Republican Haley Barbour Won't Run for Prez

Now we're not going to get to find out whether U.S. voters would be willing to replace the first African American president with a white, good 'ol boy former lobbyist and current governor of Mississipi.

Haley Barbour announced Monday that he was not going to run for the Republican presidential nomination, shocking the political world, which considers the governor a serious adult, with enough conservative bona fides to satisfy the most hard-core activist and tons of credibility with the GOP establishment.

Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and one of the party's best-ever fundraisers, said in a statement that he could not sign on for the "all-consuming effort" required of a candidate for the White House.

"A candidate for president today is embracing a 10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required," he said.

Barbour said that his was a "difficult, personal decision" and that his family would have been behind him if he had wanted to run.

Prevented by term limits from seeking a third term as Mississippi governor, Barbour had said he'd make a decision by the end of April. He had been making frequent trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first states on the nominating calendar, and was gaining notice for his sharp criticism of President Obama's handling of the economy.

Of course, he could not escape the charged issue of race. Barbour had to clarify statements he made in a Weekly Standard profile interview in which he said the segregationist "White Citizens' Council" in his hometown of Yazoo City, Miss. was not so bad. (Barbour had been contrasting the chamber-of-commerce-style councils with the violent Ku Klux Klan.) Here is a USA Today report on that controversy.