By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS
JACKSON (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s wife says the thought of his running for president “horrifies me” because it would be “a huge sacrifice for a family to make.”
“It’s been a lot to be first lady of the state of Mississippi and this would be 50 times bigger,” Marsha Barbour told south Mississippi’s WLOX-TV on Thursday.
She’s not the first member of the Barbour family to express reservations about the governor’s possible run for the Republican nomination. One of the Barbours’ adult sons, Sterling, told a magazine editor in an email two weeks ago that he’s a private person and he hopes his father doesn’t run for president.
Barbour’s wife and son both say they’ll support him if he enters the race. Barbour, 63, has said he may announce his intentions this month.
Jim Dyke, a spokesman for the governor, told The Associated Press on Friday that Marsha Barbour was saying what everyone knows about campaigns.
“There are unique demands posed by the daunting challenge of campaigning for and serving as president of the United States,” Dyke said.
Barbour, in his second term as governor, has appeared in Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina and other states with early presidential caucuses or primaries.
Marsha Barbour has kept a relatively low profile as the governor’s wife, aside from her help with Hurricane Katrina recovery. She spent several weeks on the Gulf Coast after Katrina struck in August 2005, communicating with Barbour’s staff about neighborhoods in need of food and other necessities.
She said a presidential campaign could take two years, and there would be another eight-year commitment if her husband wins two terms. That, she said, would take 10 years from “the last part our productive lives.”
“It horrifies me,” she said. “It’s a very overwhelming task and he’s going out and doing some things just to see if he gets that fire in his belly. If he’s not passionate about it, there’s no reason for him to run.”
Haley and Marsha Barbour have been married since December 1971. They have two grown sons and four grandchildren.
Marsha Barbour said she’s praying about her husband’s decision.
“If God and Haley decide to do it, I’m sure God will give me strength to be a good partner,” she said.