Sure enough, the first governor to get the nod from the president during questions and answers was Barbour.
“The president called on me first,” Barbour said in an interview with the Sun Herald, describing the portion of the session closed to reporters. The choice, somewhat surprising given Barbour’s political profile as chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, set well with Barbour, a high-profile former Washington operative.
Thanking Obama for the administration’s post-Katrina support from HUD, DHS and DOT — including last week’s $20 million for the Port of Gulfport — Barbour wasted no time in giving Obama some political advice: Forget health care and focus on jobs.
“I told the president where I come from the first, second, third, fourth and fifth priority are jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.