On The Campaign Trail With Haley Barbour - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

On The Campaign Trail With Haley Barbour

Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha, at a campaign rally in Gautier. Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha, at a campaign rally in Gautier.

Haley Barbour: "I like this part of campaigning as much as anything. Getting a chance to visit people. And as we said at the beginning, let them see me as a person, because people will judge your ability to lead, by their belief in what quality person you are."

Watching Barbour campaign was like watching a 400 meter race at the Olympics.

Barbour: "Can I say hi? I'm Haley Barbour."

Gail: "It's nice to meet you. My name is Gail."

Barbour: "Hey Gail, It's nice to see you. I'd sure be grateful for you help in the governor's race, Gail."

The republican paced himself early. But with one lap to go, Barbour shifted into overdrive. He greeted just about everybody he saw, reminding all of them that he was the republican candidate for governor.

Barbour: "Make sure we have a big turnout. Thank you. Great to see you."

Brad Kessie: "You move on this campaign."

Barbour: "You've gotta move. If you're going to see people, you've gotta move along. You get a lot of energy from people. I do. People are nice, they're fun to visit with."

Barbour: "Hi, I'm Haley Barbour."

5th Grade Girl: "I've seen you on TV."

Barbour: "You have? Well, thank you I'm glad, I'm glad you've seen me on TV. I hope you like what you see."

This tour of the Pass Christian Boys and Girls Club facility was the republican's last afternoon stop. Two Friday night football games ended Barbour's long day on the campaign trail.

Barbour: "I'm glad I got to say hello to you. I hope you have a great Friday."

On the campaign trail, Barbour seemed very comfortable mingling, but being the focal point wasn't always this easy. Barbour remembered a Sunday School presentation he had to make to his congregation.

Barbour: "Well, to get up in front of 300 people when you're 11 years old and make that presentation, I sweated it for about a week. But then, after it was over, I was real thrilled to have been asked, and glad I had the chance to stand in front of all these people, and all these families that had helped raise me in the church and in Sunday school and it was a big step for me."

Church has always been a big influence in Haley Barbour's life.

Barbour: "It's important that you have religious views. And I'm a born again Evangelical christian. At the same time, it's important that people don't feel like you're trying to use that for politics, because it isn't a thing you should use for politics."

Barbour's political career has been tied to leadership positions in the republican party. He worked in Ronald Reagan's White House. He ran the Republican National Committee. He considers President George W. Bush one of his modern day heroes. But his biggest hero is a Mississippian.

Kessie: "Who did you look up to growing up in Yazoo City?"

Barbour: "Of course, my daddy died when I was two years old. So my mom raised my two older brothers and me. And she tried to make sure we didn't miss anything. She worked all her life. She never remarried."

Kessie: "What do you want people to know about Haley Barbour the person?"

Barbour: "Well, our state needs leadership. And I want people to consider me as a leader. What I've done in my life. What I've done in my career."

During this campaign for governor, Barbour has learned a lot about Mississippi. But he's learned even more about himself.

Barbour: "That's another good lesson. Surround yourself with the best people, make decisions that are the best they are, include other people, work well with other people. Then put it behind you, move onto the next thing."

When Barbour talked with potential voters, his often brought up his Yazoo City roots.

Barbour: "My principles, my values came from where I grew up in the church, and my belief and my convictions, and therefore right and wrong."

Much of that he learned from his mother.

Barbour: "There's nobody I admire more than what she did."

Barbour's dad died 54 years ago. So he patterned his life from the examples of other male role models.

Barbour: "My high school principal, my high school football coach were men who meant a lot to me when I was a teenager. As I got grown I got to have other heroes. Of course I was luckier than a lot of people. I got to work for one of my greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan."

What you don't hear the republican mention very often are personal details about himself. Barbour is from Yazoo City. He's been married 32 years, and he has three children. But other than that, he tries to keep other details about his personal life to himself. He told me there's a reason for that.

Barbour: "I don't know. I grew up in a Presbyterian church. And H.L. Meinken once said that Presbyterianism is the haunting fear that somewhere, someone may be happy. And so, I grew up being taught you don't wear your feelings on your shoulders. You don't have to tell people you're great, because if you are, people figure it out for themselves. I want to be honest and straight forward with people, but I leave it at that."

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