Haley Barbour is in hot water for saying nice things about a pro-segregation group he knew in his hometown in the 1960s. The Citizens Council wasn't as bad as the Ku Klux Klan, Barbour said, apparently not adding that it was very bad because it was anti-black. (Barbour has since called the council and segregation "indefensible.") What the Mississippi governor said is damaging, but it's not disqualifying for a potential presidential bid.
The scandal is missing four elements that help kill political careers.
First, there's no audio or video of Barbour's remark. Print quotes don't carry the same punch that words do when you hear or see someone saying them. For example, Rev. Jeremiah Wright's fiery comments first surfaced in the national press in a February 2007 Rolling Stone profile of Barack Obama, but it wasn't until March 2008 that America came to know Wright and Obama was forced to make a major speech on race. What changed? Video of Wright emerged saying much the same that he did in Rolling Stone story.
Second, the scandal isn't timely. Simply put: Barbour made his gaffe before possibly announcing he'll run for president, well before the GOP primary season, and literally years before the general election. Time will help voters forget about this ugly event and let Barbour reintroduce himself.