Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour joined MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday to discuss a recent speech delivered by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in which he offered some advice on how to broaden the appeal of the GOP. The conversation quickly descended into an argument when Mitchell asked Barbour to respond to the desire of some Republican state legislators to change the way their states award Electoral College votes. Barbour called what Mitchell was alleging a “conspiracy,” and said that he found it frustrating that Democrats are never asked to defend the “stupid” proposals their state-level members advance.
Mitchell asked Barbour about efforts by some GOP lawmakers on the state-level who are pushing legislation that would award their states Electoral College votes to candidates based on the proportion of the popular vote.
“Hypothetically,” Mitchell said, “if it were done nationally, Mitt Romney would have taken the oath of office on Monday.”
“I’m a little bit skeptical of this,” Barbour said, identifying himself as a “traditionalist.” However, he said that there is no way to predict what party that proportionality would help from one election to the next.
Mitchell noted that, in Virginia at least, Gov. Bob McDonnell would block this proposal should it make its way to his desk. “Doesn’t this make it look as though the Republicans are trying to, sort of, game the system?” Mitchell asked.
Barbour laughed. “I don’t know how you can ask that question when you, in the immediate previous breath, told me that Republics are not even going to let it out of committee,” Barbour said. “When some Democrat authors some stupid legislation that the Democrats won’t let out of committee, usually the Democratic Party doesn’t have to answer for what doesn’t make it out of committee.”
“We’ve been making the calls,” Mitchell said. “I’m just asking, is this the right move for the party nationally.”
Barbour repeated himself, and said that Mitchell was alleging a “conspiracy” theory that Republicans are trying to change how Electoral College votes are awarded.
Watch the exchange below via MSNBC:
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