Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have scored the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush this week, and enjoyed some positive encouragement from a tea party favorite, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, but GOP stalwart Haley Barbour is not yet toeing the line.
Barbour said in an interview with Al Hunt airing on Bloomberg TV Friday night that he is unimpressed with Romney’s inability to lock up the nomination. “[Romney] wins and then turns around and loses the next week, whether it’s South Carolina — and probably Santorum is going to win Louisiana tomorrow,” Barbour said. “But what we know about all that is that Mitt hasn’t been able to get the party coalesced behind him.”
A major Republican fundraiser and a former Mississippi governor, Barbour called Romney “moderately conservative,” and said he is not the ideal choice for many conservative Republicans. But he added that conservatives will be with him in the fall, and that Romney’s moderation on issues will help him against President Obama.
“I think he needs to stay right where he is. I think where he is — he’s moderately conservative. I think that’s very in tune with the American people,” Barbour said. “But this election should be a referendum on Obama, on Obama’s policies and the results of those policies, whether it’s all the spending, whether it’s ‘Obamacare,’ whether it’s this terrible energy policy.”