Southern Disasters Challenge New Governors

By: PHILLIP RAWLS and EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS - Associated Press Writers
By: PHILLIP RAWLS and EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS - Associated Press Writers

The deadly tornadoes that pounded the South last week have served as a quick initiation for new Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley into the massive task of disaster recovery.

But they are just another chapter for his next-door colleague, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

Barbour has overseen his state's recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill and is now bracing for expected Mississippi River flooding.

A political scientist says their responses represent the different backgrounds of the two Republican, Deep South governors.

While Bentley brings a physician's touch to his dealings with storm victims, Barbour conducts businesslike disaster briefings that are full of specific information about tornado recovery and flood preparation.

The late-April tornadoes killed at least 329 people across the South, injuring thousands and leaving wide swaths of destruction.

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