Barbour says Clinton’s 1996 strategy might help Obama
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Friday offered some advice to the man that he may seek to unseat in next year’s election, President Barack Obama.
The potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate said he doesn’t expect Obama to follow the lead of a Democratic predecessor and declare, “the era of big government is over.”
But Barbour said if Obama did deliver such a message, as President Bill Clinton did in 1996, “I think his job approval would go up.”
Barbour said it would be “good for the country” and the president if he moved to the political center — just as Clinton did after Republicans won control of Congress in 1994.
“This (past) election was undoubtedly a repudiation of the Obama policy,” Barbour said of the November congressional contests that saw Republicans win the House of Representatives from Obama’s Democrats and increase their clout in the Senate.
“The American people saw all this spending, they saw the gigantic deficits, they saw the debt being run up, they saw the damage it did to the economy, they saw the creation of a government-run health-care system — and they voted against it, and they voted against it in droves,” Barbour said.
Barbour made the comments to reporters after privately addressing the second day of a three-day retreat in Baltimore by House Republicans.
The former Republican Party chairman reiterated that he won’t decide until this spring on whether he will run for president next year.
For now, Barbour said, he needs to focus on being governor.
“I’m going to get through with my day job before I think about looking for the next job,” Barbour said.
Reuters photo credit: Jonathan Ernst (A sign is seen outside the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Baltimore)