Is Haley Barbour Taking Sides In the Presidential Contest?

Bookmark and Share  Haley Barbour is one of the Republican Party’s most beneficial strategic leaders.  As the Governor of Mississippi, he also proved to be an effective and savvy executive leader.  As for his Party involvement, Barbour has been brilliant.  He led the G.O.P. as its Chairman when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress in 1992, oversaw the successful election of a majority of Republican Governors in 2010 when he was Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is a prolific fundraiser, and has a network of connections in the Party and government that is unparalled.  All of this gives reason for some to still wonder if he might jump in and run for President , even though he opted out of run several monmths ago.

While that is unlikely, who Haley Barbour does support for the Republican presidential nomination will be almost as important as if he ran for President himself.

That is why his recent remarks on the Laura Ingraham Show have many people raising their heads.

Barbour described rising star Herman Cain  by saying,  “He is likable” .

He then went on to say;

“He [Herman Cain], does not give you the impression that he is full of himself, but rather than he is a straight-talkin’ person who, will tell you, he call it like he sees them. He’s not trying to sugar coat anything and at the same time he is not trying to be shrill and a chest beater. He’s a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people.”

Barbour then went even further and said of Cain;

 “If Herman Cain is our nominee against Barack Obama, I think he’ll sweep the South.”

At another point he added that if the election wereheld today,  his wife would vote for Herman Cain.

As laid out in this Talking Point Memo by Benjy Sarlin , Barbour’s high praise of Cain is a significant contrast to his less then enthusiastic referrences and descriptions of Mitt Romney and even Rick Perry, two men Barbour worked closely with when he was Chairman of the RGA.  TPM even refers to a White House 2012 post and video in which Barbour states “Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans.”

None of this is good news for Romney, who could really use some help in the South, where Barbour has a great deal of influence, particulary in the state he governms, and nearby Georgia and Florida.  A Barbour endorsement of Romney, would be a hinderance to Rick Perry and give Romney much more of a fighting chance for wins in Southern primaries.  But based upon multiple comments Barbour has made, an endorsement of Romney before the GOP settles on a nominee, is probably not in the forecast.  It could go to Rick Perry, but even that is now questionable.

All of this helps to make it seem that with many Republicans not totally sold on Romney, and with Perry unable to yet get his footing after stumbling in his second debate appearance, even the establishment might be willing to back Herman Cain.  I recently went out on a limb suggesting that a surprise endorsement of Herman Cain from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley could be possible.  If the two Haley’s  (Haley Barbour and Nikki Haley), happen to endorse Cain, it is quite possible that people will be talking about him being the presumptive nominee and not Mitt Romney.

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Cain Campaign Collapsing?

Bookmark and Share    As many Republican presidential campaigns are just beginning to increase their levels of activity, a string of cancellations seem to indicate that the campaign of  Herman Cain is doing just the opposite. But it is the type of events that he has withdrawn from which force one to wonder if there is not something more behind the cutting back of activity.

For an underdog campaign, earned media events, the type of events that cost hardly anything but afford you great exposure, are as a good as having ownership of a toll booth on the state turnpike, during rush hour.  You just don’t pass such an opportunity up. Yet the Cain campaign has done just that by pulling out of a Thursday evening appearance on the Colbert Report, a speaking engagement at an event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa , and a cancellation of his giving the keynote address at the Fayette County Republican Picnic in Iowa.

What’s more is, that there seems to be no good reasons for these cancellations. A review of the campaign’s schedule does not reveal any schedule conflicts with the three cancelled appearances. In fact the Cain campaign has nothing at all scheduled on the three dates in question. This all leads one to wonder as to why Herman Cain would give up the chance to appear before a national audience on the Colbert Report , and with the Iowa Straw Poll just about two weeks away, why would he pass up two premium speaking engagements in the very state that will conduct that all important symbolic poll?

From the very beginning, Herman Cain’s presidential path was plotted out on a steep incline. Still his ability to articulate a truly conservative message, combined with the appeal of his outsider status, made him a novel candidate that many wanted to hear more from. This was especially the case after the first nationally aired Republican presidential debate that took place on Fox News. Some of his most enthusiastic supporters came from those within the TEA movement. But since that first Fox News debate, something known as the Bachmann campaign entered the picture.

Michele Bachmann’s entry in to the Republican presidential nomination contest sucked much of the air out of Herman Cain’sign campa. But Bachmann alone can not be blamed for the faltering Cain Campaign.   A slew of staff resignations, especially within his Iowa organization, have added to the slowing down of Cain’s momentum.

Still, these factors would not explain why “The Hermanator” cancelled three very valuable, expense free, high profile events that do not conflict with any other “scheduled” campaign activity. Additionally, Cain has only two campaign events scheduled this week and non until at least Friday of next week. Such a slimming down of the schedule leads me to believe that there are one of two things at work here. Herman Cain could be sensing that his campaign’s momentum is not at a pace that is fast enough to catch up to the front of the field of candidates. As a result Cain is therefore just biding his time till the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, in case by some chance he finishes strong enough to give him hope of more forward momentum. Or there could be a more serious and most unfortunate circumstance behind it all.

In 2006, Cain began a battle with stage IV cancer in both his colon and his liver. Those suffering with Stage IV tumors have only a 10 percent survival rate, yet Herman Cain bravely and miraculously beat the odds. Studies have indicated that the chance for recurrence of certain cancers such as Stage IV colorectal cancer is in excess of 41%. While this is purely conjecture, the early treatment for a reoccurrence could explain why Cain has been cancelling events instead of  just folding up the presidential campaign tent. Hopefully, this is not the case, but a lack of any further explanation of a schedule that is light on events and heavy on cancellations, gives one cause to wonder what exactly is behind it all.

The most likely scenario is that Herman Cain is just accepting the writing on the wall regarding his chances of winning the nomination among the existing field of candidates.

For many, it looks like Herman Cain’s campaign reached its peek, the height of which was now many weeks ago. Even in the area of fundraising, while Cain’s most recent quarterly filing with the FEC boasted a haul of $2.46 million, was half the amount that Michele Bachmann raised. Cain’s fundraising was still better than others like Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum who raised a measly $582,348 but when compared to frontrunner Mitt Romney’s second quarter report of $18.25 million, Herman Cain’s 2.46 million in fundraising is a mere drop in the bucket .

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