Barbour speaks to Johnson County GOP

BY SARAH BULMER | MARCH 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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American economic growth will improve when more goods sold in the United States come from within its borders, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said.

And that, in turn, will create more American jobs, the potential GOP presidential-nomination candidate told a crowd of about 300 at the Johnson County GOP’s annual spaghetti dinner on March 25.

“The American people are tired of happy talk,” Barbour said. “People are ready to hear the facts.”

Barbour said he hopes to cut government spending by using more American resources such as oil, gas, nuclear power, and coal.

“My energy policy is very simple,” Barbour told The Daily Iowan. “What we need in the United States is more American energy. Our economy has had that since the British landed in Jamestown nearly 400 years ago.”

Less outsourcing and simple speech are crucial to turn Washington, D.C., into the “shining city on the hill” former President Ronald Reagan once spoke about, the former Reagan-administration official said.

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Iowa Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley said he didn’t know there were so many Republicans in Iowa City or Johnson County.

“We heard all the talk about change and hope,” McKinley said at the event. “We got the change, now the hope is that Republicans have started a resurgence.”

Barbour said that throughout his 42 years in politics, he’s never seen such a gripping concern for the future of the next generation.

“Four more years of Obama are four more years I don’t think our country can stand,” Barbour said in his speech.

Megan Hippensteel, a busser at the Cedar Rapids Marriott who has been following politics since 2005 and attended the event, said she hopes Barbour’s possible involvement in the election will get the GOP state of mind back into the White House.

“Hopefully, we can repeal Obama’s policies, like the health-care policy,” she said. “We want more people to have health care if they can afford it.”

Barbour said there’s a strong possibility he will run for president, but he won’t decide until the end of April. First he wants to get through the Mississippi legislative session.

“I think the American people want you to finish your day job before you move on to the next job,” Barbour told the DI.

Margaret Murphy, the president of the University of Iowa Democrats, said Obama definitely has a chance of being re-elected because of his political base in Iowa.

“There isn’t a clear front-runner in the Republican Party,” she said. “There are so many people who are interested.”

Though Murphy said she doesn’t agree with many of Barbour’s ideas, she understands the appeal of a candidate who promises to lower taxes.

Barbour’s prominence as a GOP presidential-nomination candidate is in question, considering his fellow GOP members who also might run, including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney.

“They’re all great friends of mine,” Barbour told the DI. “We’ll just let the voters choose.”

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