In Iowa Barbour calls for a 2012 campaign focused on economic policy

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) took to the podium in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday to urge Republicans to make the upcoming presidential campaign about economic policy.

"It is absolutely critical that we elect a new president of the United States and I think the best way, the critical way, perhaps the only way is for us to make sure that, like the 2010 campaign, the 2012 campaign is focused on policy," Barbour told the Conservatives Principles Political Action Committee conference. "When President Obama was elected, the American people thought they were going to – as Bill Clinton put it – focus laser-like on growing the economy and job creation, yet the policies of this administration in every case have made it harder to create jobs and promote economic growth."

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In his speech Barbour, who is a likely frontrunner for the Republican nomination, hit the Obama administration with accusations of raising taxes, expanding the federal government and restricting domestic energy production – familiar targets for Republicans. What Barbour did not talk about were social issues. The closest the governor came to addressing traditional conservative issues was tying social policy to economic prosperity.

"Religious freedom, political freedom are totally intertwined with economic freedom – with the power to make our own decisions," he said.

Barbour said that Obama's policies told Americans what to do on too many issues.

"This administration too often thinks that we're too stupid to take care of ourselves," he said. "That we're not up to it and that we need somebody in Washington to tell us what kind of health insurance policy that we have, to tell us how to do every thing that we do when the facts of our history show that turned loose American ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit and there is no limit to what our children and grandchildren can have."