Haley Barbour not running for president

Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour will not run for president in 2012, according to a statement released Monday.

“I will not be a candidate for president next year,” Barbour said. “This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.”

The two-term governor has spent the past few months touring the country, including stops in primary hot spots Iowa and New Hampshire. He had also established a well-funded political action committee and said often that he was heavily considering a run. True to his word, he said he would announce his decision near the end of April.

“I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts.  If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it,” he said. “A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.  His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate.  I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.”

In February, Barbour told The Daily Caller that he would only run if he knew he could beat President Obama.

“If I think somebody’s gotta appreciably better chance of winning than I, then I’ll be for that somebody. If he’s a conservative Republican,” he said.

Barbour, a longtime heavy hitter in Republican circles, will remain the head of the Republican Governor’s Association and continue his governorship in Mississippi.