Haley Barbour: The media favorite for the GOP nomination?

The 63-year-old Mississippi governor, who’s considering a 2012 White House run, enjoys the friendliest relations with the Washington media elite of any prospective candidate vying for the Republican nomination. He comes by this enviable position honestly, albeit lubricated by tumblers of good Kentucky bourbon, after toiling for three decades as an adviser to Ronald Reagan’s political operation, as a corporate lobbyist, as a candidate for Senate, as a GOP spin doctor, as a cable television talking head, and as the wildly successful chairman of the Republican National Committee who helped take back the House and Senate in 1994…

“It’s not Haley’s politics, although his pragmatism so outweighs his partisanship, he looks like Gandhi in our current political atmosphere,” says Bloomberg News columnist and Daily Beast contributor Margaret Carlson, a doyenne of the Washington media-political complex. “He’s the Republican Ed Rendell—genuine, approachable, loves what he’s doing and makes you love it, and him.”…

NBC News political director Chuck Todd says Barbour could benefit from his elite media connections. “I always say that dealing with the media is like dealing with any other human being, and he treats us as human beings,” says Todd, co-anchor of the MSNBC morning show The Daily Rundown. “He’s also a great quote. I think there’s definitely an old-schoolishness about him that Obama doesn’t have—maybe a bridge to the three-martini lunch, something from back in the good old days which reporters now know nothing about. A potential problem for him, in the Republican primary process, would be to be seen as an elite-media creature of Washington with a Southern accent.”