(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is firing back against critics who say he should accept the entire $2.8 billion in federal stimulus funds allotted to his state, launching a one-minute TV spot in which he argues a substantial portion of the money will only saddle the state with further debt.
"The truth is more tax dollars will be spent in our state this year then ever before. But there must be a stopping point," the South Carolina Republican, who has not ruled out a 2012 White House bid, says in the ad. "Going further into debt will not solve a problem that was created by too much debt."
"There must be a price that we will not impose on future generations," he ads. "For me the easy thing would be to accept money handed out from Washington, but the easy thing isn't always the right thing,"
The ad is financed by Carolinians for Reform, a 501(c) chaired by Jim Kuyk, a South Carolina attorney and Sanford supporter.
After weeks of outspoken criticism of President Obama's stimulus package, Sanford sought permission last month from the White House to use $700 million due South Carolina in order to pay down debt instead of directing it toward education projects as envisioned by the Obama administration.
When the White House balked at Sanford's request, the Republican announced his attention to forgo the $700 million altogether.
The governor is now hoping to reach an agreement with the legislature that would allow state funds to be used to pay down debt, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told CNN Monday. If an agreement is reached, then Sanford will complete the process of applying for the $700 million in funds available from the federal stimulus package.
Sanford's ad comes close to a month after national Democrats launched their own 30-second commercial on South Carolina airwaves declaring the governor is "playing politics instead of doing what's right."
UPDATE: The Democratic National Committee said Thursday afternoon the new spot was a sign Sanford was feeling the heat over his stimulus stand. "It's not surprising that Governor Sanford feels he needs to spend a quarter of a million dollars defending himself in a television ad after rejecting millions in funding for his state," DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said in a statement.
"Then again, if I had rejected $700 million for schools and public safety, I'd feel the need to go on TV and defend myself too, but that doesn't excuse Governor Sanford for putting his political ambitions ahead of the needs of South Carolinians."
UPDATE: The DNC has issued a reaction to Sanford's ad:
"It's not surprising that Governor Sanford feels he needs to spend a quarter of a million dollars defending himself in a television ad after rejecting millions in funding for his state," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan. "Then again, if I had rejected $700 million for schools and public safety, I'd feel the need to go on TV and defend myself too, but that doesn't excuse Governor Sanford for putting his political ambitions ahead of the needs of South Carolinians."
This was a message to the contituents of South Carolina. So, my only question is, where are the voters from South Carolina? What do they think of their governors decision? Does this man represent your interests, your needs, your desire to improve the quality of your life? WHERE ARE THE VOTERS OF SOUTH CAROLINA?!?
What do you want? What do you think is the right thing to do?
I have said repeatedly that the 2010 and 2012 election are coming soon.
Republicans, do you really think that your rhetoric and actions such as this, is helping your cause? Do you think this will attract moderate and independents? You guys are killin the GOP,
Once more Sanford proves that party and ideology is more important than people!
Sanford and the rest of the GOPers, forget that the mess we are in IS Bush's Disaster!
Clinton left Bush with a balanced budget & a budget surplus!
Bush left Obama with a disaster for a budget, and the LARGEST BUDGET DEFICIT IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY!
Clinton left Bush with a robust economy and Bush left the "Crash of 2008" as Fed. Chairman Ben Bernake called it, to Obama!
Now the GOPers are refusing to help their own states! I say, fine, more money for the rest of us!
I'm so suprised how people don't know what the stimulus package has in it. Sanford I guess should take the money ,but people of S.C. be warned after he takes the money for the first two years. The state will have to pay for the programs out of their own pockets for the next two years. So people of S.C. when you pay higher taxes in 2011, and 2012 who are you going to blame for that. I'm not blaming Sanford it will be obama who raised your taxes.
I guess Republicans only like to saddle future generations with debt generated by unnecessary foreign wars and tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent. If it's debt created by reconstruction of schools and roads, they're "morally" opposed.
Mr. Sanford, Sarah "You Betcha" Palin, James Inhofe, and others of their ilk are all liars who are spouting off fodder because they've got nothing else.
Go away and take your ad with you, "Guv."
Now, hold on people – Governor Sanford may be on to something here. The Tax Foundation releases an annual report ranking all 50 states according to the following criterion: The amount of federal tax dollars paid compared to amount of federal welfare dollars taken. And, for the 2005 fiscal year (most recent stats available) South Carolina ranked 16th on the "welfare state" list, receiving $1.35 of federal aid for every dollar of federal taxes paid. So, it appears as if the people of South Carolina have already helped themselves to their fair share of welfare money. So, I will gladly agree with Governor Sanford, that his state does not deserve any more of OUR money.
It is fairly obvious that this is all about GOP politics. Full steam ahead, forget those in need. Join the team of Boehner and Cantor and the politics of "no".
So maybe the electorate in South Carolina will take a page from California and start a recall petition to rid themselves of Sandford. Worked in California and now they have Arnold.
Can't use stimulus money to wake up the economy.
You need tax cuts for the rich. See how well they have worked.....oh, never mind.
It's OK, Michigan can use the $700 Million. The South Carolina governor does not believe the economy need to be stimulated. GREAT! Now let's use the money where it can do some good.
Sanford is smart. He puts politics first and Carolinas last.
I wonder how long before the poor and jobless of South Carolina show up at the governor's mansion with pitchforks and torches?
I wonder if the governor has visited the unemployment offices and talked to the people who are standing in line and explained his refusal of the stimulas money? As he gone to the schools and see how bad they are? Expalin your refusal to the kids who want a good education and at least a school that isn't built over 100 years ago. I cannot understand why the people of SC don't get this jerk out of office. If they believe his lies and rhetoric then they derserve him. If they don't , get him out of office and elect someone who actually cares about the people, not their own self interest. Sanford you need to come out of your ivory tower.
He wants to drive the earners away, and be left with the classic backwoods Southern state composition of picaninny black sharecroppers and toothless white farmers.
STOP WASTING MONEY you don't HAVE Governor Sanford. YOUR state is living in POVERTY and HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT!!! South Carolina is suffering desperately and here you ARE "pimping" your state for your self-vested political ambition!!
All this "HOGWASH" is nothing but BS Governor. You should be tending to YOUR STATE rather than pandering your desire to run for President in 2012!!!
How amusing. He's trying to justify why he thinks his people should continue to suffer rather than have to pay it back slowly. What a nut. Thats not justifiable.
Using Stimulus Dollars to pay state's debt would not solve the problem either.
Can the Republican governors of the states that are turning down stimulus money explain how refusing federal help for the people in their states that need help is going to benefit anyone, including themselves? Do they want to anger the people in their states who need help? Do they want to lose their own states when they run for president in 2012?