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Haley Barbour Calls Obama’s Policies ‘Tar Babies’ But He’s Not Really Sorry

Haley Barbour is the former governor of Mississippi whose name appeared in the national news when his state was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

He is also not afraid to use racism to make his point, even paying for racist robocalls and radio ads to influence black voters and convince them to vote in a Republican primary to keep Thad Cochran in office.

Those ads were dubbed, “The worst race-baiting ads I’ve ever seen,” by Chris McDaniel, the man who eventually lost to long-term Senator and Barbour crony Thad Cochran in the tight run-off primary race.

Now, Barbour has been caught in yet another racist scandal when he called Obama’s policies ‘tar babies.’

According to a source quoted by Politico:

The former Mississippi governor made the remark as he was taking questions from 100 or more clients of the BGR Group during an hourlong call on Thursday morning. According to a person on the call, Barbour was noting how rare it is for Americans to elect a president from the same party as a commander-in-chief leaving office after two terms

“And then he said there is no one who will run for president who will endorse Obama’s issues, because Obama’s issues are ‘tar babies.’”

When Politico reached out to the former governor, Barbour did not even bother to deny that he used the term when talking to the lobby group he helped found.

Instead, he sent Politico an e-mail that essentially said that he is sorry if people are so sensitive they get offended by his words.

“If someone takes offense, I regret it. But, again, neither the context nor the connotation was intended to offend,” he wrote, in his sort of apology.

He also claimed he was making a literary reference and using the term in a totally smart and non-offensive way at the time.

“The Oxford American Dictionary defines the term as ‘a difficult problem, that’s only aggravated by attempts to solve it.’ This is exactly what I meant and the context in which I used the term,” wrote Barbour, defending his usage, despite the racial implications.

While he may be correct on the exact definition, though, the former southern governor had to be aware of its racial implications, certainly in the deep south, where it has been a nasty slur for a long time, and especially given his own dubious history of racial name-calling and anti-Obama views.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.