In New Hampshire, Haley Barbour just so happens to mention he’s a Boston Red Sox fan

Holly Bailey

New Hampshire's 2012 presidential primary is still at least eight months away, but it's never too soon to begin pandering for votes.

Case in point: Haley Barbour, who just happened to mention to voters at a diner in Manchester this morning that he really loves the Boston Red Sox.  It's a claim that would endear him anyone in the state, given New Hampshire is practically a suburb of Boston--in the sports world, anyway.

But it's a fishy claim for a Mississippi governor to make--especially one who has talked so often of his Southern pride. Still, Barbour insists to the Union Leader's Andrew Cline that he's not pandering.

"I've been a Red Sox fan all my life," Barbour claimed, adding that his mom was a rabid Sox fan when he was growing up.

Barbour, who has said he'll decide by the end of the month whether he's running for president, told Cline that his mother gave him a Red Sox warm-up jacket when he was just 12 and often took the family on road trips to see the team play when they "barnstormed" close enough to Mississippi.

The governor had better hope that he has the evidence to back up his claims. Just ask Mitt Romney, who was forced to defend his credentials in Red Sox Nation in 2007 after he flubbed several key historical facts about the once long-suffering team.

(Photo of Barbour: Alex Hicks/Spartanburg Herald-Journal via AP)