25 April 2010 - It appeared certain that Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi was going to throw his hat into the ring and seek the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States in 2012. He had lined up an official May 2 announcement that would be following by a fly-around to several states winding up back in Jackson, Mississippi for a huge fundraising bash. He even lined up a campaign manager. However, to the surprise of his backers, Barbour announced on Monday that he was pulling the plug. One of the reasons he gave for his decision to not run for the presidency was that he couldn’t offer with “total certainty” a commitment to endure the crucible of a presidential campaign.
to throw one’s hat into the ring: to enter a political race as a candidate; to announce that you intend to compete for something (This expression comes from the early 19th century when boxing was very popular. If anyone wished to challenge a boxer, he would simply throw his hat into the boxing ring.)
to line up: to organize or prepare things for an event or a series of events
to wind up: to end something (Here, Barbour would finish his fly-around the country in Jackson, Mississippi.)
a bash: a party or a celebration
a backer: a supporter (the verb is ‘to back’)
to pull the plug: to stop an activity (It is used especially when money is no longer being provided to allow an activity to continue. A plug is what is connected to the electrical socket in the wall to make our appliances work. If you remove it from the wall, electricity is no longer supplied and the appliance stops working.)
a crucible: an environment that is very dangerous, difficult or exciting