WASHINGTON--Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Monday pulled out of the 2012 GOP presidential primary, calling it a "difficult, personal decision" in a statement on his website.
Barbour had been considered in the top tier of hopefuls because of his enormous fund-raising ability, but that plus was tempered in what might have been a minus--his years as a Washington lobbyist.
Barbour's statement at the click....
STATEMENT OF GOV. BARBOUR
"I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.
"Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.
"I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.
"A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.
"This decision means I will continue my job as Governor Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful."