WASHINGTON — He is the antithesis of President Barack Obama: a short portly white conservative from a small town in the Deep South. But for that very reason — among many others — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is running hard (if undeclared) for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. And he, not Sarah Palin, is the big winner in last night’s election returns.
Barbour, a former head of the Republican National Committee and a veteran pol of 30 years standing, is now chair of the GOP’s governors’ association and, in that role, has spent the last year wining, dining and advising the party gubernatorial candidates who swept to victory last night in one of the biggest electoral waves in years.