Barbour can outlive a few gaffes in Iowa

The debut of the “seriously considering” phase of Haley Barbour’s 2012 presidential campaign was like a time machine back to 2007.

Barbour was just off the stage from a speech in Chicago when he learned that his press secretary was resigning. POLITICO had reported on off-color jokes circulated in internal governor’s office e-mails, including an insensitive remark about the Japan tsunami.

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News stories about the governor’s message were overshadowed by accounts of this embarrassing blunder. Most of the stories also reminded us that Barbour had recently drawn fire for comments that some considered racially tone-deaf.

Barbour asserted that he had not seen the e-mails. POLITICO reported the jokes were absent from printouts Barbour had received of the information contained in the e-mails. Even so, the incident subtly built on a narrative of a white, Southern politician with a blind spot toward other races or cultures. It’s not the way any potential presidential contender wants to enter the national spotlight. But Barbour wouldn’t be the first to launch a campaign while wiping egg off his face.

Des Moines Register
3/17/11