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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Barbour on Purity, Mexico, and Confederate Plates

Andy Barr reports at Politico:

Christian Heinze writes at The Hill:

But Barbour seemed to take both sides of the issue in separate interviews.

After his address to CPAC, he sat for an interview with the pro-life website Life News, where he seemed to back away from his previous support for the truce. When asked if social issues should play second fiddle to economic ones, he replied: “I don’t believe that at all. Social issues do matter.”

He then said that as president, he would codify the Mexico City Policy — which prevents American tax dollars from funding groups that perform abortions abroad — into law and also warned that a second Obama term could lead to more pro-choice judges on the nation’s high court.

Barbour sounded a different note last week in an interview with the conservative magazine Human Events. “Unity is what we need that’ll help us win, and … purity is not a winner in politics,” Barbour said.

That’s not exactly a new sentiment from the former Republican National Committee chief. Soon after Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat in a special election, Barbour remarked of the pro-choice Brown: “Well, he’s very much a moderate Republican, and I think it’s a reminder to Republicans that we don’t need purity.”

As he prepares for what advisers privately say is a probable presidential bid, Barbour will have to make another decision: Is purity on social issues mandatory, as many of his potential opponents claim, or should a truce extend those political concerns until economic ones are sorted out?

Andy Barr also reports:

Haley Barbour is pushing back against a report that he helped the government of Mexico push for "amnesty" during his time as a lobbyist.

Barbour's statement of denial on Monday came in response to a Time magazine story pointing to a lobbying disclosure form his firm BGR filed with the state department acknowledging that it had been hired by Mexico to help on legislation aimed at finding a "path to citizenship" for Mexican citizens living illegally in the United States.

Barbour issued a statement and fact sheet Monday night — and though neither explicitly says BGR did not work on citizenship issues for Mexicans living in the United States, it asserts that the firm Barbour founded "never advocated amnesty for illegal aliens."

AP reports:
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday after the energy speech in Jackson that he won’t denounce a Southern heritage group’s proposal for a state-issued license plate that would honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Barbour is a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

Barbour said he doesn’t think Mississippi legislators will approve the Forrest license plate proposed by the Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group wants to sponsor a series of state-issued license plates over the next few years to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War -- or in its words, the “War Between the States.” The Forrest license plate would be slated for 2014.

Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson said it’s “absurd” to honor a “racially divisive figure” such as Forrest. Johnson has also called on Barbour to denounce the license-plate idea.

Asked about the NAACP’s stance Tuesday, Barbour replied: “I don’t go around denouncing people. That’s not going to happen. I don’t even denounce the news media.”