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.

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

    Love the comment "Andre is not gay, he's a good boy". What the hell does this mean? Gay people are bad? Nice. Gotta love the South Carolina State House, there's some real winners inhabiting it. Sounds more like Peyton Place.

    September 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Susie

    Maybe now that a Republican has been spoon fed a lie by another Republican, The bitter taste in his mouth should want him to speak the truth and speak it ever to the elderly about "Healthcare."
    Otherwise he is no different to his accuser[s.] What goes around comes back around.

    September 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. a progressive liberal and proud of it

    Too bad being gay is looked on as such a horrible thing in South Carolina. If they weren't such bigots in the first place the "smear" campaign wouldn't hold much water, now would it?

    September 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Steve (the real one)

    In reading some of these liberals blogs one has to wonder if they can see the hypocrisy in their own party and lives . I don't think so. One poster spouts out intolerance in the GOP when it comes to gays. Yet as soon as the Blue Dog support their people over the President in this proposed government takeover of healthcare, you want to call them racist and bigots. As soon as independents voice their disapproval of this administration, again, you call them racists and bigots. I need a liberal, any liberal to please explain exactly how the liberal brand of intolerance is a higher and better brand than GOP intolerance? Whatever happen to that BIG TENT mantra? Liberals are exposing it to be a lie!

    September 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. JA/TN

    I'm not South Carolina voter, but this guy make America look bad, when you are given much, much is expected, you have sunk below whale manure Sanford

    September 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Elaine

    Did someone say GAY REPUBLICAN??? Oops, you forgot to mention Lindsay Graham. Then again, what did his parents expect when they named HIM Lindsay. Maybe Sanford is not outing Lindsay because Lindsay is probably also his SOUL MATE.

    September 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Anyone else hear Dueling Banjoes playing in the background as Knotts made these comments?

    September 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Brig

    Politics is rough – get over it.

    September 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. bella

    It ceases to amaze me what the Evangelistic GOP Right can and will do in Politics! It's like the BLIND LEADING THE BLIND!! No principals, integrity or honesty! IT SEEMS THEY ARE LIKE PAC MEN –eating each other up!! This Sandford dude really has a problem???!!!!!!! And it isn't just about being a womanizer either! I hope he is forced to resign!! The South Carolina people certainly don't deserve THIS CIRCUS!!!

    September 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. fideauxdon

    Let's just assume that the Lt. Governor was Gay. So what, other than the fact that he lives in a homophobic state, and the fact would be red meat for homophobic voters? Would that make the lt. Governor a worse person than Sanford, a proven adulterer, hypocrite, violator of his oath of office, and looter of the State treasury?

    September 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Charles

    Shocking! Someone in government might be gay? Who cares? I would rather have an in control gay representative than a philandering representative!

    September 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Scott C

    Ah yes – because in South Carolina, you can't be a "good boy" and be gay too. God bless the south.

    September 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Larry

    Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body". These Homophobes make me sick. They make it sound like there is something wrong with being gay when the fact of the matter is there is nothing wrong it. Sexual orientation is not relevant. Also Knotts forgot to add "at the moment".

    September 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Lisa in Shelton

    jeez with friends like those... Why is Bauer only a good boy once denying being gay? Can anyone prove Sandford or his religious cronies did this "bearing false witness" against Bauer? Is anyone surprised that the religious groups aren't calling for Sandford's resignation despite his breaking of several commandments? (Coveting other women before, lying, adultery, stealing)

    September 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Judi

    More fodder for Jon Stewart's show!

    September 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Nancy in Illinois

    Sanford has no shame. What an embarrassment to his state. Whether the Lt. Gov is gay or not doesn't matter to me, but to say that just to hurt him politically, is beyond the pale. Sanford's out cheating on his wife, deserting his state, using public funds to finance his romance, and he has the nerve to try to make the other guy look worse by saying he's gay. (Nice to know Karl Rove's tactics are still embraced by the GOP.) This from a man (or big baby) who has the nerve to say in public that he's trying to fall back in love with his wife. Just resign now and save your state the time and money to impeach you. You are truly a disgrace!

    September 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    It won't matter in a few months. Sanford is going to be impeached and removed. He just needs another paycheck or two. He knows he is going down. And it will be the Republicans who will do most of the damage! Can't wait.

    September 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. StephanieG

    It doesn't really matter to me if he's gay.

    What does matter is if he cheats.

    Guess that takes Sanford out of it for me.

    September 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Joy

    And the hits just keep on playing....Everyone in SC knows that Sanford is behind all of this. Before its all over, Sanford will be exposing all of them and their dirty deeds. Let all of the Republicans go down!!!

    September 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Dave

    Sanford is a coward.

    September 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. kelley

    I agree he has discraced himself, it is shameful but clinton had the same kinds of situations going on and he never left office.

    September 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. No Hillary = No Obama

    This guy Sanford has a few loose screws,

    September 3, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Wolf twitters 4 Palin

    Maybe old man Argentina Sanford has first hand knowledge.

    September 3, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    It's too bad sicko's like that are in politics. If you opponent is a good person, then make up lies. They did it to McCain in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 and they are doing it still. It's amazing how many naive people whisper campaigns reach and how gullible people are to put any credence in these lies and distortions. The internet just speeds up the process.

    September 3, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. hankers

    Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy." Not exactly a tolerant or sensitive statement itself I think.

    September 3, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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