Haley Barbour courts Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee hasn’t publicly declared whether he’ll run for president, but one likely Republican hopeful is already moving to woo the former Arkansas governor.

Representatives of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour have been trying to set up a time with Huckabee aides for the two Southern governors and longtime friends to meet, POLITICO has learned.

Both were in Mississippi on Monday, but aides to both Republicans were cagey and declined to confirm whether the pair sat down together.

It’s a delicate topic for the two prospective candidates. Barbour wants to be respectful of Huckabee’s decision-making process and not be seen as pressuring the 2008 winner of the Iowa caucuses. And Huckabee, despite doing little of what he himself has said would be necessary to mount a campaign, wants to keep the possibility of running open and isn’t quite ready to play kingmaker.

POLITICO
3/29/11