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

Sanford accused of smear campaign against Bauer

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="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.

Follow Peter Hamby on Twitter.

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

    Bauer isn't gay... not that there's anything wrong with that.

    September 3, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Stefanie

    ...Because being gay means you're a bad boy? Hmm.

    September 3, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Jim

    Wait, the guy who used taxpayer monies to go cheat on his wife with his Argentinian lover is accusing someone else of what now?

    I think there's a line in the Bible that says it's better to tend the beam in one's own eye than mind the mote in the eye of one's neighbor.

    Maybe Sanford should try reading his Bible rather than merely thumping it.

    September 3, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. David

    Obama is a Muslim
    Bush is a Christian
    Obama was not born in US
    Bush was born in Texas

    Yet Bush Lied to the American People and 4300 Troops died because Bush Lied.

    I Support a Muslim and a Non-American Born.

    September 3, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Johnathan S.

    "Ain't a gay bone in his body". "He's a good boy". I think with archaic comment's like that we should question Mr. Knott's qualification's to be holding public office. It's 2009 Mr. Knott, get a clue. As far as Mark Sanford is concerned, his action's both past and present speak volumes.

    September 3, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. R Wolf

    First of all, who cares if he's gay, unless he practices gay bashing and disrespects people's right to their own lives, but how sad and embarrasing for Stanford. Hasn't he already proven he's a jerk, a liar and a failure as a politican He's a pitiful little man and needs to leave office so that his state can regain its good name.

    September 3, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Best defense a good offense

    way to move the attention to something else, is this like the question: "how often do you beat your wife?"

    one that there is really no answer because any answer makes the person look bad

    Sanford wants the attention away from him at all costs

    September 3, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Lynn Staley

    Describing someone who is straight as "a good boy" clearly suggests that someone who is gay cannot be "a good boy." Goodness has nothing to do with sexual orientation. I yearn for the day when no one can attempt to smear someone's reputation by suggesting they are gay because homosexuality will be seen as something as natural as having blue eyes or curly hair. Calling someone gay is no insult, although it may be inaccurate. People are what they are, and politicians, like their constituents, need to examine their own hypocrisy.

    September 3, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. whaley41

    I live in SC and I hope we will have an adult that puts the interest of all people of SC before his or hers as our next governor. But as yet I don't see anyone of either party that would do this. Sad!

    September 3, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. WhoCares?

    ""Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy."

    Ahh...South Carolina...Where living in the 1960's is just around the corner!!

    I would sign a petition to let these bigoted clowns secede from the nation.

    September 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. klod

    gotta love red states... hypocrites all...

    September 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Bigczechdog

    This situation just keeps getting worse, when you thought it couldn't get any worse!
    Gov. Sanford needs to resign and go "hike the Appalachian trail" on a permanent basis...
    I mean this guy (Sanford) is cheating on his wife for goodness sakes and then is trying to imply that Bauer may be gay...SO WHAT?
    Id rather have a gay guy than a hypocrite any day.

    September 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Fred the Moderate

    I guess he wants to scare SC GOP's into keeping him. This isn't new. The republican party gets in office using this stuff all the time. If they can scare you enough you will do whatever they say, no matter what!

    September 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Ken

    I love to watch simple lifeforms feed on each other.

    September 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. Surly Librarian

    I am from South Carolina and NO this is not how most people act. We think Sandford AND Bauer are both awful choices. Gay/straight whatever...neither one of them knows how to run our state. Most of us are accepting of people – ALL people – but a small minority makes us look like idiots. So for those of you who are calling us southerners dumb...take a moment and look at your own all people in NJ look like Bon Jovi? Well I certainly hope not. Most of the residents in SC wish that Sandford would just shut-up already and try and do a job so that we have jobs, affordable heathcare, etc. So no, we are not all bigots, homophobes, and "backwoods" idiots. Thanks anyway.

    September 3, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Linda B., Ga.

    Why does the State of SC put up with this CREEP? They should've impeached him already......he should be longgggggggggg gone!

    who care what he says about anybody else......he must've never read the BIBLE, because IF he did he wouldn't be throwing any STONES at anybody else...

    September 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. Martha

    Witness the Republican implosion!!!

    September 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "The difference with the Tea Party Protestors and the I Hate Anything Not Liberal Protestors is that the Tea Party ones are actually educated on the issues."

    HAHAHAHAHA...craziest thing I heard all day. For crying out loud...after all the factchecking on the internet and tv and in papers, someone actually has the cajones to claim that people regurgitating 100% disproven talking points are "educated on the issues"?
    Le Sigh...

    September 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. gt

    why is cnn obsessed with this man ? give it a rest,,,

    September 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Carlos

    Well one things for sure if he is gay he will be a hit with the dems.

    September 3, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. No Incumbents 2010

    Why would Knotts have anything to say about Bauer's sexuality? Does Knotts have personal knowledge? Let's hope knott. Senator Knott has shown his true homophobic colors which will probably help him in South Carolina. Knotts should stay away from the Sanford-Bauer soap opera and focus on policy issues.

    September 3, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Lisa B

    Why would being gay prevent him from being governor, Mr. Knotts? And he's a "good boy" because he "ain't got a homosexual bone in his body"? These guys all sound like neanderthal idiots to me.

    September 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. JonDie

    Sound like something a pathetic loser like Sanford would do.

    September 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    With all due respect, Sniffit, it is COJONES not CAJONES. Cajones are big boxes, cojones are...well, you know:)!

    September 3, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Chase

    The state senator ,himself, made a pretty derogatory statement within his own defensive quote. By saying " That boy is a good boy", insinuates that if he were a homosexual then he wouldn't be "good". Why are people so nieve to see their own views sometimes aren't all that far from the views they are trying to discount?

    September 3, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12