Governor attempts return to normalcy

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COLUMBIA --- It was a routine state Cabinet meeting, one with reports on declining tax revenues, the number of kids on Medicaid and an update on a drunken driving campaign.

Routine, except for the 20-plus television cameras and reporters scrunched into a tiny room in a building next to the state's Capitol. They were there to watch Gov. Mark Sanford conduct his first official meeting since making a very public -- and torturous -- admission that although has been married for 20 years, he'd carried on a passionate love affair with a woman in Argentina.

None of the 12 Cabinet members present during Friday's meeting asked Mr. Sanford about the romance. They didn't have to.

It had been the stuff of tabloid headlines and intrigue since he returned to South Carolina Wednesday after jetting off to Argentina for a secret rendezvous with his mistress.

Mr. Sanford kicked off the meeting by apologizing to each of them as cameras clicked and reporters scribbled notes and recorded it all.

At one point, he likened his confession and future to the biblical plight of King David -- and looks of nervousness and incredulity crept into the officials' faces. But Mr. Sanford was all business.

"What's it all mean and where do we go from here? I have been doing a lot of soul searching on that front," he said. "Every one of you all has specific duties to the people of South Carolina that you have to perform, and that is with or without me doing right on a given day or doing wrong at a given day, those responsibilities still exist."

The Cabinet then updated the governor on affairs of the state that he had abandoned for nearly a week while in Argentina.

South Carolina, the agency heads reported, isn't doing well: Sales tax revenues are down 8 percent and the individual income tax revenue is down 16 percent. The day after he left, the state's jobless rate set a new record as the nation's third highest.

The only good news, which yielded a tension-relieving chuckle, came from Corrections Department head Jon Ozment, who reported cows at the prison are producing lots of manure.

Post-meeting, some cabinet members said Mr. Sanford handled himself well Friday.

"There's nothing to be accomplished by rehashing this over and over. The needs of the people of South Carolina are more important than the personal issues," said Buck Limehouse, the head of the state's transportation department.


COLUMBIA, --- State officials said Friday that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford asked for extra economic development meetings in Argentina during a trip that brought him to Buenos Aires, where his mistress lived.

Commerce Department spokeswoman Kara Borie said Friday that official plans had been made to visit only Brazil on an expenses-paid economic recruitment trip the governor took last year.

But Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor planned to stay longer at his own expense in Cordoba in Argentina for a hunting trip and invited the governor and others to come.

Mr. Sanford did conduct business while he was in Buenos Aires, although Ms. Borie said no economic development projects have come from them.

As of Thursday, Mr. Sanford had paid for none of it, including the hunting trip, but he announced that day he would reimburse the state for the Argentina leg.

-- Associated Press

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patriciathomas 06/27/09 - 06:35 am
Hey, look Thelma! After not

Hey, look Thelma! After not being able to get any coverage for the past 8 years, Sanford has finally figured out how to get attention from the press. What is this? 60 articles this week? My, my, my, what a fine job or reporting.

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 06/27/09 - 08:20 am
The "Luv Guv" MUST NOT

The "Luv Guv" MUST NOT RESIGN! Tearing the facade off the fake "family values" Republican party is the best thing that can happen to our country & this will be guaranteed if the circus goes on. Exposing the hypocrisy that they have gotten away with can only be positive for honest, hard-working folks who have been duped by the Republican party into acting against their own self interests.

sean_75 06/27/09 - 10:27 am
Embezzlement is the act of

Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets, usually financial in nature, by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted. He took tax payers money for this trip, and he won't to pay it back. Why don't we let all the bank robbers out of jail, that is if they can pay the money back.

sean_75 06/27/09 - 10:38 am
If another state employee

If another state employee would have left his of her job for five days. They would not have a job. Same punisment for the same action.

Jonas 06/27/09 - 01:58 pm
He is just so arrogant and

He is just so arrogant and uppity. I really don't like this guy. I think that his wife is going to throw him under the bus. This is probably not the first time. But I agree if another state employee did this they wouldn't have a job to come back to. This clown needs to fall on his sword and admit to defeat just like ol' Robert E. Lee did.LOL

MtnMan 06/27/09 - 07:36 pm
PATRICIA how you gonna cover

PATRICIA how you gonna cover this one up? The Dog should resign right away! You mean to tell that YOU would let this guy get away with STEALING the SC taxpayers money??? He and his girlfriend had had a good time at the expense of the SC Taxpayers!! I hope you never use this "acting like a democrat" thing again....It's 'act like a Repuiblilcan now...Be a man?woman? about it and admit you back the wrong people!!!

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