WSJ – MS Gov. Barbour: Governors Are Key to Rebuilding GOP

Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour avoided stepping in to the partisan fray today despite multiple attempts by reporters to get him to dish on the state of the party and key players on both sides.

A former Republican National Committee Chairman and one of the GOP’s more seasoned political operatives, Barbour was demure when asked to assess current RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who has weathered his share of missteps since taking the helm of the committee earlier this year.

“I’m not going to tray and critique somebody else,” Barbour told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, noting that he had his share of critics when he took over the committee in 1993.

Barbour did, however, criticize a resolution floating among the RNC’s state party chairmen to characterize the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

“That’s doesn’t do any good, that’s not useful,” he said.

Although Barbour did not fully concur with Steele’s assessment in a Tuesday speech that the GOP had “turned the corner” and a party resurgence was underway. “I’m not sure I’d characterize it exactly that way,” he said. “I think the Republican Party is regaining some energy,” he added, pointing to a harder focus on policy as “useful.”

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