Bill Clinton defeated incumbent President George H.W. Bush. Barbour told reporters that at the time, everyone was asking which Republican was going to attempt to oust Clinton from office and help re-build the Republican brand.
Barbour said his advice, was not to look ahead to 1996, but instead focus on 1993 and the gubernatorial campaigns of George Allen in Virginia and Christie Todd Whitman in New Jersey. He said that is exactly what Republicans did. Both Allen and Whitman won and that laid the ground work for the historic 1994 Republican sweep of Congress. (Of course, it was not enough to propel Republicans past Clinton in ’96)
Fast forward to 2009. Republicans are in similar desperate straights and it is now Haley Barbour who is being asked if he plans to run for President in 2012. To answer the question over his ambitions, Barbour responded with the same advice he gave his fellow Republicans in 1993.
“I feel exactly the same way today,” said Barbour. “That any Republican that is trying to focus on helping our party and helping his country, needs to focus on the election of 2009, including Virginia and New Jersey and the elections of 2010. After that we can start worrying about 2012. And since I have given that advice to a few thousand people, I’m taking it myself.”
The McDonnell campaign reported that the Barbour visit is expected to rake in about $250,000.
An extended clip from Barbour’s remarks, and the response from the Deeds campaign can be found after the jump..
Meanwhile, The Creigh Deeds campaign responded to the Barbour event, by also going back in time. They connected Barbour to former Republican leaders that some may not find as popular.
“For a candidate running to be a moderate, Bob McDonnell doesn’t seem to have any problem praising the cheerleaders for the old-style Republican policies of the likes of George Bush and Jim Gilmore,” said Deeds Press Secretary Jared Leopold. “McDonnell calls Haley Barbour a model governor, but Barbour is proposing tax increases for Mississippians while rejecting federal money to fund benefits for unemployed workers. Deeds might be Bob McDonnell’s model, but he’s not the model that will keep Virginia moving forward. Creigh Deeds will provide leadership in the model of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine that will create jobs and get our economy moving.”