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Gov. Haley Barbour opines on government shutdown

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 10/01/2013 6:43 pm
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - Seventeen years is how far back you'd have to go to see the last federal government shutdown that temporarily closed federal programs like the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Back then, the political climate was very similar to today's.

A Democrat was president, and the House was controlled by Republicans, both who were bickering about how to properly run the government and its programs.

During that time, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was head of the Republican National Committee, and he says the party is repeating the same mistake.

"It was bad for Republicans," Barbour said. "The Republicans got the blame. Fortunately, it wasn't nearly as bad as people were led to believe it was gonna be, but it did hurt Republicans."

Barbour, who served two terms as governor, says because it's a partial shutdown, it won't be as bad a some people say, and he doesn't anticipate it having a negative impact on the state.

"When they look back in a few weeks or months, they will say, 'Well, it wasn't as big of deal as I thought it was gonna be.'"
With that said, he believes it's still a poor decision, stating it makes Congress and the President look weak.

"It speaks very badly about the leadership of our government when the President says he'll talk to the Russians and the Iranians, but he won't talk to the Republicans."

Barbour didn't take it easy on his own party.

He says the Republican battle on Obamacare is pointless since they don't have enough votes in the Senate.

"There's no chance to succeed," he said.

He says, if anything, Republicans are helping President Obama.

"Obama is sinking like a rock," he said. "Everything he's done is looking bad. The public doesn't like what he's doing. The only thing holding him up is the Republicans. They are getting in the way of his fall, and I think the they should get out of his way."

Barbour says he thinks this shutdown will only last two to three days.

The longest U.S. shutdown in history lasted 21 days, which took place of Barbour's RNC leadership in 1996.

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