Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has decided to opt out of the 2012 presidential race before he was officially in. He caught the political world by surprise on Monday when he unexpectedly announced on Monday his decision to not run. Barbour said it was a difficult one to make, but he just doesn’t have the “absolute fire in the belly” that’s needed to run.
Barbour had been showing signs of being fired up for a 2012 run--raising money and visiting key states. He is a consummate and deeply connected politician who would have kept the other Republican presidential contenders on their toes.
But despite his intelligence and folksy charm, it eventually would have become difficult for Barbour to overcome his deep Southern drawl and even deeper roots. In addition, he has sometimes appeared to be insensitive to his state’s racially divisive history. In an interview with The Weekly Standard last December, he said that the White Citizens Council, a white supremacist organization, kept the Ku Klux Klan in check in his hometown of Yazoo City.
Who needs fire in the belly when you’ve got stuff like that to come back and burn you?
(Photo: AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)