Barbour’s thoughts on Sanford

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour arrived in Iowa mid-afternoon.  He's the guest on this weekend's edition of Iowa Press on IPTV and the show was taped shortly after his plane touched down.  The first series of questions were about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.  Barbour also stiff-armed questions about whether he would run for president in 2012.

Barbour: "In my career, I've made it a point that I don't talk about people's personal problems.  I don't think it's polite.  I don't think it's appropriate and I don't think it advances the ball down the field. The people the South Carolina have got to decide and he's got to decide if he ever wants to run for anything and I'm not going to prejudge that based on what I think is a personal tragedy for his family."

Should Sanford resign?

Barbour: "I don't think he should."

What about lying to his staff?  Misleading South Carolinians? Erratic behavior?

Barbour: "I don't know what he said to different people. He didn't say anything to me, so I'm not going to prejudge that.  But look, the Sanfords have got something they've got to work through.  I think they're trying work through it and what that means politically right now, for them, is probably a whole lot less important than what it means for their family."

What impact will Sanford and Ensign situations have on the health of the GOP?

Barbour:  "I actually don't think there'll be any efffect and when I say 'any' I mean literally any effect…I don't think it'll change how one person's going to vote in November of 2009 or in November of 2010. I think it's a terrible thing.  I hate it for them, but if you ask what I think the effect will be at the ballot box — I don't think if will have any effect at the ballot box." 

As mentioned above, Barbour dismissed discussion of a possible run for the White House in 2012.  After the show, Barbour talked with a small group of Iowa reporters and he put a finer point on it. 

"When I was (RNC) chairman in '93 and '94, I told thousands of people, 'Look, if you're a good Republican you ought to be focused on the '93 and '94 elections because what happens in them is a whole lot more important to winning the presidency in '96 than going around campaigning for president.'  Well, I'm taking my own advice.  In 2009 and 2010, I feel exactly the same way," Barbour said.  "….If after that, it seems like a reasonable thing, I will consider it. I have no plan to run for president. I have no intention to run for president, but I have been around long enough to say, 'Never say never,' and we'll just see where we are after '10, but I would be very surprised if I turned out to be a candidate for president.  My wife would be more surprised."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.