Iowa reaction to Barbour’s decision

Iowa Republicans don’t seem terribly surprised by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s decision NOT to run for president.

“I’m neither surprised nor shocked,” State Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) said.

State Senator Kent Sorenson, a Republican from Indianola, has signed on to spearhead Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign effort — if she runs.  “I think it was very clear that (Barbour) was not somebody who was going to appeal to Iowans,” Sorenson said during an interview moments ago in the statehouse.  “I think he speaks in a rhetoric from the ’80s and I think the Republicans in Iowa are drastically different from that time period.”

Barbour ruffled conservative’s feathers in late June of 2009 when he gave a speech at an Iowa GOP event. Barbour cited Ronald Reagan’s “80/20” rule.

Barbour issued a written statemen today, speaking of the “fire in the belly” standard.

“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,” Barbour said.

State Senator Bill Dix, a Republican from Shell Rock, suggests that lack of an all-consuming passion is the key. “Taking on the challenge of getting a presidential campaign up and running would be a big task and if you recognize you don’t have the fire in the belly for it, he made the right choice,” Dix said.

As for that “passion” thing, Monte Shaw, a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee, saw it from the other perspective.  “As I travel around (Iowa)…I didn’t ever run into someone who said, you know, ‘I’m going to put my life on hold and work for Haley Barbour if he throws his hat in the ring,” Shaw said.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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