September 8th, 2009
07:13 PM ET
10 years ago

Sanford: 'I'm not looking for a fight'

Sanford acknowledged the state legislature will decide his fate.

Sanford acknowledged the state legislature will decide his fate.

(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford - facing a growing impeachment threat over his secret trip to Argentina in June - said Tuesday he's not preparing for a legal battle with state legislators who want to remove him from office.

"I'm not looking for a fight," Sanford said during a radio interview in Columbia, when asked if he's ready to hire lawyers to combat possible impeachment charges.

At the same time, the embattled governor acknowledged his fate rests in the hands of the state legislature, which by many accounts is set to begin the impeachment process when it re-convenes in January, pending the outcome of a state ethics panel investigation into Sanford's travel expenses.

Asked if he believes he committed any sort of impeachable offense during his time in office, Sanford said only: "Well, that's for the General Assembly to decide."

The governor, however, suggested that actions related to his June disappearance did not rise to the level of offenses committed by other state executives who have been impeached in the past.

"There have been eight governors impeached in the history of this nation," he said, describing the actions of those governors as "heinous."

"And so I would say there is certainly a world of difference between what happened in those instances and what happened here," he added.

Sanford took questions from several callers, none of whom called on him to step down.

He said it was "unfortunate" that Republican House Speaker Bobby Harrell called for his resignation on Tuesday and said he wants critics to wait for the outcome of the ethics investigation.

The governor spent most of the interview touting his administration's record on fiscal matters, arguing that he should remain in office because he is "a voice for fiscal sanity" and "an advocate for restructuring" in government.

"We all want do-overs," Sanford said. "That is the nature of being human. And so I apologize as I have so many times before. But I am human and I make mistakes. But I also believe that God can use imperfect people to perform his will."

Sanford also rejected the suggestion that he might be a drag on the Republican ticket in next year's governor's race.

"The Republican Party is not me and I am not the Republican party," he said. "So I don't think that what happens in the next election cycle is based on what does or doesn't happen with Mark Sanford."

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Zane

    Nooooo, he went looking for love! Twit!!!

    September 8, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. rw

    We have come to the end of the church age.

    September 8, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. Vets4Obama

    Just exactly what has he done that he is touting?

    Worse UnEmployment Rates
    Worse Education
    Worse Health Care
    Worse Housing Market
    Worse State Infrastructure
    Worse Crime Rate

    WHAT did he do again that he is proud of? Forget the fact that he went AWOL for five fact, those five days are probably the safest and most productive days the state has seen since he took office.

    September 8, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Ashamed in SC

    So at least the deranged narcissist admits he doesn't represent his party. Now if he could only take the next leap of reality and accept he doesn't represent his God nor the good peeps with integrity in SC.

    Until then Gov. Sanford can continue to represent the many Rotary Clubs who welcome and support him. At least he's exposing many hypocrisies in SC and until he's officially impeached he can continue to do THAT public service.

    September 8, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Go away already.

    September 8, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. Tony from Michigan

    I still think Sanford needs to have a news conference everyday until his term ends....This is just showing people the true GOP

    September 8, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. Lucy, Texas

    Yeah, we all know Mark Sanford is not looking for a fight. However, what he was looking on his secret Argentina state paid for excursion is what South Carolina wants to impeach for.

    Please explain why the Conservative Republicans caught with their pants around their ankles scream that God will forgive their sins and are surprised when everybody else won't.

    September 8, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. Sevin

    I am a Democrat. I have no idea if Mr. Sanford is an effective Governor, but think he made some pretty serious mistakes. I also remember the "holy" attitude he took with President Clinton's indiscretions a number of years ago.
    However, much like I defended Mr. Clinton, this is probably a character flaw that should be evaluated by the voters. It seems to me that there are likely more important issues to worry about in South Carolina.
    I believe this is an opportunity for Democrats to practice what we preach and let the voters decide the shortcomings of the Candidate.

    September 8, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Jimmy the Geek is an idiot

    Sanford isn't looking for a fight, as a good Republican he is just looking for a soulmate even if it requires him to spend taxpayer dollars to travel to Argentina to see his mistress. The GOP only impeaches Democrats for partisan gain so of course they will not impeach Sanford. As a C-Street disciple Sanford knows that different rules apply to him and the Generay Assembly is proving this to be true.

    September 8, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Good bye

    Then leave already!!!!!

    September 8, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. texasgreenacres

    You may not be looking for one but you got one coming.Doing 90 miles per hour down a dead end street. All i can say is either put on your fighting clothes and fight like a man,or you could make like a sheep dog and get the flock out of South Carolina. Maybe Brazil?Somewhere south of the border anyway.

    September 8, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. Joy

    As a South Carolinian, this is such an embarrassment to our state. SanFRAUD is making a mockery of SC! He needs to be impeached. Instead of just censoring him, the Republican party should have called for his resignation at the very beginning of this never end story! Please just go away SanFraud!

    September 8, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  13. Georgia

    "I'm not a fighter – I am a Lover!" the Gov. said.

    September 8, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  14. Then take a Flight

    If you are not up to a fight maybe you should take a Flight to South America for good.

    September 8, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |


    It's fortunate that we "all" have our weaknesses! It's unfortunate that those who want you to resign act like they are perfect!

    If you did not abuse tax dollars or your responsibility as governor, you should fight any impeachment charges. Even if you lose the battle, it's the right thing to do.

    Something to think about... perhaps you could switch party or run for office in CA! We have a republican governor, who got into a motorcycle accident without a motorcycle driving license! We focus on the big stuff, not the little things! There is no need to bring your own bible. You can get a recycled copy here! 🙂

    September 8, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, you wanted Clinton impeached and removed from office for lying under oath about a fling with and intern...don't you think your affair wth you Pampas " Soul Mate" which climaxed in you going AWOL, not to mention your abuse of the governor's jet after you promised not to abuse it, constitutes a breach of your oath? Does lying to your wife and sons not require you to put them first, sir?

    Live up to our public standard, not your private ( and much lower) standard. Be like Palin, and quit.

    September 8, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. Richie

    This guy cracks me up! Keep on keepin' on. I think he should run for president!

    September 8, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. Nija

    Then quit.

    September 8, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  19. Will in Minneapolis


    It's so crazy and narcissistic of him to say: "But I also believe that God can use imperfect people to perform his will."

    I believe you are the last person god would ever use to perform his will.

    September 8, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  20. Pat, CA

    Whenever I'm discouraged about our country's direction under Obama, I remember Ronald Reagan. He was our last great patriotic American president. He considered America the shining city on the hill — as I do.

    Nowithstanding the Obama "interlude," WE WILL HAVE THIS AGAIN!

    I just know it! We are America — the GREATEST experiment in democracy ever!

    God bless America!

    September 8, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. jazz lady

    I have never seen a governor resist pressure from his own constituents to resign as staunchly as Sanford has...
    No, wait, I take that back...we had to deal with Blagojevich earlier this year. My sympathies to my fellow Americans in South Carolina.

    September 8, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |