Former Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., told "CBS This Morning" Friday that he would have voted for House Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" to avoid the "fiscal cliff," which was pulled from the House floor last night due to insufficient support for passage.
The aborted vote on Boehner's plan was an embarrassing black eye for the Speaker, who faced a mutiny on his right flank due to the perception among some conservative House members that his bill amounted to a tax increase.
Barbour validated that interpretation but said he would have voted "yea" anyway "because "It would have shown the American people, look, the Republicans have bent over backwards...they held their nose and compromised."
By contrast, "There's been no compromise from the other side," said Barbour. "None, zero, zip."
Asked if he thought we are heading over the "fiscal cliff," Barbour said, "We don't have to, because the House has previously passed legislation to continue the tax cuts...Now the question is, 'Will the Democrats in the Senate and the president accept that or come back with some other offer?' But the House has already done the two things necessary to avoid the fiscal cliff and sequestration."
Barbour also sought to refocus the debate from taxes onto more Republican-friendly terrain, arguing, "We need to get the focus on spending." The governor insisted that the problem is spending, not taxes, and noted that in the first two months of the current fiscal year, compared with a year ago, revenue rose by $30 billion, but due to a $87 billion spending increase, the deficit was up $57 billion.
Asked by Charlie Rose whether the problem is trust -- that neither side expects the other to negotiate in good faith -- Barbour agreed, referencing a newspaper quote that complained, "Everyone is posturing."
"That's a legitimate complaint," said Barbour.