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WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - Haley Barbour is out. Why, one might ask, is Mississippi's popular governor opting against a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012? Well, he says he's just not sure he's got the "absolute fire in the belly" that supporters deserve from their candidate.
Maybe that's the kind of self-discovery that comes on the pre-campaign trail, in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he had visited in recent weeks. Perhaps he's not alone in feeling not up for the job. The Republican field is unusually subdued at a time in the campaign calendar when it should be hopping with activity.
If you are a good Republican candidate, 2016 is probably much more appealing. No incumbent and no Barack Obama, who, for all his declining poll numbers these days, is still a hard candidate to beat.
But Barbour might have excluded himself from 2016, too. He said he didn't have the fire for "embracing a 10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else." If he doesn't have it now, can he have it in four years? Well, fire does have a way of coming back just when you think it's extinguished.
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Republican Barbour says no to 2012 White House run
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, unable to break out of a crowded Republican field, said on Monday he will not run for U.S. president in 2012 and suggested he did not have the "fire in the belly" for a race. Barbour, 63, polled only 2 percent in a Gallup poll last week that gave a first look at Republican preferences for 2012, way behind other rivals. Making matters worse, he had back surgery two weeks ago. [ID:nN25213760]
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