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. Arron, NYC NY

    How in the world can you give praise to a man who shows no repect for our troops, our flag, or the pledge of allegiance. This is the same guy who would negociate with our enemies vs. aligning with our allies.

    Vote Huckabee in 2008 !!!

    January 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. KE, Lawrenceville, GA

    Aha...why are Republicans so supportive of Obama? I think most of us know the reason. We're not gonna be fooled. Hillary for President!!!

    January 11, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. aware

    An African American running for President in the South is an historical event for the South. However, a woman running for President in the USA is an historical event for the whole world!

    January 11, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. Mike, CT

    Boy, the republians are going all out to get Obama nominated.....wonder why?

    Easy election of another GOP Pres.

    January 11, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Christine

    To Governer of SC. Wouldn't a woman president be written history? or is that just to much for you?

    January 11, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. karen

    why is the media so soft on obama? In his time in the senate, he traveled promating his book tour, and then decided to run for preasident. s So so he has not had time to make any votes. So far he has been all talk. I don't know if he would make a good president or not. He seems to be the untouchabe,

    January 11, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Nancy

    Amen Arron,NYC Ny-I'm with you all the way

    January 11, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Biggdawg

    I love it. If he'd said the same thing about Hillary all the Hillary haters who are citing this as evidence of Obama's "magic" would have all been claiming he said because he thought Hillary was easiest to beat.

    January 11, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Jackson Thomas

    About time someone speaks what everybody's thinking ... Obama (whether he likes it or not) represents more than a random Senator running for President. He represents this nation – all of us, even down there in SC – has moved on and finally found some semblance (with the occassional exception) of liberty AND equality.

    Bravo, Mr. Sanford, for your courage. You're a bit too conservative for my tastes, but I like your honesty in what I suspect in a state where not everyone is so mature and modern.

    January 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. ricca, pensacola fl

    those republican party dying to have OBAMA in democractic winner, they knew that mccain can easily beat him.

    January 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. Shantell Williams, Detroit, MI

    This is a historic race this time. Doesn't mean Obama is the right person to be President – he's completely underqualified (don't get me started on Shrillary), but it is historic nontheless!

    Go Col. Powell 2012!!!

    January 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. Steven

    Think the Republicans want Obama over Hillary....I wonder

    January 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Why not Americans are just saying no to Clinton dynasty to run for the White House where Hilary stayed for 8 long years? Obama is not only the reality of American dream but a real symbol for change- How can a reputed media like CNN ignore the very fact that america is turning and shamefully accepting dynastic rule!

    January 11, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. Frances in Honolulu

    Am I the only one who notices that the political analysts and "talking heads" have become extremely cautious when reporting any positive news about Obama these days? I guess looking foolish in their New Hampshire adoration has made many afraid to do a repeat performance. The unfortunate thing is that now Obama loses the kind of media play he would normally have gotten, were it not for the strange abberation of the poll result on Clinton at N.H.

    January 11, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. J. McKinney SW MO

    Wake up, people, and really LISTEN to Obama, and you will find that his chant of "change-change-change" is empty. He doesn't give any plans of what he will do. He is a great cheer-leader, and can get people all excited, like at a sports event or a rock concert, but he has no idea what he will actually do when he gets elected. We are voting on the PRESIDENT OF THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH. We need someone with experience, who can hit the ground running. We need Hillary!

    January 11, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  16. Dan, Minneapolis, MN

    If Obama is so admirable why then not vote for him? Boys will boys, lets assert our phallic prowess. Another example of blatant and double standard buttressing institutional misogynism and sexism! Senator Clinton is an antidote to phallic power.

    January 11, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  17. anitopi

    Seems that no one wants to be the only one not to jump on the bandwagon when they see one. That's why we have elections- so that the PEOPLE can speak. Voters should follow their own hearts and convictions.
    independent thinker!

    January 11, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. David Snider

    Nice. I wish the article could had included his whole, uninterupted comment though. I like Obama. I used to say all the time i'd vote for Hillary. She was the only person to bring the troops home before. Not anymore. I DO NOT like mud-slinging against Hillary though. But when the point is made that she in fact has NO experience, it makes me want to know if that's true. In fact, in a way it is ture. She rode on the back of Bill. You would of not know Hillary if it wasnt for Bill Clinton. Another fact. Plain and simple. She has a great record when it comes to children and women. But foreign policy isnt her way. Being the presidents wife isnt foreign policy unless Bill Clinton revealed classified information with her which is against the law. Bill Clinton isnt running, Hillary is. When I heard Obama's victory speech in Iowa, it made me tear up. Im semi conservative and semi centrist-liberal but man that guy has a great vision. I just registered to vote, and ready to help at the polling stations not for obama but the country to inject myself into the process and help it out, whatever opinion you have.

    But like I said, Bill's not running. He should just go away! When Bill Clinton talks about Obama and why Obama voted for 300 billion for Iraq, he voted the same way any other American would have voted. He voted for 300 Billion because he knows that without this money our troops have a great chance of breaking down, which means America's Military is now broken, and America is open for attack. Is this great foreign policy experience for Bill and Hillary Clinton? If it is, Vote NO for Hilliary!

    You cannot expect to have a Senate Bill rejected by Republicans to withdraw troops from Iaq and then not fund the US troops in Iraq and expect them to come home then. The republicans wont let his happen which means the only person who is hurt from the Congress fighting is America and it's defenders, the Military! Salute To Our Troops! Coming home in 2009!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Barack. lets bring them home the right way. Listen to our commanders on the ground instead of promising like other democrats to bring them home too early, which American commanders desrcibe as a very bad idea. A safe withdrawl is the only way they said 9-12 months. And you can take that to the bank!

    January 11, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. Brian, Orlando, Florida

    The Democratic primary is very clear.

    Vote for Obama is a vote for Hope, the future, and change.

    Vote for Clinton is a vote for the past and same old partisanship.

    Remember what happened when the last Clinton followed Bush into the White House, it was followed by another Bush. End the Monarchy, return the country to Democracy!

    January 11, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  20. everistus etafo

    i pray and hope that as a nation, we see that it is with great excitement that people now look at the current state of u.s politics.i thank the people of new hamshare and iowa for setting the pace by looking at who is best for america.if you ask me i belive change is in, by this i mean new blood like barack obama will do well for the country if not i belive america would have lost a great chance to become so much of a greater country .let us get new wine in newwine skins rather than so called new wine in the same oldwine skin.Its time to go for great and not settle for ok because in the present world thats no longer good enough.
    i belive the excitement has just began,can you feel it?

    January 11, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. tigerjcs

    Governor Sanford of SC is praising Obama, because he is black? someone with no substance to be the next prestident? Isn't it it is an easy target for the Republican? All the Republicans are better qualified than Obama to be the next leader. Obama is not the reality of american dream nor a real symbol for change. He is great in his sermons to influence people like the Anonymous.... wake up.

    Hillary go, Hillary. You are the best.

    January 11, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Tim

    Republicans like Obama. The this is a set of for them to defeat him if he is the democrat nominee. Then we will have 8 more GOP years.

    January 11, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  23. Lori

    In this case, a women prez, particularly one riding on her husband's resume, would represent nothing historic. Hillary's already had her time in the White House. It's time to give someone else a chance.

    January 11, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. Susan, Milwaukee, WI


    Who with more than (1) brain cell would want the support of a Republican Governor?

    This only shows how AFRAID the Republicans really are about running against HILLARY!

    January 11, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. Tim

    If Obama wins the democrat nominee, these same republicans that claim to like Obama will eat his lunch.

    January 11, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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