Barbour Warns Perry: A Conservative, Christian, Southern Republican Like You Will Be 'Nitpicked' by Liberal Media
When NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Friday, asked Haley Barbour if Rick Perry had to "clean up his language?" the former head of the RNC brushed back the host of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports by subtly accusing her of engaging in typical liberal media tricks.
The current Mississippi governor warned his fellow Republican to be prepared to be "nitpicked by the liberal media elite" because "when you are a conservative, Christian Southerner, Republican, you have to expect that."
The following is the relevant exchange as it was aired on the August 19 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
ANDREA MITCHELL: Do you think that Rick Perry has to clean up his language? Karl Rove said that what he said about Ben Bernanke is not presidential. Others and also Bob McDonnell, who succeeded Rick Perry as head of the Governors, the Republican Governors Association was on with me this week and said that he doesn't agree that President Obama may not love his country. He said that he thinks that President Obama is a patriot. What about Rick Perry refusing to say that he believes President Obama loves the country?
HALEY BARBOUR: I think Rick Perry has to get prepared for the fact that he's going to be nitpicked by the liberal media elite for everything that he says. And that he has to be very careful because anything that he says that can be taken out of context will be taken out of context. When you are a conservative, Christian Southerner, Republican, you have to expect that.
MITCHELL: Governor, with all due respect, it isn't the liberal media that's taken on Rick Perry. We're talking about Karl Rove, we're talking about Bob McDonnell. We're talking about a lot of mainstream and conservative Republicans, John Podhoretz, who say that what he said about the Fed and Ben Bernanke and the President's patriotism was not appropriate, was not presidential.
BARBOUR: But as a candidate for president - my point is that Rick Perry as a candidate for president or Haley Barbour if I had run or Mike Huckabee if he had run, every one of us has to be prepared to be nitpicked by the mainstream media and so you've got to run your campaign learning to avoid that.
MITCHELL: Does Rick Perry have to change his language if he wants to become a viable Republican standard-bearer if he gets the nomination?
BARBOUR: I don't take it as offensive to say that we would, we would not treat you nice. But Andrea when you come to Mississippi we treat you nice, because we like you and we're proud to have you down here, but that isn't exactly threatening language to most people. But, he has to understand in a position he's in as I talked about a minute ago, that's gonna be nitpicked. But it could be a good lesson for him. I thought President Obama made a very good point when he was asked about this. He says when you start off running for president you have lessons to learn. And this is a lesson that has to be learned that you're gonna be nitpicked.
MITCHELL: What about saying that printing money is nearly treasonous?
BARBOUR: Well, he is right about the policy. I wouldn't consider it treasonous, because treason is a, is a harsh word. It's actually the only crime that's described in the United States Constitution or defined. But, printing more money is hurting this economy.
MITCHELL: I'm not, not I'm not debating the policy - I'm just talking about language. About, talking about a capital crime, treason in the context of debating monetary policy.
BARBOUR: He is right on the policy. I would not have used that terminology. And I don't think it's the right terminology. But he is right about the policy.
MITCHELL: What about the whole question of secession when he said, actually proposed in his last campaign talking about succeeding from the nation. He joked about it today. Do you think that, that is an issue that might follow him around and is that appropriate for someone who's running to be President of the United States?
BARBOUR: If somebody thought he was saying that seriously a couple years ago, that would be one thing. But everybody knew then he was joking about it. My comment when I was asked about it, we already tried that once. Didn't work. We're not going to try that again. Rick Perry no more meant that in a serious vein than the man in the moon. However, he's gonna get nitpicked because he's the governor of Texas. Because the liberal media elite dislike George Bush so much and he reminds them of him. And as I say, conservative, Christian, Republican, Southerner he needs to understand he doesn't have the liberty to say things loosely that somebody else might.
MITCHELL: Governor, my sources tell me that leading Republicans including Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush and others are concerned. They don't, - they're not in love with Mitt Romney. They think Rick Perry may not be ready for prime time. They're not in love with Michele Bachmann. They're still talking about Paul Ryan or somebody else. Do you think Paul Ryan or anybody else will be in the field or is this the field? And do you have any, do you share any of those concerns that I've been told are real among other Republicans?
BARBOUR: I haven't heard that from any of them. I hear it from the news media all the time. However, I don't think that the field is necessarily filled out. I mean Rick Perry just got in about a week ago and has made quite a splash which would indicate that there's room for others.
- Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.