April 9th, 2009
03:55 PM ET
5 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. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    His state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

    Is this why they voted for him? To fight the new president for his own gain? The state schools are atrocious and this guy wants to pander to whomever will listen.

    Impeach him South Carolina!

    April 9, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Michael

    So in order to avoid further debt, he spends money on a television commercial that he hopes will help him save face? Smart move...

    April 9, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Governor Sanford is the one who will have to live with this decision. If he can justify denying the people in his state the help that accepting money would bring, and if he is willing to kiss his political career good-bye and is able to sleep soundly at night.......then by all means Governor Sanford........stand up straight like the little Republican soldier that you seem to be and say NO!

    April 9, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Chris in SC

    Gov. Sanford has been trying to do in public education for years – this is just his latest tactic since more than 80% of the $700 million is allocated to education. He doesn't seem to realize that if SC children continue to get sub-standard educations, the state's workforce will not be competitive – that means more unemployment, a less attractive business environment, lower tax revenues – the list goes on and on. SC residents will have to pay back the state's share of the national debt whether or not we take the full stimulus package now so it seems very short-sighted of Sanford to stubbornly refuse to accept the money.

    April 9, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Vickie

    Sanford you just don't get it! We have no choice but to invest in the next generation. It is certain that the Republicans were not thinking about the next generation when the helped put our nation into the position we are in NOW! Obama and his administration have to invest in Healthcare – which includes putting health records into a electonic file system (Very important to Saving Money). We have no choice but to invest in New Energy Plans – We are living in the 21st Century but our Government is still Governing in the 19th Century! Your parties old school ways of taking care of business are over!

    April 9, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. jfs Memhis, Tn

    This Guy needs to let it go and get with the Program. Pretty hard to have to justify your silly position. His judgement and executive skills will be ratified on election day. I think it will be a hard sell, the people of SC are paying for the stimulus with their taxes regardless if they accept the money or not, What would be the point of paying for a product and then not using it ??? Am I missing something here ???

    April 9, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    What I don't understand is why you can't just take the funds, rebuild the economy of your state and add provisions that once the aid is complete that's it, no need to increase taxes.

    This is hard to swallow from a head of state which is a ward of the union. Let's be real, for every $1.00 that S.C. puts into our nation, it requests $1.50 back.

    What I'd like to see is an end to career politicians. Term limits on all positions of service within our government. Not just the president, but all politicians. They were fine with putting term limits on the president, but not the congress?

    I say any head of state who cannot show success within his state has proven that he cannot be an effective president. I say an legislator (senate or congressperson) who cannot work as a moderate representing all factions of his/her constituency and not of his/her party, religious belief, or race then he/she cannot be an effective president.

    April 9, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Amy

    I'm waiting to see if Republicans are going to make a big deal about this commercial like they do when Democrats use similar commercials for similar reasons.

    April 9, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Robin in SC

    Gov. Sanford apparently has no concern for the state of SC TODAY. He is a 2nd term governor with eyes toward the top of the RNC ladder and even the White House, so he thinks his grandstanding will put him in a better light with GOP diehards to further his political career. Those very children he keeps saying he's protecting are the ones suffering in our state now. I BEG republicans...DO NOT let this man anywhere near Washington in ANY capacity!

    Robin – Fed Up in SC

    April 9, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Lesley Anne

    He spent a quarter of a million dollars on a single ad? He's pretty good at wasteful spending. Instead of preening in public, it would serve his constituents better to stay in the governor's mansion and work out his state's financial problems instead of spending millions to defend his unpopular agenda.

    April 9, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Alex Kusek

    If this supposed 'leader' was genuinely worried about the debt in his state it might do him some good to have himself and his cabinet take a pay cut instead of making his state pay for his political greed. I don't recall him having a problem accepting the money from the last stimulus package either.

    April 9, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Luke Brown

    Sanford has been a disaster for South Carolina. He hates "gubmint" schools as he calls them, and has been largely successful in keeping his state's education system the worst in the country.

    Some leader. South Carolina's unemployment rate is the second highest in the country. It leads the other states in high school dropouts, per capita violent crime, illiteracy, litter, air and water pollution, road safety, and preventable chronic disease. And this guy thinks his record will get him elected President.

    How exactly does $700 million in free Federal money increase the state's indebtedness anyway?

    April 9, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Ryan

    Um, asking to use money to pay down debt... is essentially a bailout. Idiot.

    And who's to blame for accruing that debt... GOVERNOR..??

    April 9, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Marty, FL

    Gov. Sanford is grandstanding while there are good people in SC struggling in this economy. He ought to be ashamed of himself, refusing recovery assistance for these Americans. Not to mention, it's taxation without representation.

    April 9, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. Marc

    Sanford is right. There's no free lunch. Everything has its cost and Sanford is smart enough to have looked into what this "free money" would actually cost S.C.

    April 9, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    So South Carolina Governor is out stumping his refusal to accept federal funds provided in the stimulus package. He claims that provisions within that expire once the money is consumed would provoke the state to suffer inflation and increase taxation to offset those investments and expenses.

    What I don't understand is why you can't just take the funds, rebuild the economy of your state and add provisions that once the aid is complete that's it; no need to increase taxes.

    This is hard to swallow from a head of state which is a ward of the union. Let's be real, for every 1.00 that S.C. puts into our nation, it requests $1.50 back.

    What I'd like to see is an end to career politicians. Term limits on all positions of service within our government. Not just the president, but all politicians. They were fine with putting term limits on the president, but not the congress?

    I say any head of state that cannot show success within his state has proven that he cannot be an effective president. I say a legislator (senate or congressperson) who cannot work as a moderate representing all factions of his/her constituency and not of his/her party, religious belief, race then he/she cannot be an effective president. And yes it is imperative that we live in a secular state...otherwise we would be no better then the theocracies of the Middle East.

    But what do I know; I'm just a common man, middle-class tax paying American, a Patriot, son of laborers and immigrants. I just believe in our founder’s dream, which is America.

    April 9, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. pamewaller

    What I wish someone would explain to me: if Gov Sanford is such a fiscally responsible Republican governor, how come his state is still so much in debt that he has to look to the stimulus money to help pay it down. Seems he should be running a surplus and showing the others how it's done

    April 9, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Ken in NC

    Fred Sanford the Junk Man had a better business sense about him than Mark Sanford, the Gov. of South Carolina.

    April 9, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Diana NJ

    This is rediculous.... may I ask who ran up the STATE DEBT that he wants the stimulous money to pay off.... is it for his record.. Don't these Republican officials think of the their citizens..??

    April 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Tulsa

    Deborah, keep quiet dear, your mouth and brain obviously are not connected.
    oh, by the way, the majority ALREADY spoke. We elected our President.
    Deal with it.

    April 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. zivo24

    So many had the same thought I did...

    His state is deeply in debt and he spending who knows how much to run a commercial. I would think..and hope..that it's coming out of his own campaign war chest and isn't being paid for by the state, but it still shows how out of touch he is.

    I hope the people of South Carolina remember this when it's time to vote for their next governor, especially those who might have benefitted from the funds.

    April 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Steph

    Is he accepting any money to help fix the crumbling schools in SC?

    April 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    It took a volcano erupting in Alaska to get Palin to accept the money. Maybe if S.C, gets hit with a natural disaster this idot of governor will take the money. And I won't even get on Jindal's case. Hurricane season is around the corner and this fool is not taking the money. I can't wait to see how that plays out.

    April 9, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. dg

    the smartest ones are the ones that dont take the stimulis...politicians are using the stimulis as a trap

    April 9, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Sue

    My county turned down money for a couple of deputies too, because in three years they would have to fund them themselves (or repay money if they let them go.) So there is a cost to these funds, but the idea is to help people now, and the economy will be in better shape in three years, and we can afford to continue the programs ourselves. So he isn't stupid, he's just counting on the economy remaining bad so Republicans look better. Or some twisted logic like that.

    As far as the Tea parties next week, we got an unexpected refund due to the changes Obama has instituted already. We were expecting to pay $2500 and are getting some back instead. Go Barack!

    April 9, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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