CL – Barbour dismisses speculation of 2012 run

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has scheduled trips to Iowa and New Hampshire next month, fueling talk that the former chairman of the Republican National Committee may be eyeing a bid for his party’s presidential nomination in 2012.

But Barbour dismissed such speculation Friday, saying any Republican who was looking past races this year and 2010 “doesn’t have their eye on the ball.”

“I don’t know if I’ll even be alive in 2012,” Barbour said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Besides, I’ve told everyone I know that every Republican ought to be focused on governors’ races in 2009 and the 2010 elections, where 36 governors and the entire House will be on the line.”

Barbour will travel to a fundraising event for the New Hampshire GOP on June 24, before heading to Iowa for the same purpose the next day. Barbour, who will take over as chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2010, said he was focusing his political travel on states with important governors’ races that year.