Haley Barbour: My southern, lobbyist background not a ‘handicap’

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Though he refuses to say definitively that he plans to run for president in 2012, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour doesn’t think his background as a lobbyist and southerner would pose problems if he were to seek the GOP nomination.

In a profile in the Weekly Standard, Barbour said:

“People will tell you there are a lot of handicaps,” he said. “I’m governor of a very poor state. They’ll say that’s a handicap. People will tell you it’s a handicap to be from the South. I had an office in Washington for 19 years, working as a lobbyist. I have an accent. People will tell you those are handicaps…But I don’t think so.”

The Weekly Standard also reported that Barbour has a quick answer to the lobbyist concern.

“The first thing a president’s going to have to do when he takes his hand off the Bible is start lobbying,” Barbour said. “He’s going to need to lobby Congress. He’s going to need to lobby the bureaucracy. He’s going to need to lobby the governors. He’s going to need to lobby our allies and our international competitors.”

The Mississippi governor continued: “And I’m a pretty good lobbyist.”

In the profile, Barbour said he expects to make a decision on whether to run for president in the spring, when the state’s legislature goes into recess.