POLITICS

Henry Barbour Criticizes Obama As 'Socialist'

03/19/2013 11:21 am 11:21:36 | Updated Mar 19, 2013

Henry Barbour, one of five GOP strategists spearheading the Republican National Committee's post-campaign reboot, described President Barack Obama as a "socialist" Monday, using the well-worn rhetoric in an interview with The Hill.

"We all want to make America strong economically and militarily and every other way but you can't do that if you're not in office," Barbour told The Hill. "We've got a socialist in office right now -- how's that working for us?"

Barbour is one of the authors of the RNC Growth and Opportunity Project -- an "autopsy" report pointing to the party's 2012 election shortcomings and image issues. The nearly 100-page report, released Monday morning, included a number of proposals for how to broaden the Republican Party's appeal, including downplaying internal divisions and changing its tone on social issues.

Barbour, who is the nephew of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), defended his strong choice of words after being asked by The Hill if the party should avoid such messaging.

"Look, I think he's a socialist. I'm not saying he doesn't love our country," Barbour said. "No, I don't care."

Barbour joins a number of Republicans who have called Obama out for alleged "socialist" leanings in the past.

Former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told Fox News in December that Obama's stance on the economy proves he "believes in socialism."

And last month, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) said he was proud to be the "first member of Congress to call [Obama] a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth."

The president brushed aside the socialist label late last year, saying his "mainstream" policies align him more closely with moderate Republicans in the 1980s than socialists.

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