Barbour for Vice-President?

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Gov. Haley Barbour introduced Rudolph Giuliani last year at a campaign stop at Hinds Community College, but shrugged off questions about the possibility he could by Giuliani's running mate. Now this weekend, a commercial will hit the air in Jackson and Phoenix, Arizona.

The creator of the campaign to draft Haley Barbour for vice president says his reasoning is clear.

"On both sides, being Democrats and Republicans, are citing the economy as their primary concern this election cycle," said Josh Jones of the Draft Barbour Campaign. "And Gov. Barbour's experience as an economic conservative and a leader in Mississippi, we believe is translating into people looking at him more and more."

Jones said he hopes to gather 50,000 signatures on a petition to prove to Republican presidential front-runner, Sen. John McCain, and Barbour himself, that more conservatism is needed come November.

"We're seeing people in California, people in states like Ohio, which of course Ohio being important for Republicans in '08 as it always has been, signing the petition and we believe Gov. Barbour can continue to see that mass appeal as we more forward," said Jones.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran said Barbour's experience makes him a good choice.

"More importantly, he'd be an excellent person serving in the office of Vice President," said Cochran. "He has the know how, the ingenuity, the determination to do the right thing, he's a patriot, he's proven that time and again."

But Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said there's work here in Mississippi that he thinks will keep Barbour as the state's governor.

"We need him here," Bryant said. "As he says, he's still on storm duty, so I look for him to continue to lead this state. But it is an honor for Mississippi for our governor to be wanted as Vice President of the United States."

Jones said he plans to run the "Draft Haley" commercial in both Ohio and Texas, before their Republican primaries.

Barbour's press secretary, Pete Smith, said the governor is focused on being governor and too busy for idle speculation.

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