JACKSON, Miss. — Republican Haley Barbour says he won't be a presidential candidate for 2012.
"This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been decided," he said in a statement.
Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican Party, had said he would make a decision before the end of April.
Barbour said he could not offer up the “fire in the belly” necessary to run for, then occupy the White House.
“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else,” Barbour wrote in a statement released by the Mississippi governor’s office and his political website. “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.”
Until the announcement, Barbour looked like a sure-fire candidate. He has spent weeks meeting voters in New Hampshire living rooms, attending a spaghetti dinner in Tiffin, Iowa, speaking to pastors in West Des Moines and perusing firearms in at Riley’s Gun Shop in Hooksett, N.H., The Wall Street Journal pointed out.
He also had a fund-raising network assembled from his years heading the Republican Governors Association and lobbying in Washington.
But his candidacy was not getting any strong polling numbers. In South Carolina, a poll released Monday put him in seventh place, with the support of only 2 percent of those polled.
“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign," Barbour stated. "Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity,” he said. “I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it."
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