Analysis: Barbour followed by Confederate images

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JACKSON, Miss. – Does Haley Barbour have a Confederate problem?

It's a question hounding Mississippi's Republican governor as he gears up for a possible 2012 presidential run. Barbour refused this week to condemn a proposed state license plate to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general who was also an early Ku Klux Klan leader.

Barbour wouldn't say what he thinks about Forrest, a Tennessee native who's venerated by some as a brilliant military strategist and reviled by others for leading the 1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, Tenn.

"Look," Barbour told The Associated Press,"if you want a lesson on Nathan Bedford Forrest, buy a book."

Was Barbour's decision not to denounce a divisive historical figure a political calculation to appeal to conservative voters in early presidential primary states such as South Carolina? Or was he simply showing his well-known stubborn streak?...

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