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Musgrove says Barbour not suited to govern

By Staff
from staff and wire reports
Oct. 16, 2003
JACKSON Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said Wednesday that Republican Haley Barbour's display of anger during a gubernatorial debate shows he would be unable to work with those who disagree with him.
Musgrove meets Barbour and three third-party candidates in the Nov. 4 election. At stake is the state's top elected office.
During the gubernatorial debate Tuesday at Delta State University, Barbour criticized a Musgrove television advertisement that claims the Republican lobbied for companies that tried to "poison" children.
Barbour, pointing at Musgrove and telling the governor to look at him, said: "That's the lowest, dirtiest, most despicable but desperate thing I've ever seen any candidate say in a campaign."
Musgrove didn't respond to Barbour at the debate.
He said later that the ad referred to millions of dollars Barbour earned as a Washington lobbyist for tobacco companies that fought bans on marketing their products to young people.
Musgrove said he's had policy differences with members of the Legislature and the Democratic Party, "but a governor can't govern with a big stick and a big temper. It's just not the way we do it in Mississippi."
Barbour denied losing his temper, saying he wanted to force Musgrove to stand by his ads.
Barbour said his Washington lobbying firm's contract with the tobacco company was to enact the national settlement Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore helped negotiate.
Mississippi was the first of several states to sue the industry over health care costs related to treating tobacco-related illnesses.
Barbour said the tobacco settlement specifically prohibited any advertising or marketing aimed at minors.