Haley Reeves Barbour (born October 22, 1947) is an American politician currently serving as the 63rd Governor of Mississippi. He gained a national spotlight in August 2005 after Mississippi was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Barbour won re-election as Governor in 2007. Under Mississippi's term limits, Barbour cannot run again for Governor in 2011 when his term ends. Before being elected Governor, Barbour worked as a lawyer and lobbyist, was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate and also served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997, during which time the Republicans captured both the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives for the first time since 1954. On June 24, 2009, Barbour was elected the new Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, following the resignation of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as its leader.
In 1993, Barbour became chairman of the Republican National Committee. In 1994, during his tenure as RNC chair, Republicans captured both houses of the United States Congress, taking the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. In 1997, Barbour retired from his position as Chairman of the RNC.
In April 2009 Barbour joined a conservative policy group to discuss Republican policies in town hall meetings. The group also includes former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Senator John McCain. In 2009 Barbour was awarded the Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin. On June 24, 2009, Barbour assumed the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association, succeeding South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. On October 29, 2009, Barbour endorsed Texas Governor Rick Perry for the Texas Republican gubernatorial nomination. On March 3, 2010, Barbour and his wife participated in events with First Lady Michelle Obama, promoting the Let's Move! anti-obesity campaign. On April 11, 2010, during a CNN airing, the host Crowley asked if it had been insensitive for the Virginia Governor to omit mentioning slavery in a proposed recognition of Confederate History Month. Barbour replied, "To me, it's a sort of feeling that it's a nit, that it is not significant, that it's not a -- it's trying to make a big deal out of something doesn't amount to diddly". Barbour continued on CNN, “I don’t know what you would say about slavery...but anybody that thinks that you have to explain to people that slavery is a bad thing, I think that goes without saying”.
Since he visited Iowa in 2009, there has been speculation that Barbour may run for president in 2012. An advisor of Barbour stated, "When he surveys what most Republicans consider to be a weak field, he sees no reason he couldn’t easily beat them. He’s a better strategist and fundraiser than any other candidate currently considering running — and just as good on television and in debates..."
Barbour maintains positive approval ratings in his state. A July 2010 Rasmussen Reports poll found that Haley has a 70% approval rating in Mississippi. 21% of GOP voters would least like to see Barbour win the party nomination in 2012.