Barbour: Republicans will win if 2012 election is about policy

A Republican is going to win the 2012 presidential election if it's about policy, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Friday.

Speaking at the Rediscover God pastors conference in West Des Moines, Iowa, Barbour said a Republican candidate could beat President Obama if the election were centered around a debate about the right and wrong kind of policy.

"As we go into this election in 2012, I will tell you that, in my view, we will win the election if the election’s about policy," Barbour said. "If the election is about the right kind of policy versus the wrong kind of policy, conservatives and Republicans will win."

Barbour is one of a number of high-profile Republicans showing interest in running for president next year. He has recently made appearances and speeches in key battleground states as well as Obama's hometown of Chicago, where he forcefully criticized Obama's economic policies.

Barbour's speech comes as the Republican presidential primary begins to heat up. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently (R) announced his plans to form a presidential exploratory committee, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is reportedly planning on announcing the formation of one later this summer.

Barbour, however, hasn't taken that step yet.

"I don't know if I'm going to run for president or not," Barbour added in his speech. "If I do, I covet your vote. If I do, I want a chance to compete for it."

Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) are also scheduled to address the conference.