It’s been a while since we’ve heard a drawl like Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s during the New Hampshire Primary season, but he quickly makes it clear he’s not scared of cold weather and skeptical Northeasterners. Barbour says that if he decides to make a run for the White House – a decision he plans to make by the end of April – he will play to win in New Hampshire. He speaks to the First-in-the-Nation Primary’s importance as a sort of test for candidates, “Candidates have to take time to meet voters one-on-one, small groups, comfortable settings, take questions…it’s not teleprompter politics.” He may be preaching to the choir, but its something Granite State voters want to hear from their candidates.
If there’s one thing about Barbour that everyone has to agree on, it’s that he’s got one heck of a resume. During remarks delivered to a group of about thirty Granite State voters and members of the press, he’s asked about his background and rattles off a list of accomplishments that include high-level political operative, lawyer, U.S. Senate candidate, Reagan White House staffer, Republican National Committee Chairman, Republican Governor’s Association Chairman, and of course, Mississippi governor.
In his current role, Barbour received national recognition for his competent and capable handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in Mississippi, and is largely credited for the state’s effective response and subsequent bounce back. He raises the topic both in our interview and during his remarks to the group, citing it as an example of how he has proven he can “get things done.”
This concept of being tested and proven as an effective deed-doer is obviously something Barbour plans to highlight as a competitive advantage; its an argument we suspect all of the governors and former governors in the race will attempt to make. Yet, Barbour has at least one very high-profile case study in his arsenal, and if last night was any indication, he’s got the personal appeal necessary to make that case to voters in a uniquely New Hampshire-esque way.
See video from our interview with Gov. Barbour below:
Shawn Millerick also contributed to this report.