DEBBIE: But GOP political consultant David Woodard says perhaps the biggest challenge the two-term Governor faces is where he comes from – Mississippi, and its history of racial strife.
WOODARD: "It just haunts the South. It's just the spector that haunts every politician I believe and it's haunting him."
DEBBIE: Woodard, a political scientist at Clemson University in South Carolina, says, fair or not, just like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Barbour must be able to withstand scrutiny on the issue of race. And it's proving difficult.
Late last year, Barbour had to clarify comments he made to the Weekly Standard about desegregation not "being that bad" in his hometown of Yazoo City.
Later, he refused to denounce a move by a Mississippi Confederate group to get a car tag in honor of Confederate general and KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, only to eventually say he would veto any such legislation.
Woodard says he would have expected the politically savvy Barbour to have been better prepared.
WOODWARD: "To stumble out of the gate with a racial problem is almost fatal when you come from a Deep South state."