Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour in Naples: GOP focus on policy will win in 2012

Barbour was in Naples on Friday as part of the Forum Club of Southwest Florida’s speaker series. Barbour spoke to about 360 Southwest Florida members, and the luncheon at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club was one of the most highly attended in the club’s recent history, said Ellie Krier, the executive director of the Forum Club of Southwest Florida.

His 40-minute speech focused primarily on current affairs —such as federal spending and the deficit — and how those policies affect everyday American life. Barbour also touched on the future, but skirted the issue of whether he planned to run in 2012.

Barbour said he didn’t think his presence on the national political stage would hinder his chances in a 2012 election, and said he didn’t plan on walking away from his background. Barbour served as chairman of Republican National Committee and worked as a political aide in Ronald Reagan’s White House.

“I can’t deny I’m a Washington insider,” he said. “But I think people want someone who can get things done.”

Getting things done means making significant changes to the current administration’s policies, like ones relating to health care, in his view.

The recent health care reform act will have a significant effect on Mississippi’s pocketbooks: Barbour said the number of people who would be eligible for Medicare in his state would jump to between 900,000 to 950,000 from 600,000. The costs associated with that increase would then be passed on to the average taxpayer.