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. Lee

    Well, the Gov of S.C. is certainly bending over backwards to prove he's not a racist, but he just proved to all of America that he's a sexist! Otherwise, why would it be of more significance to vote for a half Afro-American than a woman?

    Neither one of these issues should be playing ANY role in a democratic society!! Americans do not vote on the basis of these prejudicial things - we vote for the most qualified candidate, period! Suggesting that race or sex either one should affect a voter's decision is completely undemocratic. This is a democracy after all. At least last time I checked...

    Do we need Universal Critical Thinking Classes?

    January 11, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. Bill Culver, Covington,LA

    Shantell, Detroit, MI.... When pray tell, and why have you demoted General Powell to Col? and for your information, i will never be heard saying "President Powell " aint going to happen.

    January 11, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. Jose Card - Independent

    Republican Governor Sanford's praises for Obama is a big blow for Hillary, who won NH primary just days ago.

    Prof. Reich, a Bill's former adviser, is right. "Hillary lacks conviction of anything."
    Obama can convince across the aisle. Hillary cannot even convince Bill's friends.

    January 11, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. wagner1jc

    Sure he does, he wants to coddle the African-American population for future elections.

    January 11, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. Smith

    If Clinton is the nominee Bloomberg will probably run. Then yeah (sarcasm)... 4 more years for the gop.

    January 11, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Juan Carlos(Vegas)

    Yep . I will believe you LOL if he wins the nomination, it will be nice to have another elephant for at least 4 more years. NICE TRY

    January 11, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. Trish

    I wish CNN would cover the issues and stop covering gossip related to the campaigns. Where is Obama's economic plan? He has great writers and deivers a powerful speech but I see no plans or actions to back up his words. His campaign demonstrates his wesknesses and why he is not quite ready to lead the nation.

    January 11, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. David from Texas

    As a Democrat, I put little weight when a Republican Governor thinks so highly about someone and he will not endorse him. That sounds a lot like the South I grew up in (Mississippi). Say one thing in public and do the opposite behind their back. I hope that he is sincere in his remarks, it seems like a Republican playbook is beginning to be written. I truly think the Republicans are hoping to get to run against Obama-After all, Karl Rove gave him advise on how to beat Hillary. Who has ever heard of giving the opposite side advise and compliments unless they have an agenda-it doesn't take an Einstein to figure that out.

    January 11, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. Jake, California

    It would have been another nod from South Carolina if the governor was a Dem.

    January 11, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Jufus, Milwaukee, WI

    UNITING people in HATRED is NOT WHAT America needs...

    January 11, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. seth, minneapolis

    We Americans should be united, whether we support Obama or Hillary or McCain or Huckabee. Don't get so carried away blogging that you become cynical and angry and small. Together we can all rise above the pettiness. I really appreciate the GOP governor sticking out his neck to say positive things about a leading democrat candidate. I think we should all take a cue from him. 2008 is a year of uniting, building, fixing. We need to have the faith and hope and optimism to bring America out of the shadows the 21st century has cast on our country. Thank you Mr. Sanford.

    January 11, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  12. Patty, Atlanta GA

    TRAITOR!!!

    January 11, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. Michael

    Gov. Sanford must be one of those republicans that whispers to Barack Obama that they support him.

    Barack Obama does transend through poilitics, race, and gender. It's amazing how many different types of people are behind him...

    He is a bit of fresh air not seen before.

    January 11, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  14. Chris, SC.

    I have become cynical to the core. My first thought was that he is probably in cahoots with Karl Rove. But then again.....

    I love my state (South Carolina), but fear my government - mostly a bunch good ole boy dip sh**s.

    January 11, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  15. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    Hillary as President would continue the division of this country.
    She represents hatefulness and revenge.
    She hides her records.
    Her husband rants at her opponents.
    Our country cannot afford 4 more years of hating the President.
    ABC!

    January 11, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. V.Leonard

    For those who believe the Republicans are so afraid of a Hillary victory, they're supporting Barack - don't you know that the Republicans have a snowball's chance in heck of winning against ANY Democrat???? Bush, Cheney and company have almost destroyed this country. We Americans (well, many of us, anyway) are not stupid enough to stick to the sad status quo.
    I support the Democratic nominee, whoever s/he may be.
    Record turnout in the Democratic primaries indicates I am not alone...

    January 11, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  17. tomdc

    I think the gov may not openly support him but in the secret of the voting booth would very possibly vote Obama instead of any Republican. No one with any insight (yes, that excludes Bill and his frau) can not be overwhelmed at the American success story that Obama is, his compassion, and his intelligence.

    January 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  18. Kylie

    THE GOP want an OBAMA nominee the way I want Guiliani, there are kinks in the armor. But how do you get these through. The GOP is good about screening...they are sweating a Huckabee win, and will probably figure out how to stop him. Obama has a very thin resume. Rove is behind the scene probably helping his candidacy along until the general. No one heading into a recession is going to take a chance on someone they are not certain about. And Obama has an arrogant, ugly side. I personally want his aura to stay in tact so the Democrats will pull from his charisma bank.

    January 11, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Amy

    The reality is that no president is going to have a mandate in office. S/he has to work with congress to get things done.

    And if you're walking in with a divisive, polarizing rhetoric, it will make it that much harder to accomplish anything.

    Obama's willingness to reach across the aisle will enable him to actually accomplish some of the goals he's set out

    Hillary will walk right into warfare and the distraction of partisan battles.

    And secondly, no president governs alone. S/he has to have the intellect to draw together the brightest and the best for their cabinet, which is something that Obama will be able to do. Hillary is just too polarizing for Republicans to work with her.

    January 11, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. Bryan

    This is the best endorsement yet for Brack Obama. It's time to recognize the better candidate, the better leader, and the man with a longer track record than Clinton. Clinton's experience is primarily as a First Lady. Does twenty years with season tickets at home plate make you a star Yankee pitcher? No – that's not experience. Hillary Clinton's years in the Senate is her experience.

    America is ready for a new generation in the White House, with a fresh point of view, and someone with a level head. Go Obama in 2008!

    January 11, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. Mati

    So anybody?? No comments that a Republican praises Obama because they are scared of Hillary? How was with Rowe praising Hillary because they are scared of Obama as some smart supporters said yesterday? Blind, blind, blind...

    January 11, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. shanna

    maybe we need to vote for the candidates that have strenght, experience and are patriotic! clinton/richardson

    January 11, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  23. Emily N.

    "because South Carolina and the South as a whole bear a heavier historical burden than the rest of our country on that front"

    So the South, especially SC, should elect Obama? This is not college. This is the presidency. On-the-job training is not ideal when you are running the country.
    This is not the right time to vote by affirmative action. America needs to vote for the best candidate, the one who knows what she will do to make America great, and the one who has worked all her life to make life better for everyone.

    January 11, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. Paul

    Has anyone really wondered why a lot of Republicans are saying Barack Obama is a great candidate???? Wake up folks!! The Republicans are not saying that out of the goodness of their heart, they say it because they know they can beat him! They do not want to run against Hillary Clinton, because they know they would loose. Think about it!!

    January 11, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. Amy

    What kind of experience are you saying he should have, that he doesn't already have Emily N? Don't be fooled by Hillary's claim because she has poor judgement as she showed in voting for the Iraq war and not even reading the report.

    Presidents don't manage. They lead. Presidents will be surrounded by advisors. The experience I want my President to have is leadership. Because unless we get a President who can present a vision that republicans, democrats and idnependts can rally behind - we won't get anything done. It was Leaders with great visions who founded our country, freed slaves, brought voting rights, put man on the moon and brought us out of a depression.

    Hillary claims she just now has "found her voice" after 35 years? No thanks. Big change, needs big vision. I don't want a manager. I want a leader. Obama offers us strong leadership and excellent judgement.

    January 11, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
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