Barbour: No early role with ‘12 GOP race for president

Published 2:21 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Monday that he won’t get deeply involved in helping any presidential candidate until Republicans choose their 2012 nominee.

Barbour said several candidates have called and talked to him. He said he was happy to chat, but he doesn’t intend to take on a formal role as adviser for anybody, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.

One of Barbour’s nephews and longtime campaign aides, Henry Barbour, has recently been helping Perry, who launched a presidential campaign earlier this month.

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“I’m not going to be participating in any way for any of the candidates,” Haley Barbour said Monday, responding to questions during a news conference in Jackson.

“Any of them want to talk to me — and several of them have been nice enough — I’m glad to talk to any of them,” Barbour said. “But I’m not going to endorse or be trying to help any of them.”

Barbour, 63, spoke in several early primary or caucus states before announcing in April that he wouldn’t enter the 2012 race for the White House.

Barbour was a high-profile Washington lobbyist before returning to his native Mississippi and unseating a Democratic governor in 2003. He is known as a prolific fundraiser for GOP candidates and causes. He chaired the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997.

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association from June 2009 through November, Barbour traveled to dozens of states to campaign for Republican candidates. He is limited to two terms as Mississippi governor and could not seek re-election this year.