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Haley Barbour handicaps Donald Trump’s VP picks

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The former head of the national Republican Party has plugged Newt Gingrich as one possible vice presidential pick for likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“I think of it as six words: Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,” Haley Barbour said on Tuesday’s “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC.

Barbour, a lobbyist, served as chair of the Republican National Committee in 1993-97 before becoming governor of Mississippi between 2004-12.

Gingrich, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995-99, co-wrote the GOP’s “Contract with America” legislative agenda for the 1994 midterm election. He also unsuccessfully ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

“There’s some obvious things like (Ohio Gov.) John Kasich,” Barbour said, according to a transcript. “Kasich says he’s not interested, but that’s normally the response of somebody who gets asked by the press or gets asked by somebody else. That’s different than being asked by the candidate, ‘Will you be my running mate?’”

“But Newt is a bright, bright, bright guy,” Barbour added. “I think there are just some other geographical advantages with some other people. Marco Rubio, again, critical state, Florida. Popular guy. Very attractive, young.”

New Mexico Gov. “Susanna Martinez came up in the previous story,” Barbour said. “Outstanding governor in a tough state. Really a great person. So there are lots of choices.”

Barbour, however, made clear he wasn’t “privy to any (inside) information”: “Newt is one of those people that’s on the list, apparently.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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