At left: Mark Sanford in Greer, South Carolina back in July, 2009. (Photo by Owen Riley Jr of the Greenville News.)
I have no time to address this right now, but simply couldn't let it pass without comment. And besides, what can you say? I think I've said most of it by now!
Do you believe?!?
Mark Sanford to mention affair in state-of-state speech
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS • January 20, 2010
Certainly, I'll be following it, probably on the local PBS affiliate.
COLUMBIA -- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will address his affair with an Argentine woman and offer a slimmed-down policy agenda for the Legislature in his final state-of-the-state address.
“What we are asking for is I think a streamlined, specific, limited and achievable list of legislative priorities for the year,” Sanford said in a briefing for reporters ahead of the speech.
The affair launched ethics investigations and a failed impeachment effort. Last week Sanford was formally rebuked by legislators.
“I'll certainly at some point address it — not at length,” Sanford said of the affair. Some have told him to move on, but “I don't know that I'm capable of that” particularly since its his first address since news of the affair broke.
The policy agenda boils down to three themes Sanford has pushed in the past: a state Employment Security Commission overhaul; bureaucratic function reorganization and constitutional changes to reduce the number of statewide elected offices; and new limits on state spending growth.
The items are closer to reality than ever before and working their way through the Legislature.
Sanford told civic groups around the state as he pleaded to stay in office to support his policy agenda. He said it had been held back by people who didn't want to hand him political victories, but that's not a factor now because he's done with politics after he leaves office following his second, term-limited stint in 51 weeks.
Sanford will mention other accomplishments since he took office in January 2003, because “they are real and they are meaningful.” Still, “I would not describe it as a victory lap by any stretch of the imagination,” Sanford said.
Sanford's agenda rises or falls with a Legislature he's sparred with regularly since he took office. He famously carried pooping piglets to the House's doors to protest budget veto overrides and repeatedly challenged legislators in state and federal court, including last year's effort to bar use of federal stimulus cash.
While he has 357 days left in office, he has only until June's session end to mend rifts and get work done. And that time is colored by the affair and subsequent investigations. Just last week, the House voted 102-11 to formally rebuke him for abuse of his office and called into question his leadership. It rejected an impeachment resolution.
The resolution said “Sanford's conduct in its totality has breached the public trust of South Carolinians and has lowered their confidence in his ability to be their chief executive” and “has also brought ridicule, dishonor, disgrace, and shame not only upon Governor Sanford but upon this State and its citizens which rises to a level which requires a formal admonishment and censure.”
While it's nonbinding and has no practical affect on Sanford, he'll leave office as the only governor on record with a formal censure from the House. The Senate has referred the resolution to committee and it is unclear if it will act on the measure.
Meanwhile, the State Ethics Commission will schedule a hearing for Sanford on 37 charges involving violations of state ethics laws tied to his use of state planes, pricey commercial flights and use of campaign funds that could bring $74,000 in fines. And the attorney general is reviewing those to see if they merit criminal prosecution.
First lady Jenny Sanford has filed for divorce and the governor is not contesting it.
He calls it all “the storm” and knows people are interested. “Some would venture this will be my most widely watched state-of-the-state,” Sanford said.