Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour expressed strong disappointment Tuesday in Michael Steele's performance as RNC chairman, saying that other GOP groups have been forced "to scramble around" because Steele's organization
proved "not able to do what they've often done in the past."
], the governor of Mississippi, also pushed back against rumors that he might be interested in the RNC chairman's job, however.
"In order to be chairman of the RNC I would have to step down as governor under Mississippi law, which of course I'm not going to do," Barbour told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Tuesday. "There's no question about that.
"As to what comes next in my career, I promised everybody as chairman of the Republican Governors Association I'm focused totally on this [election]. Because you know we can't wait until 2012 to start taking our country back. We've got to start today," he said.
Barbour has assumed an increasingly prominent role in the GOP and has been frequently mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential candidate. He said after the midterms he will sit down with family members "to see if there's anything to think about for something else."
But the RNC job is not on his list, he said, stating categorically: "I will not give up the governorship of Mississippi to go back and do that."
Asked if the controversial Steele should be continue to serve as RNC chairman, Barbour told Cavuto: "That's up to the [Republican National] Committee.
"I will say this time, the RNC was not able to do what they've often done in the past," said Barbour. "The Governors Association, the Senate House campaign committees and others, had to scramble around and increase their gathering of resources beyond what normally would be the case because the RNC was not able to do what it had done in the past."
"That seems to be your way of saying not Michael Steele," Cavuto replied.
"Neil, you can infer. I'm not trying to imply," answered Barbour.
Other points made by the Mississippi governor:
- He expects the GOP to win the House, and predicts its Senate seats in the new Congress will number "in the upper 40s.
- He believes Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick is in trouble, and that Republican challenger Charlie Baker could win. The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows Patrick leading Baker by just 46 percent to 44 percent, with 6 percent of the vote going to Independent Timothy P. Cahill. "I think Massachusetts is in play, yes sir, I sure do," Barbour said.
- Barbour told Cavuto that "the vast majority of Republicans" will simply wait to see whether Sarah Palin decides to vie for the 2012 GOP nomination, and will ignore the recent rumors and speculation about her candidacy that have been attributed to anonymous GOP sources.
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