Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is not running for president in 2012. For months, the long-rumored GOP contender had been mum on his presidential ambitions, leaving supporters in Mississippi "anxious" and increasingly impatient. His wife said the idea of him running for president "horrifies" her and in recent days he appeared stiff in front of crowds, avoiding traditional talking points like digs against ObamaCare or the looming deficit. Now in a statement released today, Barbour said "I will not be a candidate for president next year." The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta has the rest of the statement.
The Washington Post's Rachel Weiner says the decision is a surprise considering that just yesterday the AP forecast his entrance into the race this coming week. Politico's Andy Barr agrees. "Barbour's announcement stunned political insiders, as many handicappers were expecting him to meet his self-imposed deadline and enter the race by the end of April." Barr says the move makes it more likely that Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana and a close friend of Barbour's, will run as the fundraising powerhouse exits the field.