Possible 2012 contender Haley Barbour says the Republican Party should use its time now as the "out" party to rebuild and better position itself to re-take the White House in 2012.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Even though the GOP has suffered significant losses in the last two national elections, Mississippi governor and possible 2012 contender Haley Barbour says the Republican Party should use its time now as the "out" party to rebuild and better position itself to re-take the White House in 2012.
"People have been hearing from the Bush Administration for the last eight years," Barbour told FOX News in an interview from this weekend's National Governor's Association meeting.
"There are a lot of people in the Republican Party who have a chance to be heard now, and we want to hear from them. When you're the out party you don't have one spokesman."
Barbour who heads up his party's governors association singled out two fellow Republican governors as "stars" of the party, Bobby Jindal of neighboring Louisiana and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.
He also described outgoing Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as someone who still is a "very popular" member of the GOP. "I just think she's a great person, and she's also a bona fide energy expert," Barbour said, citing her recent op-ed against the Cap and Trade issue. Palin, surprising many, decided to end her term early as governor.
Interestingly, all three are not in attendance this weekend even though the meeting is in Barbour's home state. Many governors are busy with budget woes back home, he said.
Barbour himself deflected questions on whether he was interested in a run for the White House but did say that in order for a Republican to re-take the Bully Pulpit, the GOP must first win back gubernatorial seats in upcoming elections.
"There is nothing that's going to happen in 2009 and '10 that will affect the 2012 presidential election as much as how Republicans fare in the 2009 -10 elections," Barbour said. "I'm going to spend my political energy and time in electing Republican governors."
Barbour and the RGA are focused on winning gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia this year, but in 2010 a total of 37 governors seats are up for grabs.