Barbour Defends Daniels

by Robert Costa

During his address to Conservative Political Action Conference this morning, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a potential 2012 presidential contender, highlighted his pro-life record. He noted that during his first year as governor, his “pro-life agenda” was “adopted by our Democrat-majority legislature.” Americans United for Life, he added, named Mississippi the “safest state in America for an unborn child.”

But Barbour has little interest in warring with fellow presidential hopefuls on this front. In an interview with National Review Online following his speech, Barbour defended Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, his close friend, who has urged Republicans to call a “truce” on social issues.

“All [Daniels] was saying was that the issues that are on people’s minds this election tend to be economic,” Barbour said. “Campaigns ought to be about the issues that are on people’s minds. People expect you to campaign by saying, ‘Here’s what I’d do about the things you are worried about.’ I think that’s all he was saying.”

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, another potential 2012 presidential candidate, has criticized Barbour in recent days for not distancing himself from Daniels.