Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels – it’s one or the other for 2012


Haley Barbour

It’s mid March and no one on the Republican side has officially announced. As such, there’s lots of speculation, so let’s continue with the who’s-running-and-who’s-not series.

Let’s begin with the quiet word on the street, which is that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have a gentleman’s agreement. Governor Daniels’ decision to run is contingent upon Governor Barbour’s. Mitch has promised Haley that he will only run for president in 2012 if and when Haley officially declares that he is not seeking the GOP nomination. At this point, it’s any man’s guess.

What we do know is that Haley Barbour is out there working hard, very hard, raising cash. This is not hard for Haley. He has a natural network as the current chairman of the National Governor’s Association and as co-founder of the mega Washington-based lobbying shop, BGR Group. It’s no small fact that Fortune crowned BGR as the second most powerful lobbying shop in America in 1998.

Mitch Daniels

Raising money is not going to be a problem, oh no. However, given that Americans are so overtly fed up with Washington, it’s mind boggling that Governor Barbour and his team are even entertaining the idea that they can tip-toe around the enormous elephant in the room. But there you go.

We also know that Governor Barbour and his team are nervous and scared of something… I understand that there is an “oppo research” report coming on April 1 that will help Governor Barbour decide if he has any chance in the general if he gets in. It’s all a mystery to me at this point. That said, Haley is sounding like he is running. Just the other day he was (way) out there on the defense budget and Afghanistan. You can read his comments here at Politico.

As for Mitch Daniels, I’m just not convinced – even if Haley determines not to run – that he will want to air the family’s sordid laundry. Recall that Mrs. Daniels took the dental train to California in 1994 (abandoning their four young daughters to Mitch’s care) to marry a dentist. She later divorced the dentist to become Mrs. Daniels (again) by 1997. It was an odd marital hiatus that Americans are going to want to know about.

Again, the usual disclaimer. These posts are pure speculation on who I believe is running for president in 2012 and who is not. They’re based on what I’ve read and/or what genius has been imparted to me by trusted inside sources. I reserve the right to change my mind and correct my predictions, but I’m trying to get it right the first time. In the case of Daniels and Barbour, it’s one or the other. If I had to answer today, I’d say it’s Governor Barbour.

Sarah Lenti is the blogger behind NMPolitics.net’s The Savvy. E-mail her at sarah@nmpolitics.net. For full disclosure, Lenti is a Republican strategist who works closely with potential GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s PAC.

4 thoughts on “Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels – it’s one or the other for 2012

  1. In response to the latest comment — my blog is not written from a mean-spirited frame-of-mine. I am simply pointing out a fact, which is going to be dragged out. It’s a fact, period. I very much respect the job that Goveror Daniels is doing in Indiana.

    Here let me add another Interesting fact that a friend pointed out the other day — recall that Haley was a deputy to Mitch Daniels in the Reagan White House circa 1996. Mitch was Assistant to the President for political affairs and Haley was Deputy Assistant (or as he used to say, “The White House liaison to the Senate”. Interesting how the tables have turned.

  2. Wow, what kind of mind, in this culural crisis, would make the top of their focus the marital issues of the victim of a marital conflict?…..and that victim’s forgiving nature. I know virtually nothing about Daniels, but I say he must be some man of character to forgive his wife and take her back….better for his children for sure. How mean spirited, to want to make that a political focus! It’s one example of why good people are driven away from the dialogue.

  3. As for Mitch Daniels, I’m just not convinced – even if Haley determines not to run – that he will want to air the family’s sordid laundry….It was an odd marital hiatus that Americans are going to want to know about.


    Although one has to admit, Haley Barbour’s illustrious career of being an outright bigot and scoundrel will certainly be no problem with the 28%’ers in America.