Haley Barbour Won't Denounce KKK Leader License Plate

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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is testing the waters for a potential 2012 presidential bid, declined to denounce a proposal by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to honor a Civil War general and founder of the Ku Klux Klan on state license plates.

The AP reports:

Questioned by reporters Tuesday in Jackson, Barbour said he doesn't think Mississippi legislators will approve the [Nathan Bedford] Forrest license plate proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The group wants the car tag in 2014 as part of a series of Civil War license plates.

Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson has called on Barbour to denounce the license plate idea.

Asked about that Tuesday, Barbour replied: "I don't go around denouncing people."

Barbour has previously come under fire for remarks making light of the civil rights struggle in Mississippi when he was a young man -- remarks he later recanted.

For more on the present controversy, see earlier: "Will Haley Barbour Condemn Effort to Honor KKK Founder?"

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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