January 11th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
8 years ago

SC's Republican governor praises Obama candidacy

Sanford has not endorsed a GOP presidential candidate.

Sanford has not endorsed a GOP presidential candidate.

(CNN) - The Republican governor of South Carolina wrote an op-ed in the state’s largest paper Friday in which he spoke admiringly of Democrat Barack Obama's presidential candidacy, and urged voters to think about the significance of the Illinois senator’s White House run as they make their presidential picks.

Mark Sanford said he wouldn’t be voting for Obama because of their differing policy views. “However,” he added, “as the presidential campaign trail now makes its turn toward this state, and as South Carolinians make their final decisions on whom to vote for, it’s worth pausing to take notice of something important that the Obama candidacy means for our corner of America.

“…In the Obama candidacy, there is a potentially history-making quality that we should reflect on. It is one that is especially relevant on the sensitive topic of race — because South Carolina and the South as a whole bear a heavier historical burden than the rest of our country on that front,” he added.

He said that Obama was not running on the basis of his race, and that no one should make their decision one way or the other because of it. “Nonetheless, what is happening in the initial success of his candidacy should not escape us. Within many of our own lifetimes, a man who looked like Barack Obama had a difficult time even using the public restrooms in our state.

“What is happening may well say a lot about America, and I do think as an early primary state we should earnestly shoulder our responsibility in determining how this part of history is ultimately written.”

Sanford, who endorsed John McCain in 2000, has not publicly backed any GOP presidential candidates this cycle. South Carolina’s Republicans head to the polls January 19.

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Brian

    There are people who have the right mind out there!

    January 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. Gobama

    Is this SC Republican governor up for re-election?
    Or does he have national aspirations? LOL

    January 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. ken

    Good for him! There are people who are seeing what I see......

    January 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. rblyons@earthlink.net

    When you acuse President Clinton of saying Obama was a fairy tale, why not show the tape to prove your not just slinging mud ! Roger from Florida

    January 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. E in Germany

    Very classy gesture. Admits that he won't vote for Obama, but acknowledges his very respectfully. It shows Obama's characteristic of being able to work across the table.

    January 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. nadeem

    How many democrats can get the support of a republican governor.

    Words may not mean anything to Hillary, but they are uniting a people.

    January 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Racist vote on the horizon

    It is obviously understandable that , by writing his newspaper article, the SC governor seized the opportunity open only to him to endear himself to the African-Americans. He is reckless in doing so – at the expense of Barack Obama. If the African-American votes goes 90% for Barack, it would be no major surprise if what Chris Matthews (Hardball) fear of the racist factor finally concretizes. A South Carolina victory for Barack on the wings of those black votes will open the anticipated floodgates of racism – Black vote vs. white, Asian, Hispanic and other anti-Black vote. Nationally, the Black vote will lose out in the end. The beneficiary of such very likely happening (yes, "Something is happening" in SC!) will be not Hillary, but the Republican nominee who will ride the crest of the overwhelming white vote in November 2008. SC Democrats, BEWARE!! Forgive the governor, if he knows not what he is doing.

    January 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. rblyons@earthlink.net

    My comment was why don`t you show the tape of President Clinton saying Obama was a fairy tale instead of just slinging mud to see if it sticks ? Roger from Florida

    January 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Brandon

    Across the board, there really is something to be said about the Obama phenomenon. Whether you like him or not, there are so many stereotypes being broken down and so many new precedents being set by the staggering success of his bid for election. Even if he doesn't make it to the White House, the tremors of symbolism shaking the political foundations of this country will long be remembered after him.

    January 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. pam s.c.


    January 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Bob McD

    I love how he claims to say that this would be history making considering how the country historically treated African Americans but never touches how historic it would be that a woman is elected President condsidering how this country treats women. How many people are beaten every day in 2007 because they are African American? How many people are beaten every day in 2007 because they are women?

    January 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. ATTILA the Hun

    Bush has made me so synical that as soon as I see a headline like this, I say what's his game?

    I hope this was a sincere op-ed, I wish we could go back to those days.

    January 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. Ghillary

    Wake up SC governor. Is not a woman being elected making history? Duh

    January 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. concerned citizen, Mesa, Arizona

    Yeah that is why obama spreading Clintons racists.

    January 11, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. dan, tx

    How about let's decide this on the issues?

    Barack Obama has extensive, detailed plans on every major issue in the nation. Anyone who says he doesn't have detailed plans available to the public is intentionally lying about this. Go to Obama's web site and get the exact details on how he would run this country and how it would affect you.

    After you read, view videos, and query people on the blog for answers to additional questions you have you will be informed. Then you can make your own decision by comparing to Clinton and Edwards positions. Don't let the pundits tell you who to vote for. They don't know what they are talking about and they'll never tell you what the candidates actually stand for.

    You have to go to each candidates' web site to get the real answers to what they stand for, what they've done, and what they will do. Don't vote based on ignorance, inform yourself, then make up your own mind.

    January 11, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Barbara

    Here's a news flash! Hillary and others in our generation have a lot more hills to climbs before we are over them. And if you haven't gone through the cycles of highs and lows, you can neither relate to nor understand the needs of those who have. That someone is HILLARY!!!

    When I see Obama and hear him speak, he is not including me, he is excluding me. He is speaking to the youth, he is saying experience doesn't count, he is saying we are too old to change, to move forward, to bring people together. Senator Clinton has brought people together and when change comes through her efforts it won't have to be re-written a dozen times to correct the flaws in the rush to deliver the promise of sheer idealism.

    Senator Obama believes leadership is from the bottom up. The military, the management courses, the corporations I have worked for have all touted that: TRUE LEADERSHIP LEADS FROM THE TOP DOWN. We need someone to take charge and who EMPOWERS those to take responsibility, to participate and effect change. That someone is HILLARY!!!

    Men and women instead of vilifying and teasing and finding every means to criticize and make fun of what Sen. Clinton and others have done throughout the past 100 years should say “Thank You” for making life better today than it was yesterday.
    We have a unique opportunity here not only women of all ages, but for men, for children, for families in this country to have the first woman be elected President. Being male, being Black or Hispanic; Muslim of Jewish have their own rightful places and uniqueness in the realm of history and for the right candidate with the qualities and character to do the job on day one and beyond those days are ahead of us..
    But what is needed to identify and change what ails this country and the world and make new pathways for opportunity and advancement is someone who can break through the ULTIMATE GLASS EXECUTIVE CEILING. Electing Barack Obama at this time in history won’t be able to accomplish that. That someone is HILLARY!!!

    January 11, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Conspiracy

    I bet you the Republicans are up to their latest trick of helping Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination. With Barack Obama having mainly the black vote in November, the bigger white vote support for the Republican nominee will send the Republican Party back to the White House. Democrats, the Republican governor is putting your party on a wolf-in-a-sheep's skin ride to your 2008 election demise. Oh, a Republican Pied Piper in Democrat clothing! John McCain is enjoying this spectacle and has much to thank the Governor for. And Barack's antiquated "HOPE" and "CHANGE" sloganeering will amount to nothing for him and his inexplicably mesmerized supporters in the end.

    January 11, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. NP

    I have no problem with the statement, I'm proud to be an American whether Obama wins or Hillary or a Republican we must start setting the example if we want to regain our respect in this world. The U.S dollar is losing it value o the world market. We are practically the only one left in the Iraqi war. The rest of the world will cease to respect us more less follow our lead. I don't care who you vote for but know this we do need change, the world has changed and will change but you need to decide will it change because of the will of the people or the will of corrupt politician

    January 11, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. Boring

    CNN continues to bore. Yeah, yeah, yeah.... you support Obama. We get it already. Issues anyone?

    January 11, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. Walt, Belton, TX

    The only reason all kinds of folks are jumping on Obama's band wagon is that they abhor even the thought of the Clintons back in the White House. If Willie hadn't been such a weak President, national security-wise, and a real sleazebag to boot, Hillary would be a shoo-in.

    January 11, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Wayne

    Its no fairy tale. As you can see even in his campaign. Republicans may differ with him but they respect him....some even like him. This country is truly divided. Obama's candidacy is bringing the country together ALREADY. His campaign has ALREADY brought old people AND young people together because youth are actually interested and working in politics now.

    Clinton only stands to divide us further. A house divided against itself CANNOT STAND>

    January 11, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. Mcain - WAR MONGER

    Hillary will cry if she is not elected.

    America will cry if she is

    January 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  23. John

    How stupid. Another Republican that wants Obama to win the Primary for fear of running against Hillary.

    January 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. mARILYN

    I hope he doesn't have national aspirations, he might bring the pigs to the oval office instead of a dog.

    January 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Meaza

    Yes! Something big is happening for America! Brack Obama is the leader with character, judgment and skill to unit people for the common pourpose. Thank you for doing and saying the right thing!

    Meaza, MN

    January 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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