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Haley Barbour says he will not run for president in 2012

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced Monday he will not seek the Republican nomination for president, keeping a promise to Iowa Republicans that he would have a decision by the end of April.

“I will not be a candidate for president next year,” Barbour said in a statement. “This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.”

Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and part of the Reagan administration, was considered an establishment candidate with a proven ability to raise the funds necessary to compete nationally, but without the fiery rhetoric that has most often generated national headlines for the GOP.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required,” Barbour said.

He added that his intention is to remain as governor and to work with the Republican Governors Association. He believes the country must elect a Republican to the White House in 2012 because “the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”

“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity,” he stated.“ I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.”

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty praised Barbour, saying in his own statement that “nobody has done more than Haley to build the Republican Party over the last three decades, including last year, when I had the privilege to be his vice chairman at the Republican Governors Association.”

Barbour had visited Iowa, but had yet to make any major inroads in the state. His decision not to seek the GOP nomination does little to change the lay of the land in the Hawkeye State.

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