Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Monday that he won’t run for president in 2012, an announcement that leaves an already murky Republican field that much murkier.
Barbour, seen by many political observers as a potential powerhouse given his establishment ties and his fundraising prowess, said he ultimately decided to bow out because he wasn’t ready for the “all-consuming effort” it would take to make it to the White House.
His decision to remove his hat from the ring is unlikely to make a noticeable dent in the early primary polls, because Barbour was mostly unknown to Americans beyond the Gulf area. Still, the Mississippi Republican had been testing the waters in New Hampshire, and most observers expected him to be able to make a splash if he opted to enter the race.
Barbour’s full statement:
Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.
I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.
A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.
This decision means I will continue my job as Governor Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.