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Haley Barbour: ‘Americans are tired of happy talk’

TIFFIN — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour isn’t quite ready to announce whether or not he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012. But, if he does, Iowans can expect to hear more of what he describes as “plain-spoken common sense and truth-telling.”

Barbour told a group of Johnson County Republicans gathered for a spaghetti supper at Clear Creek Amana High School that he expects to make his decision regarding the 2012 presidential process by the end of April, and asked those who have not committed to “keep your power dry” so that he could have a chance to compete for their support. In addition, Barbour said he believes Iowa’s influence will extend well beyond the first-in-the nation caucuses. The state’s six electoral votes, he said, will be pivotal for the 2012 general election and could be the difference between electing a Republican to the White House or four more years of the Obama administration.

“[That's] four more years that I don’t think our country can stand,” he said.

Throughout Barbour’s brief remarks he roundly criticized the Obama administration, focusing heavily on the economy and somewhat on foreign policy. There was no mention of any of the other GOP politicians who are also considering a run for the White House.

“When we had the election in 2008, everybody thought ‘give hope a chance,’ meant a chance to focus on economic growth and job creation” said Barbour, reminding the audience of Barack Obama‘s messaging that began in Iowa. Ultimately, he added, the priorities of the Obama administration have not reflected American’s perceptions of that message.

While Barbour’s words received nods of support from Republicans gathered in Tiffin, he remains a potential candidate who is relatively unknown to traditional caucus-goers. For instance, in marketing materials for the event circulated by the Johnson County Republicans, the keynote speaker was listed as “Mississippi Gov. Haley Barber.”

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