Possible 2012 presidential candidate Barbour clarifies civil rights remark

December 21, 2010

GOVERNMENT HURRICANES KATRINAMississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who may seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, went into damage control mode Tuesday because of remarks he made about the 1960s civil rights movement in his state.

A profile of Barbour in a conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, included comments from him about what life was like growing up in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

“I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” Barbour said.

The remark risked making Barbour look indifferent to the sometimes violent 1960s effort to end segregation. Mississippi, like its Deep South neighbor Alabama, was a central player in the civil rights movement.

In the article, Barbour also appeared to defend a pro-segregation group, the Citizens Council by saying, “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders.”

Barbour is frequently mentioned as one of several Republicans who may seek the presidential nomination in 2012 for the right to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in his re-election bid.

In a statement clarifying what he told the magazine, Barbour said: ”My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the ‘Citizens Council,’ is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.”


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

spoken like a true white man!

Posted by dontforget1101 | Report as abusive

Appropriate color tie for this flip flopping GOP good ol’ boy.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

In the last 2 1/2 years our country has shown just where we are at as far as racial equality and the average persons actual bigotry quotient.
This cracker as president should just about complete our journey back to 1950.

Posted by lucasred | Report as abusive