April 9th, 2009
03:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Sanford hits airwaves to make stimulus case

Sanford is going up with a television ad to make his case for rejecting stimulus money.
Sanford is going up with a television ad to make his case for rejecting stimulus money.

(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."


Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. gl, Pittsburgh

    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.

    President Obama already said no. What part of no don't you understand. This money is to create jobs not pay off your debt you idiot! Now put people to work.

    April 9, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Ken from missouri

    Republicans cannot get it thru their head our debt did not cause this
    financial meltdown the foreclolsures and wall street did will they ever learn this ?
    This gov is making his own state suffer because he doesn't get it ,
    republicans are so afraid to help their people achieve a better life or
    they just don't know how to help them untill they figure it out they will
    keep losing elections just wait and see.

    April 9, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. howie

    I support your effort Mr Sanford. It is unfortunate others don'tunderstand why you are rejecting the money. Stand firm!!!

    April 9, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. danel

    Just return the money so other states can benefit from it. The good gov. of California sure can use it so his people will not live in tents.

    April 9, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Chris, Antioch, CA

    Mark Sanford is probably the dumbest governor in the country. That says a lot being that there's Palin in Alaska. I love these GOP "leaders."

    April 9, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Kim

    I hope the people living on their last pay check can see through this political grand standing crap! He should be outed ASAP!

    April 9, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Roxanne

    I am a South Carolina resident and I am appalled at the way Gov. Sanford is using this "stand against the stimulus funds" as a way to slink his way into the limelight for a potential 2012 bid. He says that he doesn't want our children's futures to be jeopardized by the cost of the stimulus. Here's the thing Governor: SC schools are amongst the lowest in the country in educational standards. School programs are already dwindling. The next step would be to cut school programs like educational enrichment programs, sports and after school care. These programs will not give the students of SC the base they need to go on and be successful in college

    So tell me, how will they get the jobs that will repay the stimulus or support their families for that matter. You see, Governor, your political gain today is jeopardizing the future of SC. Get your heads out of the clouds and do the "right thing".

    April 9, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Beverly Sublett

    I hope the people of South Carolina VOTE YOU OUT OF OFFICE!

    YOU DO NOT NEED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE!

    April 9, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Good job South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Colorado will take the entire $2.8 billion in federal stimulus funds Thank you

    April 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Terry, TX

    This man should be applauded....wouldn't it have been nice if the banks and AIG didn't take their bailouts...the states receiving money is worse they don't have to pay it back...and they don't have to balance their budgets. In my lowly opinion....the states should have never received the money. You go governor!

    April 9, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Frank, Las Vegas

    And still the GOP idiots run ramped. Party First, citizens way way down the line.

    April 9, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Susan in SC

    What Gov. Sanford fails to communicate is that we the citizen's of SC WILL be paying off the national debt with the citizens of every other state. We WILL carry a portion of the burden. Yet he is attempting to deny our state any of the benefits other states will have by using the stimulus money.

    Gov. Sanford is known locally as the anti-public education Gov. He could use a portion of the stimulus money to bail out our failing schools, to save the teacher layoffs each county in SC is currently implimenting, to offset HUGE education fund shortages. But no, he would rather sit on principle and let us share in the pay back burden, but not let us see any tangible benefits.

    That's what you do when you are not eligible to run for your current office again, so you do not have to pay attention to what the people of your state really want.

    Have I mentioned that we rate #2 in unemployment nationally – because Sanford has offered such wonderful leadership to our local industry and businesses? No! Because as a Gov. this guy sucks!

    April 9, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    The 'right' thing of course being keeping his name mentioned in the press to position for a 2012 White House run.

    April 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. PAUL

    South Caroline's lose is other state's gain! THANKS SOUTH CAROLINA!!!!!$!!!!!

    April 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Oregon

    the South Carolina Republican has not ruled out a 2012 White House bid.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    and a good way to do that is to make sure your constitutes remain poor and struggling even though they could get help from the government, because struggling and worrying are good for them and this clown knows so much more

    The GOP elected officials are so out of touch. They're racist and stubborn and really really bad losers.

    April 9, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Lexia

    South Carolina taxpayers themselves will have to fund any improvements the state of South Carolina is in need of. Hopefully, their "unclaimed" stimulus dollars will come to my state to help with much needed improvements. We need to thank the good people of South Caroline for helping us all out! (((APPLAUSE))))).

    April 9, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Nan

    As a South Carolinian I can say without embarrassment that a majority of the citizens in this state think Mark Sanford is an idiot for turning down the money.

    We have the second highest unemployment rate in the country, and thousands of teachers, police, firefighters, and others will lose their jobs thanks to Sanford's pigheadedness.

    It will likely be the first time in history that a Republican governor, in a Republican state, will lose his own state should he actually gain the Republican nomination for president! The way he's going, he won't be able to be elected dog catcher in SC!

    April 9, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Shelley in Springfield

    Hooray, more money for the rest of us! South Carolina – You're on your own!

    April 9, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Gary Smith

    Hello,

    Well here is another Big Dog talkin' smack. Governor Sanford is going to save the day and show his State how smart he is. Is he not smart enough to use even a small portion of the money to help his own State. Just because someone offers you a piece of cake doesn't mean that you have to eat the whole damn thing. Come on bird brain pull your head out.

    I would be willing to bet that some folks in his State are starving half to death but he needs to make his point so he can run for office the next time around. More BS and not enough worrying about his own people. They should kick his ass out immediately, if not sooner. The rich get richer and the poor get put into a bad situation because of jerks like him. Prosecutors want to be Judges, Judges want to be Senators, Senators want to be Governors and Governors want to be the President. Guess what Governor Sanford is shooting for?????

    Thanks for listening....

    April 9, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Laverne

    This guy is getting on my nerves, I don't care how he tries to spin it, he is putting his ownself first! Just because he thinks everybody else does not need the stimulus money because he lives in the Governor mansion, does not give him the right to short change the state of SC.

    April 9, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. walleye

    I wonder how many in his state would turn down money that could improve their roads, schools, etc etc. If he does this, he will not advance his career any further than where it currently is.

    April 9, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. MARK

    Sounds like South Carolina's got a bum governor.

    April 9, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    I agree with Sanford. The stimulus $ being spent in my locality for roads will not just cost tax $, all the roads the work on will become tole roads. This just coasts me more money. PA pays the second highest DOT taxes in the nation And every year we hear that PA has the worst roads in the nation. The most bridges in need of repair and the highest % of tole miles. And now you want me to pay more.

    April 9, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. Mike Dallas

    CQ Press' list of the 10 MOST DANGEROUS states just out:

    No. 2 Louisiana
    No. 3 South Carolina
    No. 7 Alaska

    Seems those states were in the news recently, oh yeah, the REPULICAN governors of these three states turned down some of the stimulus money that could have been used to save jobs of the police or expand the number of police.

    That would be Jindal, Sanford and Palin.

    All are considered to be in the running for the Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012. Just more evidence that neo-cons put the good of the repub party first and foremost and the let's the little guy fend for himself, literally!

    Too bad all 3 of these governors put a higher priority on their Presidential aspirations than literally the physical safety of the citizens of their respective states.

    Sad, when political posturing trumps the safety of America's citizens!

    April 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. pam Eugene OR

    By not accepting this money he is saying to the unemployed in his state that his political ambitions are more important than them being able to feed their family.
    I realize it creates more debt but what are the hard working people in his state to do when there is no money to pay unemployment insurance. He can't run for governor again due to term limits so he only cares about running for President in 2012. What a scumbag!

    April 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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