TODAY | November 08, 2012
>>> haley barbour served as governor of mississippi and he's the former chairman of the republican national committee . governor barbour, it's nice to see you, good morning.
>> thank you, matt. good to be here.
>> let me ask your take on the election. a lot of republican pundits thought this was a slam dunk for mitt romney . voters were saying it's the economy and jobs, unemployment was just below 8%. they thought mitt romney would win. what went wrong?
>> well, first of all, i don't know why anybody would think it's going to be easy. in 116 years, one incumbent president who sought reelection after taking the white house away from the other party, which is what obama did, only once has that president lost. but in this case, it's a very, very close election . the country is very divided, and very closely divided. you get a democrat president, 30 republican governors out of the 50, so the country is very divided, this wasn't like some big blowout for the democrats. interestingly, too, matt, 11 1/2 million fewer people voted in this election.
>> and that to me is something that we need to all think about, republicans and democrats.
>> chuck says it's all about the demographics. so let's get to them. mitt romney did very well with white voters in particular white men, but he lost every other demographic group including hispanics, the fastest growing group in this country. how do you reach out? rush limbaugh said how do we reach out and include more of those people without changing our ideology? what's the answer to that dilemma?
>> certainly don't have to change ideology. here's the point, we ought to be for good policy. my old boss ronald reagan used to say at the end of the day good policy's good politics. and good policy in the united states is we are in a global battle for capital and labor. and we need to have what is good economic policy for america on immigration because we do need labor. we not only need ph.d.s in science and technology , we need skilled workers and we need unskilled workers. and we need to have an immigration policy that is good economic policy , and then -- and then the politics will take care of itself.
>> you know the finger-pointing has already begun and the posturing has already begun, governor. and there are conservatives in your party saying because of this loss we need to be more conservative, and the moderates are saying because of this loss we need to be more moderate. what do you think the right path is?
>> i think the right path for us is good policy. and, you know, in this campaign, one of the things we learned, matt, is negative politics works. you know, hundreds of millions of dollars of nasty negative advertising that mitt romney is a bad person, not mitt romney 's policy --
>> both sides, though, governor, negative ads went on both sides.
>> forgive me, but that's simply what you saw romney was challenging obama 's policies. what you saw obama -- and they're bragging about it in the new yorker this week was that they decided they're going to have this negative personal campaign to try to convince people that romney was a bad person. not -- they didn't attack his policies very much. they said he was a vulture capitalist that he was bona fide bureaucrat heard to an equestrian.
>> before i let you go, i want to get your take because i think you have a very interesting perspective. you were governor of mississippi when hurricane katrina came through. you know what you had to do in terms of working with the federal government . a lot of heat on chris christie , the governor of new jersey for being seen touring his state with president obama and praising his leadership. in your opinion, did governor christie break some unwritten rule?
>> look, the governor, whether it's governor of mississippi or new jersey is supposed to do what's in the best interest of his state and his people. and when you have a big disaster like this, a governor knows that not for the next few weeks or months, but for years the federal government 's going to be their partner. you know, it's very interesting to me when i didn't criticize george bush after katrina, the press attacked me for not criticizing, saying i was partisan. i did just exactly what chris christie did in this sense. i was taught criticize in private, praise in public, but criticize in private. and besides that, the federal government did a whole lot more right than wrong. for christie and new jersey, their relationship with the federal government is just starting.
>> so chris christie should not be held to blame for any part of this election loss on mitt romney in your opinion?
>> hurricane sandy saved barack obama 's presidency. it broke -- it broke the momentum that romney had coming in at the end of october. but that's not chris christie 's fault. now, i do think the news media made a much bigger deal out of it that made it sound like christie was almost endorsing obama . all christie said was the president's trying to be a good partner.
>> governor haley barbour , nice to have you here, sir. i appreciate your time this morning.
>> thank you, matt.