Haley Barbour: I Was a 'Pretty Good' Lobbyist

Possible 2012 contender defends his lobbying past.

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One of the biggest criticisms Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour faces as he considers a 2012 presidential bid is that he used to be one of the city's best lobbyists. But the longtime party insider has developed an argument that turns the criticism into a compliment by suggesting he has exactly the kind of advocacy background presidents need. "I'm a lawyer, a lobbyist, and a politician. That's the trifecta of what Americans think of public life," he jokes. But, he adds, "Advocacy, whether it is in the courtroom, like I did when I was a young lawyer, or a lobbyist, is something presidents have to be very good at." It worked when he lobbied for Hurricane Katrina cleanup money. "When Katrina came, the people of Mississippi decided that they had made the right decision," he says. "So I don't shy away from my career as a lobbyist. I was a pretty good one."

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