Haley Barbour in the news

Mississippi Governor: Gubernatorial Stars Are the Route to GOP White House in 2012

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a possible 2012 contender, says the route to the White House goes through the state houses.

Even though the GOP has suffered significant losses in the last two national elections, Barbour said the GOP must first win back gubernatorial seats in upcoming elections in order to re-take the bully pulpit.

“There is nothing that’s going to happen in 2009 and ’10 that will affect the 2012 presidential election as much as how Republicans fare in the 2009-’10 elections,” Barbour told FOX News in an interview Saturday during the National Governors Association meeting. “I’m going to spend my political energy and time in electing Republican governors.”

Barbour and the RGA are focused on winning gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia this year, but in 2010 a total of 37 governors seats are up for grabs.

Barbour deflected questions on whether he was interested in a bid but said the upside of the Republican Party’s being out of power is that it can use its time and a number of GOP voices to rebuild and better position itself.

“People have been hearing from the Bush administration for the last eight years,” Barbour said.

“There are a lot of people in the Republican Party who have a chance to be heard now, and we want to hear from them. When you’re the out party you don’t have one spokesman.”


At Governors’ Meeting, Budget Problems Are Inescapable

BILOXI, Miss. These are grim days for governors. Here’s one example: Offered an invitation to spend a weekend on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico at the annual meeting of the National Governors Association, more than half the nation’s governors politely declined.

Budget issues have kept some governors at home, including the chairman of the NGA, Pennsylvania’s Edward G. Rendell (D). He decided it wasn’t wise to leave his state on the first “payless payday” for state workers. “Not a very good move for me to go down to Biloxi,” he said by telephone.

The governor of the hardest-hit state, California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), is also a no-show because he is struggling with his legislature to close a $26 billion budget deficit. Legislative leaders reported Saturday that after two weeks of hard negotiations, they were moving toward a solution. Meanwhile, the state has been issuing IOUs in lieu of payment.

Others governors who have resolved budget problems for this fiscal year may simply be skittish about leaving home to stay at a resort hotel and casino, even if the purpose is to spend time talking about issues of mutual interest and concern. They may rightly believe constituents would not look kindly on the use of taxpayer funds for a summer getaway.


Governors Cool to Second Stimulus Idea

BILOXI, MISS. — While the struggling economy is at the top of the agenda for the governors convening this weekend at their annual meeting, most attending the National Governors Association meeting are not rallying behind calls for a second stimulus package from Washington, D.C.

“I’m worried about the deficit,” Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., said Sunday. “You got to be careful about another stimulus right now because I think the first stimulus package is working and we should let it run its course.”

Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont., said that calls for a second wave of federal money are “premature” and unneeded.

The federal government approved the $787 billion spending and tax plan in February. Only a fraction of the cash has been disbursed so far, primarily to the states.

Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., chairman of the Republican Governors Association, was initially against the first stimulus package passed by Congress in February. But Barbour now speaks favorably of the legislation that poured millions of federal dollars into his state.

However, Barbour said a second stimulus package is a “bad idea.”


Barbour:GOP Needs to Hear New Voices

BILOXI, MS- Though the GOP has suffered losses in the last two national elections, Mississippi Governor and possible 2012 contender, Haley Barbour says the Republican Party should use its time now as the “out” party to rebuild and better position itself to re-take the White House in 2012.

“People have been hearing from the Bush Administration for the last eight years,” Barbour told Fox News in an interview from this weekend’s National Governor’s Association meeting. “There are a lot of people in the Republican Party who have a chance to be heard now, and we want to hear from them. When you’re the out party you don’t have one spokesman.”

Barbour who heads up his party’s governors association singled out two fellow Republican governors as “stars” of the party, Bobby Jindal of neighboring Louisiana and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

He also described outgoing Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as someone who still is a “very popular” member of the GOP. “I just think she’s a great person, and she’s also a bona fide energy expert,” Barbour said, citing her recent op-ed against the Cap and Trade issue. Palin, surprising many, decided to end her term early as governor.

Governors Fear Medicaid Costs in Health Plan

BILOXI, Miss. — The nation’s governors, Democrats as well as Republicans, voiced deep concern Sunday about the shape of the health care plan emerging from Congress, fearing that Washington was about to hand them expensive new Medicaid obligations without money to pay for them.

The role of the states in a restructured health care system dominated the summer meeting of the National Governors Association here this weekend — with bipartisan animosity voiced against the plan during a closed-door luncheon on Saturday and in a private meeting on Sunday with the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.

“I think the governors would all agree that what we don’t want from the federal government is unfunded mandates,” said Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, a Republican, the group’s incoming chairman. “We can’t have the Congress impose requirements that we are forced to absorb beyond our capacity to do so.”

New York Times