A former governor who declined to make a bid for president, Barbour was in his element in Tampa. In Republican politics, he is a rock star still. As the successful former Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1994’s Republican Revolution), former Chairman of the Republican Governors Association (2009’s gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey), and now a major player with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and his own Resurgent Republic – Barbour remains a favorite in the media for his insight and humor; a favorite in the party for his counsel and strategy; and can hardly enjoy a meal in public without Republican activists (teenagers to senior citizens) wanting to shake his hand and get a picture.
By foregoing a run for the White House, he has moved into the role of party elder statesman, although armed with an iPad, sporting black Reeboks and completing an aggressive media and event schedule – early morning news shows, late night receptions, political briefings and an appearance at the tech heavy “Blogger Bash” – he would likely scoff at the “elder” description.
Barbour told Republicans in Tampa a convention is more important to a challenger than the incumbent because it is an introduction of that candidate to the nation. Voters already believe Obama has failed to lead the country during the economic downturn, now they need to be shown that Mitt Romney brings a better alternative. He said President Barack Obama’s campaign has portrayed Mitt Romney as “a plutocrat married to a known equestrian” – out of touch with the average American. But Obama and Romney are both millionaires, Barbour said, Obama by “writing two books about himself” and Romney by building businesses and creating jobs. Barbour said to stay encouraged, in national polls Romney barely trails President Barack Obama and Barbour noted Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan by nine points at this time in 1980. According to polling results released by Barbour, 54% of voters believe the country is not moving “Forward” – the theme of President Barack Obama’s campaign.
Barbour’s message to assembled Republicans was to stay on message to win. The key to the election is for Republicans to talk about the economy, President Obama’s record, and present Romney as a favorable alternative.
Madison County Journal