Mark Sanford on Principles & Values
Republican SC Governor; previously Representative (SC-1)
"She went there, Gov. Sanford," said the debate's moderator.
"I couldn't hear what she said," Sanford responded. "Repeat it, I didn't hear it."
"Answer the question," Colbert Busch said.
"What was the question?" asked Sanford, who then answered the original question on spending.
Later, Sanford was reminded by a questioner that he voted to impeach President Bill Clinton because of his involvement with Monica Lewinsky and asked if he would vote that way again. "I would reverse the question," Sanford said. "Do you think President Clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life for a mistake he made in his life?"
Sanford is trying to rebound from a scandal that sidelined his political career. In 2009, Sanford, after telling his staff he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail, revealed that he was in Argentina with a woman he later became engaged to after divorcing his wife, Jenny. Before leaving office, Sanford avoided impeachment but was censured by the Legislature over state travel expenses he used for the affair. He also paid the largest ethics fine ever in S.C, $70,000.
After initially saying she was sure he was just taking some time away from the kids to write, Jenny Sanford changed her tone and her message. "I am being a mom today," she told CNN. "I have not heard from my husband." Clearly, something was not right.
A local reporter, acting on an anonymous trip, met Sanford as he stepped off a flight from Buenos Aires. Later that day, the governor held an emotional press conference. He confessed to being unfaithful to his wife and traveling to Argentina to meet his mistress.
Any presidential aspirations he had, needless to say, were gone. His career in state politics seemed to be effectively over.
For my part, I tried to shift the focus back to the reform agenda. Almost alone among political figures in the state, I did not push him to resign or be impeached. "The people of South Carolina have heard enough about the governor's personal life," I said at that time.
You could say that Governor Sanford was lucky in his timing. The legislature had just recessed when the scandal broke. When the issue of impeachment was raised, some of the legislators maintained that the rules didn't allow an impeachment vote until the legislature reconvened in January 2010.
In typical Sanford fashion, the governor fired back by having a press conference outside Senator Thomas's law office. He accused his critics of "selective outrage" and showed that previous administrations had passed up economy class at least 230 times since 1984. He accused his opponents of playing politics. "Me hanging up the spurs 16 months out, as comfortable as that would be, it is wrong," he said.
I had studied the charges against the governor carefully. I continued to defend him against calls for his impeachment because I didn't believe his actions warranted impeachment.
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The GOP controls the Senate by just one vote. Even with today’s margin, the GOP doesn’t have effective control of the agenda as the Democrats use the filibuster to kill pro-growth reform or crucial judicial appointments. The next Senate could confirm two U.S. Supreme Court justices.
If the Republicans do manage to pick up a few extra seats in the Senate, there could also be an ideological shift toward pro-growth issues. Right now, the balance of power is in the hands of the RINO Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter. With a seat pick-up for the GOP, plus the addition of GOP superstars, Olympia and Arlen would no longer be deciding votes. We could move away from watered-down Republicanism toward a genuine pro-growth agenda.
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The stakes are mighty high in the Senate elections. That’s why we’re providing you now with our outlook for every competitive Senate race and a list of our top tier choices. The “A” List Candidates make this list because their races are competitive and they are the very best on economic issues. The “B” List Candidates are all in hotly contested races too, but they are not as rock solid on economic growth issues.
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As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body, we propose not just to change its policies, but to restore the bounds of trust between the people and their elected representatives. That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.
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