Wednesday's intriguing people
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says a license plate honoring Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest won't actually pass.
February 16th, 2011
10:30 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Haley Barbour

The Mississippi governor, who is reportedly considering a 2012 presidential bid, refused to denounce an effort to put a Confederate-era member of the Ku Klux Klan on state license plates, saying, "I don't go around denouncing people." Barbour also said of the ex-Klansman, "He's a historical figure."

Kiel Eigen

Five years ago, a spinal injury during his eighth-grade football game confined the boy to a wheelchair. On Tuesday night, before his hometown crowd at a high school basketball game, Eigen, now a young man, walked with the help of a metal walker, according to CNN affiliate WBRE in Pennsylvania.

Emanuel Cleaver

The Missouri congressman and Congressional Black Caucus chairman broke with President Obama on Tuesday, saying if the president were still a caucus member, he would oppose his own budget.  "We have an obligation ... to oppose things that we think will impact negatively our constituents," Cleaver said.

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soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Asher

    Barbour and Rand Paul: Conservatives for America - we will not denounce a USA license plate honoring a member of the KKK, and we think store owners should be able to discriminate on the basis of race. - search Rand Paul on Rachel Maddow Show. Ignorant : yes Pretty: No. Chance of the US going back to segregation and KKK terrorism : very slim ! Sorry all you racists and haters out there, you lost civil rights and this new wave of "Tea Party" conservatism will not turn back the hands of time!

    February 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jesse

    who cares! if he was a civil war hero he deserves to be put on a plate! so sick of all these pc babies in America lately. makes me sick

    February 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      I guess you missed that whole part about him being a murderous, slave-owning terrorist. Forrest could be called many things, but "hero" isn't one of them.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Howard

    To Haley Barbour .... Adolph Hitler is also a historical figure, and the Germans have criminalized any effort to celebrate him.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gary

    KKK ... It is a proven fact that everyone, even fat hick governors, can actually read and verify that Mr. Forrest was the founder of the KKK. If you glorify him you are glorifying the KKK. Sorry, but you cannot have it both ways! we need to be watchful .. there are several things buzzing around our country that smells like early 1960s sneaking back in from the toilet .. this governor is 1 .. just look at Montana trying to remove President Obama from the 2012 ballot due to him “not being born in US” which is stupid .. If you show there people facts they turn their head and insist their stupidity is correct. If Jesus came down from the clouds and told these guys President Obama was born in the US, they would tell him he is not Jesus.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    Okay, enough ...KKK ... It is a proven fact that everyone, even fat hick governors, can actually read and verify that Mr. Forrest was the founder of the KKK. If you glorify him you are glorifying the KKK. Sorry, but you cannot have it both ways! we need to be watchful .. there are several things buzzing around our country that smells like early 1960s sneaking back in from the toilet .. this governor is 1 .. just look at Montana trying to remove President Obama from the 2012 ballot due to him “not being born in US” which is stupid .. If you show there people facts they turn their head and insist their stupidity is correct. If Jesus came down from the clouds and told these guys President Obama was born in the US, they would tell him he is not Jesus.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BL

    It's no surprise. He obviously has racist leanings, is governor of a highly racist state that is only slightly less barbaric and backwards than Tehran and is appealing to racist voters.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eddie B.

    During Black History Month for the Governor to support a KKK figure on a license plate is reprehensible. This guy is a clear racists and has been tied to the KKK and other initiatives to undermine integration and human progress in this country. The KKK were a pure terrorists group that cowardly murdered and terrorized African-Americans and this historical figure did everything in his power to lead them in trying to keep this country not only segregated, but a slave nation. Just goes to show you that we should never forget the past.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 1 YELLA INKSLINGER

    Sore losers....who praises anyone for losing.....especially a war.......YOU LOST......in words of Ricky Bobby's dad " If you're not first, your last!!! " our governor, in no form or fashion understands the word PROGRESS...."Leaders" like him are why we live in the DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA......GO YANKEES.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. AL

    Just the fact that people in this country want to honer a KKK founding terrorist boggles the mind. Then this governor refuses to denounce the efforts to honer him because it will not help him politically? Seems the country is heading in the wrong direction when a politician will get more votes for being a racist than for denouncing racism.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Heimdallr

    Nathan Bedford Forrest is remembered both as a self-educated, innovative cavalry leader and military commander during the civil war and as a leading southern advocate in the postwar years.

    Less educated than many of his fellow officers, Forrest had amassed a fortune prior to the war as a planter, real estate investor, and slave trader. He was one of the few officers in either army to enlist as a private and be promoted to general officer and division commander by the end of the war. Although Forrest lacked formal military education, he had a gift for strategy and tactics. He created and established new doctrines for mobile forces, earning the nickname 'The Wizard of the Saddle'.

    Yes, he served as the first leader of the Ku Klux Klan, a secret vigilante organization which launched a reign of reprisals against carpetbagger blacks and radical Republicans during Reconstruction in the South. He was after all, a leading southern advocate in the postwar years. But, he distanced himself from the KKK later in life when the abuses of the carpetbaggers and radical Republicans diminished.

    He is indeed worthy of the honor the Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans are attempting to bestow upon him. Hats off to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour for refusing to condemn the state proposal that would honor this superb Confederate General Officer.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • klangster

      you are the decendent of traitors and cowards

      February 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • klangster

      I think you mean a terrorist who murdered women and children for not wanting to be slaves he is rotting in hell as will all who honor him

      February 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • klangster

      I found you on youtube you are a credit to your heritage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_ASU5NzHQg&feature=related

      February 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nuts and bolts

    Just another quality republican candidate for 2012.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. klangster

    " carpet bagger blacks" you are why people think the south ids full of dumb hicks

    February 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Patty

    We democrats Donot need gov from MISS to run againest OBAMA... He will lose And waste your money. Do we need to protect our borders!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dr. Strangelove

    Hello Everyone,
    First let me first state that I am a member of the SCV and believe that the SCV should stay out of politics. Secondly, I would like to tell you that I am a minority being of several backgrounds some of which are American Indian, Gibraltarian and French Mulattos from Santo Domingo and Cuba. I offer the below to you to offer some defense for Nathan Bedford Forest. Mr. Forest was invited to speak at a meeting of the "Jubilee of Pole Bearers" which was a forerunner of today's Civil Right's group. Mr. Forrest was the first white man to be invited to speak by this Civil Rights group. A reporter of the Memphis Avalanche newspaper was sent to cover the event. Below is how the event was recorded:

    Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of a Pole Bearer member, was introduced to Forrest and she presented the former general a bouquet of flowers as a token of reconciliation, peace and good will. On July 5, 1875, Nathan Bedford Forrest delivered this speech:

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the Southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man, to depress none.

    (Applause.)

    I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand." (Prolonged applause.)

    End of speech.1

    Mr. Forrest again thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Such a kiss was unheard of in the society of those days, in 1875, but it showed a token of respect and friendship between the general and the African-American community.

    Before condemning someone please know all of your facts. Let me present a simile: Does the fact that Rev. Martin Luther King committed adultery make him insignificant in the history of this country. Yes, Gen. Forest made a mistake when he joined the KKK, but he had the guts to quit when the KKK became more about racism then it did about carpetbagging. All people of Mississippi should be proud to have this man as a native sun. Not many people have the guts to stand up for what they believe in.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dr. Strangelove

    Sorry everyone, native son not native sun. Fingers did the walking...

    February 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • klangster

      b.s. you are a racist white southerner no black man would use the racist code word carpet bagger nice try

      February 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
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