Barbour: ‘Purity in Politics is a Loser’

by Robert Costa

On Face the Nation earlier today, Gov. Haley Barbour (R., Miss.) reflected on the GOP presidential primary. “At the end of the day, you have got to unite,” he said. “Purity in politics is a loser; unity in politics is a winner.”

“I can remember George Wallace, I can remember Ross Perot,” he warned. “People split off and they gave the Left victory because they split the vote on the right. Clearly happened in 1992; happened in New York just last week.”

Barbour’s comments echoed his remarks at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom conference:

“Winning is about us sticking together to achieve the main thing,” he said. “Odds are, whoever you choose is not going to win the nomination, there’s so many of them. I’m going to fight for my person, but when its over I’m going to support the person that’s going to beat Barack Obama.”

He repeated the message to reporters afterwards and praised the Tea Party movement for following his advice by working largely within the GOP.

“If you had to agree with Haley Barbour on every issue it would be a mighty small party,” he said. “That’s just a fact, and we need people to understand that at the end of the day, Reagan was right. A person who agrees with you 80% of the time is your friend and ally, not some 20% traitor.”

In a surprising example, he hinted to reporters after his speech that Republicans might even need to accept a nominee or president who backs raising taxes. While Barbour said he personally opposed such a move, he made clear that everything needed to be on the table in negotiations with Democrats.

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