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Posted by on Jun 24, 2009 in Media, Politics | 6 comments

A Sanford Potpourri UPDATED: Sanford Was In South America


UPDATE II 9 a.m. – The State:

Gov. Mark Sanford arrived in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport this morning, having wrapped up a seven-day visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, he said. Sanford said he had not been hiking along the Appalachian Trail, as his staff said in a Tuesday statement to the media.

He says he considered hiking the Appalachian Trail but chose, instead, to do something “exotic.” While there, he “drove along the coastline.”


UPDATE 8 a.m.: No news of Sanford on the network morning shows. I guess that’s because he was “found” yesterday. Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that Gov. Sanford’s car has been found in the parking lot of Columbia SC Metropolitan Airport. Wikipedia had him on a plane to Minnesota (gone now). And last night Stephen Colbert declared himself governor of South Carolina. In his first official act as governor he called off the search for Governor Mark Sanford…

appalachian_trail_map_1.jpgI had read enough of the blogs by the time the early morning news shows were reporting that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford had been “found” to be bothered by their inaccuracy.

Obviously the story will be all over the news tomorrow (when he’s said to be returning — “the governor was somewhat taken aback by all of the interest”). Will any of those news shows admit to or apologize for their bad reporting this morning? Don’t hold your breath.

Credit Sanford’s press team.

Now, I am aware that no self-respecting blog reader has missed the buzz around WYFF-TV’s Sources Question Governor’s Story. So you all know the highlights:

  • He hasn’t spoken to his wife
  • She is busy taking care of their “my” children
  • Anonymous sources say a “missing” state vehicle has been “tracked down” to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport
  • Same (?) anonymous source said he boarded a plane there
  • Staffers stand by their original statement that the governor is hiking the Appalachian Trail

Still the blogosphere is so filled with tasty tidbits I can’t resist sharing a few of my favorites…

James Wolcott, North by Northweird:

Perhaps, like Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, AWOL South Carolina Mark Sanford is the victim of a mistaken-identity abduction conducted by enemy agents. But if the Gov boarded a plane of his own volition, his partaking of in-flight peanuts and movie headsets will call into question the sincerity of his Vision Quest.

He was not home on Father’s Day. That was also Naked Hiking Day:

Check out this set of facts. Fact 1: Gov. Mark Sanford went missing Thursday and hasn’t been seen since. Fact 2: His staff has since told us that the governor has been hiking the Appalachian Trail. Fact 3: Sunday was “Naked Hiking Day” on the Appalachian Trail. We kid you not.

And that hiking trail got stimulus money Sanford opposed.

A TPM reader:

I’ve been thinking about it, and I believe Sanford may be the first politician to use the “I’m leaving to spend some time AWAY FROM my family” excuse. Most of them go with the far less credible with-the-family thing. So give the man his due, please, for he is a pioneer.


Whatever Sanford has actually been doing, he’s just made “hiking the Appalachian Trail” a euphemism for mysterious disappearances as a result of illicit activities.
Come home after a weekend blackout bender? Hey, honey, I was just hiking the Appalachian Trail. Boss wants to know why you were out of the office for two hours while screwing a co-worker at a nearby hotel? Just a quick hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Marc Ambinder, He’s just a weird guy:

Sanford was not popular among Republicans lawmakers in South Carolina when the year began. His bruising battle with the state legislators and courts over the federal stimulus package was just one of many significant political defeats. (The legislature overturned 10 vetoes on its final day in session.)  It’s understandable that he wants to get away from it all.  But the people of South Carolina didn’t elect him to take breaks or feel sorry for himself. They’re not dictators of his time, either. But by disappearing without a trace, without a security detail, without a transfer of power plan (even to his hated LG), without any word of his whereabouts, he evinces a disrespect for South Carolinians, for everyone who works for him directly, and for every other government actor he interacts with.

It’s great for journalists, though!

And for bloggers — and commenters — too! Take it away folks…

Image via Matthew Yglesias.

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