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Barbour: Democrats use ruse' to avoid vote on Pickering

By Staff
CAMPAIGN STOP Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour campaigns Thursday at the Chunky River Harley-Davidson store in advance of Tuesday's statewide elections. Barbour was joined at the event by supporter and retired NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip, left. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Oct. 31, 2003
Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour blasted Democrats on Thursday for using "a parliamentary ruse" to avoid voting on Judge Charles Pickering's federal appeals court nomination.
Barbour said Democrats were unfairly biased against Pickering. While Pickering supporters couldn't halt a U.S. Senate filibuster on Thursday, Barbour said it proved Pickering has enough votes to be confirmed.
Republicans needed 60 votes to break the filibuster, but the final vote was 54-43.
Campaign appearance
Barbour was in Meridian on Thursday for a campaign appearance with retired NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip. Barbour meets Democrat Ronnie Musgrove and three third-party candidates in the Tuesday election.
Democrats in Washington said the unwinnable Pickering vote could have been timed for Barbour to use against Musgrove. Barbour, however, said the vote was not connected to his gubernatorial campaign.
Musgrove said he supported Pickering's nomination. Musgrove and four other statewide Democratic officials sent U.S. Senate leaders a letter last month announcing their support for Pickering.
Besides Musgrove, the letter was signed by Attorney General Mike Moore, Secretary of State Eric Clark, Commissioner of Agriculture Lester Spell and Commissioner of Insurance George Dale.
Democrats complain
Democrats have contended that Pickering is racist and otherwise unqualified to sit on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Barbour said those charges are simply not true.
Barbour said he hopes Pickering and Senate Republicans continue to pursue a vote on Pickering's nomination "so Southerners in particular can see the bias of the Democratic party."
While Musgrove said he will continue to support Pickering, Barbour said the governor's support has been without effect.