The planned “disappearance” of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford gets more bizarre by the minute.
Sanford, a Republican governor, deemed to be a rising star in the party, took time off after a legislative session concerning the taking of federal stimulus money.
From The State newspaper:
Sanford’s whereabouts had been unknown since Thursday, and the mystery surrounding his absence fueled speculation about where he had been and who’s in charge in his absence. His emergence Wednesday ended the mystery.
Sanford, in an exclusive interview with The State, said he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled with lawmakers over how to spend federal stimulus money.
Sanford said he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail, an activity he said he has enjoyed since he was a high school student.
“But I said ‘no’ I wanted to do something exotic,” Sanford said “… It’s (Buenos Aires, Argentina) a great city.”
The governor said he cut his trip short after his chief of staff, Scott English, told him his trip was gaining a lot of media attention and he needed to come back.
When asked 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.
Sanford said the legislative session was a difficult one for him, particularly losing the fight over whether he should accept stimulus $700 million in stimulus money he wanted lawmakers to spend on debt instead of urgent budget needs.
“It was a long session and I needed a break,” Sanford said.
Allegedly, in addition to his staff not knowing his location, his wife was not aware of his trip, as well.
Stanford, a prospective GOP candidate for a 2012 Presidential run, may have just ruined any credibility he possessed.
If he can’t handle a debate in his own state legislature, it bodes ill for his ability to be able to handle a crisis on a national level.
This action was not just irresponsible regarding his leadership ability in his role as Governor, but it creates a credibility gap from which no amount of explaining or spin can help to erase the self-inflicted harm done to his reputation.
This was not only a bizarre display of irresponsibility, it was just plain stupid.
Surprise! He had an affair.
He is resigning as Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association.