August 13th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
12 years ago

Sanford defends use of state airplane in op-ed

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has penned an op-ed defending his use of state aircraft."]
(CNN) – No one is ever going to accuse embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford of backing down.

In an op-ed piece that appeared in newspapers across South Carolina Thursday and was also provided to CNN, Sanford defends his use of a state-owned aircraft after a recent newspaper report took issue with some of his official travel.

"I messed up and deserve my licks for it – but this doesn't give some in the media license to write as they please," the Republican governor wrote. "Anyone with a busy and intertwined life can be made to look foolish if one ignores the larger context of travel within the state."

Citing a review of records earlier this week, The Associated Press reported that Sanford had used state aircraft for personal and political purposes, sometimes bringing his wife and children along with him. These uses violated South Carolina law, according to the AP.

In his response, Sanford wrote that he has flown far fewer hours on state-owned aircraft than previous South Carolina governors. "When measuring four year terms, Governor Campbell flew 451.6 hours, Governor Beasley flew 303.17 hours and Governor Hodges flew 310.06 hours, while I flew 228.95 hours," wrote Sanford. And the seven flight hours at issue represent "two percent of the total flight hours taken," the embattled governor wrote.

Sanford has been at the center of controversy after admitting to an extra-marital affair with an Argentine woman. The South Carolina Republican has weathered and resisted calls for him to resign and, instead, has tried to refocus attention on his gubernatorial duties. His wife, Jenny, recently moved out of the governor's mansion and Wednesday Sanford gave a radio interview where he said "the aftermath of any of these things is not going to be ideal."

"We take it a day at a time," Sanford also said of his situation.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. JA/TN

    you could start regaining some integrity by resigning, are you to big for that, any other state employee would be fired by now, go home Mr family values

    August 13, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Fortuna

    Deserves his "licks" – FUNNY!

    August 13, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. from Boston

    what a joke the governer as become. Cheat lier and theif of a GOP member....I DON"T GIVE A HOOT NANNY

    August 13, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Will

    So Sanford...

    You're ok denying the citizens of South Carolina the federeal stimulus money.

    But it is ok for the the taxpayers to pay for your travel.

    ohh sweet hypocrisy. Please, just resign.

    August 13, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Linda

    Please, if he had any honor at all he would resign. For purely selfish reasons is he still in office. We REALLY REALLY don't need people like this to "represent" us. Get out!

    August 13, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Independent Again

    GET THIS GUY OUT OF OFFICE NOW!!! What a pathetic piece of work!!

    August 13, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Brian Beebe

    The point is that if you fly even one hour on a state owned and operated aircraft at taxpayer's expense, you may have violated the law of the state of South Carolina, no matter how many or how few hours you flew. The aircraft is not for personal use and is for official use, unless the Governor were to reimburse the State for personal use at the very least. It is an ethical matter.

    August 13, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |

    SANFORD: Typical member of the party of rich, old, cheating, white dudes from the South who love to say NO to po' folks while they're gettin' theirs (aka Republicans).

    August 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. paul

    It's the Hypocritical song of Moral Family Values that keeps this alive. All who are claiming Liberal Media Bias, should look and see if the Libs who you say are being overlooked – ran on a "Family Values" Ticket.

    August 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. doc

    of course he flew less
    he was with his mistress

    August 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Doug, New Jersey

    If you are a slezzy person and do sleezy things it is just a matter of time before you get caught. If you choose to be a politician then pick the party for your kind, the Democrats. As you can see republicans are upset with Sanford, and they will no longer support him. However, if you are a Democrat, you can get away with murder, literally-ask Ted, and these liberal Democrats will continue to blindly support you, in fact even more so, because they actually now see your lack of morals and values as you being just like dem, or ah them.

    August 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. trish

    Hey, I left out stealing in my previous comment.He`s a thief too.

    August 13, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I think that this guy needs to get the message that few support him now and he needs to go BYE-BYE. It is the right thing to do..........even his poor wife doesn't want to hang around all of the ugliness. Guess he has a foggy head when it comes time to decency. Especially when he lied on Father's Day week-end( a chance to be with his four sons)in order to be with his soul mate in South that REALLY takes the cake !!! A Govenor whose values you can trust . A family man who sends a message to all in his state.

    August 13, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Mark

    Hypocrite! It is so contrite to say "sorry" after someone like Sanford has judged everyone else what they spend, how they spend, what they do or not do, fidelity or infidelity... he can keep his conservative family secrets and values to himself and stop using the public as a platform for his hypocrisy.

    August 13, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. hm,florida

    are we suppose to feel bad for this guy???
    are you kidding me???
    what a moron he is. and yet, he is still governor of SC. that is sad. very sad.
    kick his ass out and maybe he'll go to his mistress "and live happily ever after"
    his family is far better than he ever deserves.

    August 13, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Tim from Tampa

    Sanford didn't abuse government perks as much as his predecessor, so everything's O.K.? Don't forget... this guy is a Bible-thumping, family-values spouting, law-abiding conservative. Strike 1, 2, 3, you're out. Time to resign.

    August 13, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. tiredofthedrama

    I live in SC. While I am certainly not pleased with Mark Sanford, I see no need to say only Republicans exhibit this type of behavior. Democrats have done it too. Does anybody remember BILL CLINTON??? He's human, whether Republican or Democrat. Should he leave office? Yes. Should Clinton have left office? Yes. Did it happen? No. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    August 13, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. RealityKing

    Mark shouldn't worry about what the AP, or CNN, reports. Both have already proven themselves progressively unreliable news sources...

    August 13, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. I Am The Great And Powerful Rush Of Oz

    CNN: This is no longer a story. This is a sad little governor from a little state.

    August 13, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. SaintGenesius

    Everyone needs to remember on thing, it is people EXACTLY like Sanford who are trying to undermine President Obama and derail health insurance reform.

    When you see those angry, crazy mobs at congressional town meetings, they are the minions of people like Sanford; people who lie, cheat and steal; people who will do whatever it takes to get what they want.

    There are more important issues than one scummy, cheating GOP thief governor, so let's get out there are counteract these people and get America moving again!

    August 13, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. john williams

    So, to paraphrase, he only violated SC law 2% of the time he was flying. Wonder if that would work if I said it to a police officer during a traffic stop.

    "Officer, I've been driving 50mph for over 30 miles. That school zone is, what, 50-yards long?"

    August 13, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. A Kickin' Donkey

    Republicans lack integrity and honesty.

    This holier-than-thou governor, who lambasted President Clinton for oral sex ... demanding he resign ... think he should stay in office after multiple coupulations with his mistriss ... the very definition of NO INTEGRITY.

    I just as easily could have used Senator Ensign, Senator Vitter or coutless other GOPer's to make this point.

    No HONESTY .... How many of you saw Senator Grassley of Iowa ... LIE to citizens yesterday. He told them that the healthcare bill before Congress contains a provision that would allow the government to "pull the plug" on people deemed to sick to save ..... the dying grandmother ....

    This is a LIE. And while I might expect it from an ex-Governor or Alaska .... I'm sorry but I expect better from a United States Senator regardless of their party.

    August 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Rick Beagle

    There are two stories here of note.

    The first is a deeply troubled man who has used his power, and the state's money abusively.

    The second, but far more interesting story revolves around this man clinging to said power.

    Admittedly I am a left leaning person, but even the folks in Illinois were smart enough to get rid of Blago so as not to stain the state's crop of future Democratic leaders more than had already been done. This guy continues to embarrass the Republicans every other week, why isn't the party moving to remove this pox?

    Maybe watching the birthers and the nutjobs at the healthcare discussions, but something is going on. This nonsense is starting to scare the crap out of me.

    August 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. cnn=right wing media and works for sarah "death pannel" palin

    resign stupid

    August 13, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Joyce from South Carolina

    The state legislature need to call an special session and impeach this man. He preached "Fiscal Conservatism" and then abused state funds himself. In other words "Do as I say and not as I do!"

    He is an embarassment to South Carolina.

    August 13, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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