Tonight on "Special Report with Bret Baier," the second edition of the "Twelve in 2012" series.
Each night Special Report will profile one of a dozen potential Republican presidential contenders. When it's all over, look for a documentary special that lays out the state of the 2012 race inside the GOP.
With each new installment, Power Play will analyze the candidate's strengths, weaknesses and odds of success.
Current Position: Governor of Mississippi (elected in 2003) and chairman of the Republican Governors Association
Previous experience: Partner at lobbying firm BGR (1997-2003, 1991-1993); chairman of the Republican National Committee (1993-1997); George H.W. Bush campaign adviser (1988); director of political office in Reagan White House (1985-1988); lawyer in his family's practice in Yazoo City, Miss. (1972-1985)
Education: University of Mississippi for undergraduate and law school
Family: Wife, Marsha, two grown sons
What you might not know:
In 1982 at age 35, he signed up to be the GOP candidate against entrenched Democratic Sen. John Stennis (D-MS). Barbour took only 34 percent of the vote.
His pitch: Results Oriented
Haley Barbour is evidence that inside every political strategist and consultant is a candidate yearning to be free.
After a career helping other people get elected and then using the resulting clout as a lobbyist, Barbour went back home to Mississippi to run for governor. After advising presidential candidates and presidents and leading the Republican National Committee for two terms, Barbour was a mega-lobbyist.
But rather than just sitting back and watching the millions roll in, Barbour gave it up to lead his home state.
As governor, Barbour has had some success in turning around the state's economy, landing new employers with tax incentives and the like, but he has had two moments to shine in his terms.
First, Hurricane Katrina when his state's response contrasted so sharply with the catastrophic inaction of Louisiana. His state's coast was badly battered and hundreds were killed, but Barbour pushed though reconstruction and relief projects to restore the region.
Second, was the fall of Gov. Mark Sanford in South Carolina. Sanford stepped down as head of the Republican Governors Association after his Argentine affair went public in 2009. The affair not only wiped out one of the brightest stars in the GOP, but also left Barbour, as the most politically experienced member, to take over the group ahead of a crucial election cycle.
Barbour won big, raising and spending more than $100 million in 2010, shattering the previous records. He crisscrossed the country tirelessly raising money and stumping for candidates. Under Barbour's leadership the GOP went from controlling 22 governorship to 32 today.
In a year when there was more energy than expertise, Barbour proved effective at delivering resources and winning elections. With the future of the Republican National Committee very much in doubt, many Republicans like the idea of a presidential candidate who understands how to run a party. Most important to Republican insiders, Barbour knows how to get things done.
He also has geography on his side. Other than the reticent Rick Perry in Texas and the first-term Bob McDonnell, there is no Southern governor in position for a 2012 run. And when it comes to picking nominees, the South is the big dog of the GOP.
No Yankee would relish the thought of facing Good Old Boy Barbour in South Carolina in 2012.
The Knocks: "Fat Redneck"
Barbour hails from southern gentility, but his public persona is that of a self-described "fat redneck." And that persona is a big part of Barbour's immense personal charm, but the routine has its limits, like Iowa and New Hampshire.
But the biggest danger for Barbour is his Washington insider past. Republican strategists cringe at the tough of President Obama banging away at Barbour for his years as a tobacco lobbyist. Since Barbour wasn't planning on a career in elective office he didn't take precautions against unsavory clients the way a aspiring candidate might.In today's Republican Party, insiders are out, and Barbour has the ultimate inside game.
Power Play's Odds on Nomination: 10 to 1
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.