Barbour for Vice President? - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 9/05/07

Barbour for Vice President?

by Jon Kalahar

Rudy Giuliani says Haley Barbour is on the short list of every Republican candidate for president of the United States. But with more than a year left until the 2008 presidential election, what is the possibility the governor of Mississippi could be the next vice president?

It was a simple question. "Could you talk about the rumor Governor Barbour might be your running mate?

The answer was simple as well, for now. "I'm on hurricane duty," said Barbour. 

With still 14 months before a new president is elected, there's no need to rush. Giuliani still has to win the Republican nomination. But come February of next year, Barbour might have to think about his answer. Former Chief of Staff under Governor Kirk Fordice, Andy Taggart believes Haley Barbour is a smart choice.

"He brings conservative credentials to the table, he's from the deep south, he's been elected governor which is a key executive branch role. Plus, he's just got extraordinary national political bona fide ease and credibility," said Taggart.

Plus a combination of the two men who led their constituency through arguably the worst terrorist act and natural disaster in U.S. history would seem like a strong ticket against whomever the Democrats nominate.

But the question then becomes, does Haley Barbour accept a Republican nominee's invitation to become his running mate? One political expert says he believes the governor wants to accomplish a lot more here in Mississippi.

Taggert says he thinks Barbour wants to finish the state's recovery from Katrina. He wants to see the coast completely back from that devastation.

"He scored some unbelievable successes over the course of the last couple of years, but I think he would tell you there are still some in the offing that he would want to be a part of helping to close the loop on," said Taggart.

It will be early 2008 before we know for sure.

Taggart believes Barbour could make up for some of Giuliani's weaknesses with deep south voters. But if Governor Barbour doesn't run for vice president this coming year, he would still be a very viable possibility for a cabinet seat or as a candidate in coming presidential elections.

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