Barbara Blackmon, a black state senator, had won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Although candidates for the No. 2 state post run independently in Mississippi, Barbour’s campaign literature pictured her and Musgrove together as though they were running as a ticket and warning that they would be “unbearable” for Mississippi.
I had figured back then Barbour’s race card would be worth about 50,000 votes for him. That was pretty close to his victory margin.
The rotund, drawling Barbour as president of the Republican Governors Association handed out some $100 million in campaign cash among successful GOP gubernatorial candidates on Nov. 2. That moved him closer to the winner’s circle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination when, surprisingly, from the right flank his presidential aspirations were dealt what could be a fatal blow.
A lengthy profile piece was written by an editor of the ultra-conservative magazine, the Weekly Standard, who had been given unusual access to Barbour, including a visit with him in Barbour’s hometown of Yazoo City. Barbour is quoted praising the segregationist white Citizens Councils in his town as “an organization of town leaders” who kept the violent Ku Klux Klan out of city. His comment that “I just don’t remember it being that bad,” when black Mississippians were risking their lives to achieve their lawful civil rights, was immediately scorched by national TV commentators and other news media.