Herman Cain got a strong -- and surprising -- vote of confidence from one of the Republican party's leading strategy lights, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
"He is likable," He said on the Laura Ingraham Show, according to The Hill. "He does not give you the impression that he is full of himself, but rather than he is a straight-talkin' person who, will tell you, he call it like he sees them. He's not trying to sugar coat anything and at the same time he is not trying to be shrill and a chest beater. He's a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people."
Barbour's Cain backing should raises eyebrows given that the ex-RGA chair has worked closely with fellow governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in the past. Barbour has come to Perry's defense at several key points in the race, most recently pushing back against New Jersey Governor and Romney backer Chris Christie's demand he repudiate an anti-Mormon supporter. That Barbour, who is considered a pragmatic party builder, wouldn't give Perry a vote of confidence at such a critical point in his campaign is a pretty jarring. The best he could muster on Perry's behalf in the interview was "90% of what matters in this nomination contest is still to happen."
It's also becoming clear that he's not a big fan of Romney. In the same interview, Barbour threw a light jab at him over his Massachusetts health care law.
"Well politically you can probably play it either way, but I think substantively, here's Haley Barbour's view, we don't want Romneycare is Mississippi," he said. "It is not a good solution for us, but frankly if that's good for Massachusetts and they want it and it works for them, that's their business."
Earlier this week, Barbour said in a forum that "Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans."