September 3rd, 2009
06:44 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford accused of smear campaign against Bauer

Knotts accused Sanford of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay.
Knotts accused Sanford of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay.

(CNN) – An outspoken critic of Mark Sanford is accusing the embattled South Carolina governor of orchestrating a smear campaign against Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.

Republican State Sen. Jake Knotts wrote to fellow members of the state legislature on Wednesday accusing Sanford and his allies of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay - a claim that was reported earlier this week by a blogger who seeks to out closeted conservative politicians.

"As a former target of a false rumor started by the Sanford Camp I can tell you with absolute certainty this attack was orchestrated on behalf of Mark Sanford, either directly or indirectly, and financially subsidized by him or one of his many 'front-groups,'" Knotts wrote. The letter was first reported by "The Palmetto Scoop," a South Carolina political Web site.

Knotts, an ally of Bauer and a fierce opponent of Sanford, said there is no truth to the gay rumors that have dogged Bauer for years.

"I have known Andre since he was eight years old," Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor."

Bauer publicly called on Sanford to resign last week, a request that was promptly rejected by the governor. Bauer is also planning to enter the crowded race to succeed Sanford next year. If Sanford resigns or is forced from office before his term expires, Bauer would assume the governorship, a move that would allow him to run as an incumbent in 2010. Bauer said if Sanford resigns within the next month, he would bow out of the governor's race.

Bauer himself addressed the gay rumors earlier this summer, telling The State newspaper: "One word, two letters. 'No.' Let's go ahead and dispel that now."

"It's an absolute effort by Sanford's people to discredit Andre," Knotts said of the rumors. "Sanford hates Andre so bad it's pitiful."

Knotts said allies of the governor shopped the rumor because "they dont like that Andre is young, Andre is smart, and they see Andre as a threat to them."

"Every time I have seen Andre and as long as I've known him, he's always had a pretty girlfriend," Knotts told CNN. "They love him, he treats them well, he treats them nice, he treats them with respect. He doesn't hang out in bars and go from woman to woman. Everybody that knows Andre knows for sure he ain't been seen hanging on to no damn man."

Sanford's office pushed back hard against Knotts' allegations.

"This letter is simply wrong - and in that regard, as bizarre as many of the other claims and attacks of recent weeks," said Sanford spokesman Ben Fox. "Some have even argued this indeed points to an obsession with slandering anyone who tries to change the 'good ol' boy' system of politics in Columbia.

"South Carolina is facing serious challenges, and the Governor is dedicated to addressing these challenges alongside other members of the legislature committed to the same," he said. "We have a state capital with too much spending, too little transparency, and as shown by this letter, at times too many political attacks."

Knotts is the state senator who first raised questions about Sanford's mysterious absence from Columbia in June, before it was revealed that the governor had left the country to visit his mistress. In the letter to fellow legislators, he repeated his demand that Sanford step down or be impeached.

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Filed under: Andre Bauer • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    So he's a "Good ol boy" as opposed to what? Being gay?
    They're all sick in the head!

    September 3, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Born redneck and proud of it

    Thanks CNN! Another facet of liberals coming out of the closet to join the debate with further entertainment value. Probably no interests in NC whatsoever but here's an opportunity to shout homophobe much like other close minded people shouting "racist!" for saying something tastes like chicken or other such silliness. I think it's sad that the insecurity is sooo deeep. You can never be free or accepted if you remain a prisoner of your own mind. Who cares what people say. Love, laugh and live. Hatred will kill you. Until you do I'll keep reading and laughing so keep it up, this is good.

    September 3, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. Dancer

    So Bauer being a heterosexual makes him a "good boy"? I don't know what's worse, the homosexual accusation or the retort that being a heterosexual means you are a good boy.

    September 3, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You have to listen to this.... Knott said:"I have known Andre since he was eight years old," Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy..."
    -------------------------------

    Republicans! Herein lies your biggest problem: INTOLERANCE! This is why you don't have a tent but instead a little teepee. " That boy is a good boy" implying that if he were gay he wouldn't be a "good boy". In this day and age that is the height of ignorance, and bigotry.

    The fact that Sanford, a RethugliKlan, is utilizing a smear-campaign is NOT surprising to us educated folks who have seen the RethugliKlans stoop to the lowest common denominator in order to achieve or maintain their power. Once again, the cannibals (read Republicans) are turning on themselves as they find their big piece of the power-pie reduced to crumbs.

    Meanwhile, while y'all fight amongst yourselves, we the real Americans, will continue with the business of helping our country get back on it's feet. Hopefully without your useless interference. Carry on.

    September 3, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. malcat

    Here's a new thread of thought. Instead of complaining about Knott's statements that Bauer is not gay. Why is everyone so gullible as to take anything he says as fact? He claims ...I can tell you with absolute certainty this attack was orchestrated on behalf of Mark Sanford, either directly or indirectly, and financially subsidized by him or one of his many 'front-groups,'" ... I would like to know if he has proof to back that statement up. Or does he just hate Sanford so much he will say anything bad whether it is true or not?

    September 3, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Lila

    "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor."

    Okay, Mr. Backwoods. Apparently you can't be good and gay at the same time in PA? Hillbillies.

    September 3, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. "Victim" - Often Used, Rarely True

    While the fifth-graders are over there fighting about who's gay, other news is indeed happening:

    Maybe Obama will finally realize that one American DOES NOT WANT his health care agenda, therefore obviously ALL Americans don't want it either...

    With that kind of logic it's no wonder the GOP seems like a shipwreck forced back out to sea before it was fixed.

    September 3, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. sharon

    so.........sanford, who can do anything he feels like it......even if it is VERY wrong.......................

    Not letting anyone know his where abouts...........all of the State....................................................................................

    he is going to smear who????????????????????????????????

    has he heard.......let the person who has done NO wrong cast the first stone???????????????????????

    he need not pick up any stones.

    where would he get this type of info?????????????he does not talk to anyone in the US......................

    is he still a gov???????????????????????????????????

    sanford who?????????????????

    September 3, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Buck Feck

    Sanford seriously needs to seek medical attention for his cranial rectal inversion.

    September 3, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. yuri

    We want that scumbag out of the political arena, forthwith. If he violated any state/federal law in the fund usage, he ought to face double the penalty accorded to others. In lieu of rulin' the state, he seems to be ruinin' it.

    September 3, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. David S. Robins

    More very typical Republican behavior from one of the most corrupt and dishonest governors in American history. One wonders why the people of his state continue to put up with Sanford's actions rather than recalling or impeaching him.

    September 3, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Jon

    The sexual orientation of South Carolina's governor should not be a concern to of the voters, at least as long as he does not skip town unannounced to visit Mario in Argentina.

    September 3, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Lorna

    This article is hip deep in prejudice and bigotry. Can the right wing of the Republican party as a whole even separate the wheat from the chaff anymore? Can they make an intelligent case about anything? They lie about everything including each other if it suits their aims. It is nauseating and pathetic all at the same time. What a bunch of losers. It is mind boggling that anyone can believe word one from them. I once belonged to the party of Abe Lincoln.....how inconsolable he would be to see it now.

    September 3, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Debbie

    Why is it that the Carolina's are always steeped in drama?

    September 3, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Mike in Atlanta

    No, the stupidest people live in California. It's obvious because they elected that doe in the headlights Pelosi. FL has more residents born in NY and NJ than NY or NJ. Texas has the best doctors in the country because Texas treats them like doctors. What does CA have...oh yeah, nothing...they're bankrupt.

    September 3, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Lila (really can't type today)

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor."

    Okay, Mr. Backwoods. Apparently you can't be good and gay at the same time in SC? Hillbillies.

    September 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Karen

    Who cares if he's gay or not? What has that got to do with anything?

    "The State has no place in the bedrooms of the nation" – Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

    September 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. Mo

    Can someone please just make this Sanford person go away?

    September 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Susan

    So if he were gay, he wouldn't be a 'good boy?'

    September 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. babs in cali

    "that boy is a good boy"? seriousley? Bigots, the whole bunch of them with Sanford leading the gay bashing parade.

    September 3, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Bea Schuller

    As I am understanding today's society, there is no smear attached to calling someone gay. So, just what's the problem here? Is the senator saying that Bauer is not gay because "he is a good boy"? Isn't he smearing gays by inferring gays are not good boys?

    September 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Pete

    So what if Bauer is gay? What's wrong with that? Mr. Knotts, I'm offended by your outrage. Aren't we all a little gay?

    September 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. brian g

    i love how bauer refutes this by denying the charges instead of saying though i'm not, more importantly, who the heck cares if i am –and calling out sanford for being as homophobic as he is sanctimonious given his own recent antics.

    one's innate immutable unchosen sexual orientation cannot be changed. how many more years need pass and research studies need come out?

    personally, i think a person who is gay or lesbian has the courage to be honest about it despite politicians like sanford and bauer making their lives difficult is evidence of moral fiber and character which is an ASSET to any public office office holder.

    September 3, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. malcat

    Again, folks, Sanford did not say Bauer is gay. Someone wrote it on a blog. Knotts 'claims' it came from Sanford. Where is the proof? I don't like Sanford; he is an embarrassment to his party and state. But I also dislike spreading rumors that cannot be proven.

    September 3, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Squirt

    I hang my head in abject shame, in utter disgust, in disgraceful embarrassment that this fiasco continues to plague my home State and my Nation! More to the point, I cannot for the life of me see how the Governor and the rest of our elected officials cannot see the shameful light this casts upon all of us in the State of South Carolina. Just HOW LOW can Sanford and the machine around him go? There should be a din in Columbia after this... a call for people with signs, picketing,...you name it—to move this man out of the mansion. This has to be the very sleaziest, most despicable ploy in S.C. political history.
    Any chance at salvation...any chance at resolution....any chance at saving his political future is now gone and gone forever for Mark Sanford! And trying to take all of those around him down with him just makes him worse, and actually, raises them a notch or two!
    What next, a duel at 20 paces with paintball guns—winner take all???

    September 3, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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