Gov. Sanford was in Argentina, not hiking, report says

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 10:00 AM
Last updated 12:53 PM
  • Follow Latest News

COLUMBIA — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was in Argentina during a dayslong unexplained absence, not hiking the Appalachian Trail as his staff told the public when state leaders raised questions about his whereabouts, the governor told a newspaper.

The State reported that Sanford arrived Wednesday morning at Atlanta's international airport on a flight from Buenos Aires.

Sanford's spokesman Joel Sawyer declined to comment Wednesday morning to The Associated Press. The governor did not return cell phone messages seeking comment.

Sanford planned a news conference at 2 p.m. today at his office in Columbia.

Critics slammed his administration for lying to the public.

"Lies. Lies. Lies. That's all we get from his staff. That's all we get from his people. That's all we get from him," said state Sen. Jake Knotts, R-West Columbia. "Why all the big cover-up?"

The Republican governor told the South Carolina newspaper that he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country. The governor says he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail but wanted to do something "exotic."

Sanford was last seen at work Thursday. On Monday, a state legislator raised questions about where he was after hearing reports from security officials that the governor could not be contacted and his whereabouts were unknown. The governor's wife, Jenny Sanford, told The Associated Press she had not seen him since Thursday but was not concerned because he'd told her he wanted to get away and do some writing.

Late Monday, Sanford's staff said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. They said Tuesday that he had called in and planned to cut his trip short and return to work Wednesday because of all the attention his absence was getting.

The governor's spokesman, Joel Sawyer, said Sanford wanted to get away to clear his head after the legislative session, during which he lost a key battle. Jenny Sanford said Tuesday, "Leave us to our privacy."

Sanford told The State he was alone on the trip to Argentina. He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline.

Trying to make such a drive could frustrate a weekend visitor to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the Avenida Costanera is the only coastal road, and it's less than two miles long. Reaching coastal resorts to the south requires a drive of nearly four hours on an inland highway with views of endless cattle ranches. To the north is a river delta of islands reached only by boat.

A spokesman for Argentina's immigration agency wouldn't comment Wednesday on whether Sanford entered the country, citing privacy laws.

When The State asked Sanford at the airport why his staff said he was on the Appalachian Trail, Sanford replied, "I don't know."

Sanford later said "in fairness to his staff," he had told them he might go hiking on the Appalachian Trial.

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said he was concerned that the governor's staff lied about Sanford's whereabouts, adding that if they didn't know where he was they should have said so.

"For his staff to lie to the people of South Carolina and say he was one place when in fact he wasn't, that concerns me," Bauer said.

Sanford has been a fan of Argentina for years. While in Congress and since he's said that nation's Social Security system has a model the U.S. should follow.

Sanford, a trim, 49-year-old former real estate investor and Air Force reservist, is typically drained at the end of a legislative session, former aides said. State Sen. Tom Davis, a Beaufort Republican and Sanford's former chief of staff, said he visited with Sanford last Wednesday and could tell the governor was ready for a break.

"It's not unusual to take off and kind of be by himself," Davis said. "It's part of what makes him him."

The governor has long been known as a loner — bucking GOP leadership during three U.S. House terms and casting the only dissenting vote on Medicaid coverage for some breast and cervical cancer treatment. He clashes often with the Republicans who control both chambers of his state Legislature, once famously carrying two piglets to the door of the House in opposition to what he said was pork-barrel spending.

But past vacations never left Sanford completely out of touch, said Chris Drummond, Sanford's former spokesman. At worst, Sanford would call in daily or would respond to voice mails.

Who was in charge became the political and practical question.

Essentially, Sanford's staffers said they'd decide who to call if an emergency popped up and the governor couldn't be reached. The state's constitution says a temporary absence would give the lieutenant governor full authority in the state. But the temporary absence has never been defined.

Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, a Charleston Republican, said the state's law needs to be clarified. He said state residents want important decisions to be made by elected leaders.

"In an emergency," he said, "it should be those people who consult with staff to make a decision and not the other way around."

Comments (38) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
jlr
0
Points
jlr 06/24/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
The going wasnt so

The going wasnt so bad.....but he out to have left a note for the Lt Gov. Four days without a cell phone is good therapy for most people.At this point the issue is certainly becoming overblown.

0430
0
Points
0430 06/24/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
Mr. Glenn McConnell: I think

Mr. Glenn McConnell: I think that Governor Sanford needs to take a drug test.

TrulyWorried
16709
Points
TrulyWorried 06/24/09 - 09:11 am
0
0
I don't blame the Governor -

I don't blame the Governor - the way they try to cram things down his throat? He is the Governor of South Carolina. Does that not mean to govern and TAKE CARE - but they would not let him. I'd take time off too. More power to him.

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 06/24/09 - 09:19 am
0
0
This man is making SC

This man is making SC constantly look bad, I wreckon LOL.

willistontownsc
55
Points
willistontownsc 06/24/09 - 09:19 am
0
0
Time to impeach this idiot.

Time to impeach this idiot.

TORTURE
0
Points
TORTURE 06/24/09 - 09:22 am
0
0
The father of lies you just

The father of lies you just can't trust the Party of No. Nevertheless, who cares about Governor Mark Sanford destination nobody but Augusta Chronicle,no other news article to publish.

CarlA
114
Points
CarlA 06/24/09 - 09:26 am
0
0
I don't blame the governor

I don't blame the governor for wanting to get away, it was just handled poorly. It really makes him look bad that his staffers lied and said he was hiking.

CallMeOpinionated
0
Points
CallMeOpinionated 06/24/09 - 09:27 am
0
0
What an idiot for a governor

What an idiot for a governor the population of SC have. What a joke he is!

aaa
2
Points
aaa 06/24/09 - 09:28 am
0
0
Who cares? Lots of people!

Who cares? Lots of people! There were lots of Republicans looking at him as a potential player at the national level. A Governor leaves, doesn't tell even his wife that he flew to Argentina, has his staff lie that he was off hiking the Appalachian Trail!?!?! He is no longer worthy of our trust. Unlike the Democrat Party, the Republican Party will not cover for him, they won't lie for him, and they won't come up with some lame "moral equivalency" excuse for him. He can kiss his role on the national scene good-bye!

CarlA
114
Points
CarlA 06/24/09 - 09:31 am
0
0
It wouldnt surprise me to see

It wouldnt surprise me to see some people lose their job in the governors office over this mess.

TrulyWorried
16709
Points
TrulyWorried 06/24/09 - 09:31 am
0
0
Win some - lose some -

Win some - lose some -

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 06/24/09 - 09:55 am
0
0
He's having a 2:00 pm press

He's having a 2:00 pm press conference LOL.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 06/24/09 - 09:57 am
0
0
Well, there goes that 2012

Well, there goes that 2012 Presidential bid. Bring on the next nut-case... the GOP has got plenty of them.

justsaying
0
Points
justsaying 06/24/09 - 10:01 am
0
0
meet the mistress somewhere

meet the mistress somewhere closer...idiot

j2says
3
Points
j2says 06/24/09 - 10:13 am
0
0
The Republican Party won't

The Republican Party won't lie for him. LOL!

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 06/24/09 - 10:14 am
0
0
PTexhusband? Since PT is a

PTexhusband? Since PT is a man, we know what that makes YOU! LMAO!!!!!

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 06/24/09 - 10:27 am
0
0
His wife knew that he needed

His wife knew that he needed time away and had no problems with it. He wanted privacy and so left a red herring for the press. He kept in touch with his staff while gone and he is now back with no harm done. Speculating with nothing to go on just so a stink can be made is a huge waste of time and energy. Move along folks, there's nothing to see here.............

pizzato
3
Points
pizzato 06/24/09 - 10:42 am
0
0
Why did he have to come back?

Why did he have to come back? I wish he would just go away once and for all. The guy took off and they said he was hiking until they realized it was go hiking naked day so they changed it to he was in Argentina. What was it in Argentina skip out on your family day and eat some horse meat day? The only meat he has eaten lately was the big Obama sausage they shoved down his throat.

spdermn78
4
Points
spdermn78 06/24/09 - 10:42 am
0
0
He probably was on a weekend

He probably was on a weekend fling with one of his younger interns. I promise you their is WAY MORE to this story. I am sure some [filtered word] off employ leaked his whearabouts to the media who is now offering top dollar for the truth. Just hope he didnt use hard earned taxpayer money for this trip... Idiot

convertedsoutherner
2
Points
convertedsoutherner 06/24/09 - 11:07 am
0
0
The typical blind and

The typical blind and gullible libs go on and on with their rhetoric with absolutely NO substance. They love to attack conservatives and show who the haters and mean-spirited individuals truly are. Too bad you didn't spend this much time getting the FACTS about the incompetent/teleprompter prezbho. Or I guess your idea of FACTS is what you're spouting now.

sueboo418
37
Points
sueboo418 06/24/09 - 11:09 am
0
0
Rolling eyes.... LOL I've

Rolling eyes.... LOL I've been waiting for him to come out of the closet.

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 06/24/09 - 11:14 am
0
0
Sueboo, his gender has been

Sueboo, his gender has been well known for many months as well as the reason for the choice of his screen name. It has nothing to do with sexuality.

hockeymann
226
Points
hockeymann 06/24/09 - 11:21 am
0
0
I think he probably wasn't

I think he probably wasn't alone on the mystery trip. This will
take him out of any run for national office(s). Hard to believe
his wife wasn't even concerned that he was missing even through
and past Father's Day. There has to be more to this story. Fox
News will get to the truth on it soon...

shamrock
585
Points
shamrock 06/24/09 - 11:38 am
0
0
If you want to get recognized

If you want to get recognized world wide and have lots of free publicity ... just be a State governor and try take a private vacation. Simple!!

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 06/24/09 - 11:39 am
0
0
Leave the man alone! First,a

Leave the man alone! First,a high school student called the shots and won a court decision on whether or not SC should take the stimulus package - a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT who should have had NO standing in the matter prevailed. If we all don't wake up to these forced government handouts we are soon not going to have the right to sit on the toilet without government approval. I applaud the governor for trying NOT to tie his state to the federal government any more than it already is. We're already seeing negative results from the so called stimulus package and it's going to get worse this week with the matters now before congress, matters which the liberal media have not bothered to bring to the attention of the general public. The legislative session in SC was over, Gov Sanford wanted some time off and who knows whether or not his wife knew where he was? My bet is that she talked to him by phone probably every day but it really wasn't the business of the press to know his every move. If he told the staff that he might go hiking, that's not a lie for either him or them, "might" being the operative word. We have a president who is selling us down the tubes so be happy.

weatheringheights
0
Points
weatheringheights 06/24/09 - 11:44 am
0
0
So, wait, PatriciaThomas is a

So, wait, PatriciaThomas is a man? And what is the reason for the screen name? I'm lost, not as lost as Mark Sanford, but lost nontheless.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 06/24/09 - 12:09 pm
0
0
After the recent news: "U.S.

After the recent news: "U.S. Government Funds $400,000 Study on Gay Sex in Argentina Bars
The National Institutes of Health are paying researchers to cruise bars in Buenos Aires to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk -- and what can be done about it." I would have steered clear of Argentina, if I were him.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 06/24/09 - 12:21 pm
0
0
he was most probably looking

he was most probably looking at property. there are lots of people preparing for escape from the collapsing welfare state.
think cuba just before castro consolidated power. these are the early days of the marxist takeover. he was exactly correct in what he said about the stimulus welfare. the states as states are doomed.

shivas
2
Points
shivas 06/24/09 - 12:25 pm
0
0
Where there is smoke.........

Where there is smoke......... Sounds like he had a craving he couldn't deny. But, who am I to judge? I have heard that some prominent people who are extremely conservative, but who have homosexual fantasies, sometimes disappear like this to scratch their itch.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 06/24/09 - 12:47 pm
0
0
sounds like you know alot

sounds like you know alot about that except you are a liberal and most likely a flamer..........

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs