Barbour, advisers privately mull 2012 run

When asked about his presidential ambitions, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told reporters earlier this year that “If you see me losing 40 pounds that means I’m either running or have cancer.”

It might be time to start watching Barbour’s waistline.

POLITICO has learned that Barbour is weighing the prospect of a 2012 White House bid and convened a private meeting April 8 with a group of some of his oldest and closest advisers, some of whom flew in from the East Coast to Jackson, Miss. The gathering stretched for six hours, during which time the topic of a presidential run was discussed.

One adviser familiar with the state capital sit-down said that Barbour concluded that he did not need to make a decision now and that the group should meet again after this fall’s election.

Barbour, who as chairman of the Republican Governors Association is directing the GOP’s efforts to win the 37 governors’ races this year, told his team that he would remain focused intently on November but also made clear that he would stay open to the prospect of a presidential run.

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April 16