“I’ve never seen him as a serious candidate”

Nevertheless, advisers to other likely presidential candidates who would compete for the same slice of the GOP primary electorate that Barbour may pursue said collectively that they were not surprised by this week’s episode.

“I’ve never seen him as a serious candidate,” one said of Barbour. “He’s too vulnerable to caricature on a national stage.”

An adviser to a different potential presidential hopeful also sounded skeptical about Barbour’s presidential odds.

“He was never going to be able to avoid this stuff,” the adviser said. “It’s a problem for him that his first foray onto the national stage for this race got him a huge whack right off the bat.”