- (Photo: REUTERS / Andrew Harrer)
Mitt Romney may have been the best known Republican presidential candidates since the beginning of the 2012 race, but he is “not a true frontrunner” yet, Gov. Hailey Barbour said Sunday.
“Mitt Romney is the best known of our candidates. He’s not a true front-runner,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
“And what we see people doing more than I’ve ever seen in my life, is instead of saying which one agrees with me most, which one do I like the most, they’re saying, which one’s got the best chance to beat Obama,” Barbour said.
Gov. Barbour added that the contest appeared to be a lot like past Democratic presidential contests, like Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton in 1992, where there was not really a frontrunner.
Barbour thinks a lot of people set former Massachusetts Gov. Romney to the side and say, “I know a lot about him. I want to learn some more about these others.”
“And that’s why we’re kind of going through Cinderella trying on the slipper,” he said. “And it looks like maybe Newt [Gingrich]’s time’s next and we’ll go along. Then after we’ve gone through that cycle, people will seriously focus on, is it really Romney who is the most electable or is there somebody else that’s come out that I think has the best chance to beat Obama?”
The bottom line, according to Barbour, is that 2012 is about President Barack Obama’s policies and record and therefore “whoever we nominate will get elected.”
Barbour recently said that conservatives did not like Romney but they were likely to support him keeping in mind Obama.
“Mitt Romney is not as conservative as Haley Barbour,” he said on MSNBC. “But he is a heck of a lot more conservative than Barack Obama. And I think if he is our nominee, conservatives will unite behind Mitt Romney, because Barack Obama is the great uniter of conservatives, Republicans and lots and lots of independents and moderates in the United States who think our country is going in the wrong direction at warp speed and they know we've got to change the direction of this country.”
Schieffer then asked former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to explain the apparent indecisiveness among voters and why the leading candidates, including Romney, can’t even get 20 percent of the voters in polls. “Is it just a very weak field?” he asked. But Huntsman said it wasn’t unusual in early stages.
“We forget, you know, for the political junkies they’re all saying how come this thing hasn’t solidified?” he said. “But I think for the most part people are just beginning to tune in. And that’s why I like our chances. People say you’re going to get lower in polls, you know, what gives in and how are you going to handle this? I say, you know, toward the end of December, toward early January even in a state like New Hampshire, people don’t … begin coalescing around the candidates until about 10 days before the vote.”
Huntsman recently said Romney, thanks to his flip-flops, is unelectable against Obama. “I think when you are on too many sides of the issues of the day, when you don’t have that core, when there’s that element of trust out there… I think that becomes a problem, and I think it makes you unelectable against Barack Obama,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”