Gov. Mark Sanford responds to Bauer's call for resignation, full remarks - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Gov. Mark Sanford responds to Bauer's call for resignation, full remarks

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Sanford: I have a very quick couple of press statements in light of the lieutenant governor's press statement of earlier today. And what I actually have here is -- Ben if you would hand them out which include my thoughts -- I have a letter for the lieutenant governor that I will share with you all and you all can review it to your pleasure.

The long and short of my letter to him is I very much appreciate the offer. In some ways, the proposal is almost a representation of something close to heaven on Earth because with all due respect to the sea of TV cameras and the load of reporters -- nothing against our time together here over the last 60 days -- but in a lot of ways it would represent heaven on Earth on that offer of him taking my spot here in the last 16 months, but, you know, as much as I might like to do that, as much as I want to do that, I really believe it would be wrong for a couple of different reasons and I want to go down these different reasons. Let me back up a little before I get in the events of explaining sort of the larger context of where I am coming from.

I was unfaithful to my wife. You all know that, every South Carolinian knows that and I think the world knows that, but when confronted with it I laid all the cards on the table, I talked about it in absolutely pain-staking details and in some ways I talked about it more than South Carolinians wanted to hear about it, but I laid the cards out on the table.

And in the wake of that, y'all in the media, pundits, every body else analyzed it, dissected it, focused on it, reported on it, analyzed it, reported on it, focused on it some more, analyzed it, focused on it, reported on it some more and then analyzed it, focused on it and reported on it some more and then more and in that process South Carolinians moved on.

I mean, I was in Barnwell two nights ago and I spoke there and it was interesting the number of people who brought up jobs and the economy and what was going to happen next, they brought up this notion of restructuring and what is the makeup of the way South Carolina government works. They brought up spending and what was happening on that front, they brought up federal issues in terms of what was happening with health care and what was not happening and they talked about a bunch of different things, but they weren't talking about this.

What I've consistently seen -- and I was in Hampton the other day for lunch and I was over in Summerville a number of days back -- you retrace your corners in the state and what you find is an amazing capacity for forgiveness with real world people and there's an amazing, I guess, acceptance of this notion of God can use imperfect people to perform jobs in all walks of life. I consistently get that when I talk to people across the state and the one exception is here in Columbia and I don't mean this negatively to you all in the press, but some in the press are very much still focused on this and some political circles are still focused on this. And you end up with something of a circus because in some cases some circles want the next job, you know, some stirring up in this front could help in that direction or other folks view it as payback time. You know I developed my list of folks who aren't real fond of where were coming from in the world of politics and they figure it's payback time. Live by the sword, die by the sword, you know, it's your time. With all due respect to some in the media, maybe some think it'll help sell papers. I mean, there are a variety of different reasons why this has been chronicled as it has, and I don't mean that meanly, but look at the fact that this state is going to run a $100 million deficit this year and the amount of coverage that has gotten versus some of these other things, it says, 'Wait a minute. We have some big, real world issues that we gotta be talking about.' And it is incumbent upon the folks in the media to be talking about some of those things.

And I guess what I say to cut to the chase in this matter is that I'm not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents or folks that were never fans of mine in the first place. Or put a different way, a lot of what's going on right now is pure politics, plain and simple.

And so what I talk about in my letter is, you know, me hanging up the spurs 16 months out as comfortable as that may be, as much as I might to do that on a personal basis, it is wrong, one, because as much as you might dislike somebody, it is not right to go out and try to rewrite history because we have an incredible record when it comes to looking out for the taxpayer. And there have been attempts to rewrite history on that front.

You know, the wrong was mine, pure and simple, and you know I've said more about it than needs to be said.

But this next one, when folks actually go through all the numbers and look at all the different matrices by which we can be compared, we come out looking incredibly good, and this goes way beyond the notion of us using the state plane a full third less than the previous administration or one-half less than one of the other administrations. It goes beyond selling off a jet you could cross the Atlantic in and saving a million dollars in the process. It goes beyond using a Cessna to get around the state because it was cheaper than that to use the plane that burned jet fuel. But as I'm talking about when we begin looking into this and people want to be doing serious reporting or they want to be doing a serious investigation, they will be uncovering these facts. It turns out, forget the cost of a business-class ticket or a first-class ticket, or even a private jet across the Atlantic, turns out as we begin our little bit of looking around, turns out people were flying back and forth on the Concorde from Europe in day's past. It turns out that members of the General Assembly were flying on business-class tickets. It turns out that there was a long-standing practice with drop-offs and pick-ups in regards to state planes and other assets that were anything but in the best interest of the taxpayer. It turns out political leadership in the state used the state plane to go to golf outings, weddings, a whole host of things and it really does need to be looked at in regards to that larger context of how did this administration use state assets or anything else it was responsible for when measured against other administrations. So I think it's wrong to rewrite history on that front. I also think it's wrong considering the Constitutionally weak status of the governor of the state of South Carolina, as much as I might want to fold the tent -- again, just because folks might be frenzied up, frightened or other things in the General Assembly -- does not mean it is the right time to fold the tent.

I would thirdly say that good decisions in the world of politics, as in every other area of life, is based on facts, not reports. And so if I was to go around the room, if I was to ask you [Sanford points to a reporter], how many first-class tickets have been bought by this administration, you'd say what?

Reporter: A dozen or so?

Sanford: Okay, a dozen. You? [Sanford points to another reporter]

Second Reporter: Fifty?

Sanford: Fifty? Okay, we could certainly go around the room which is based on a fair assessment of what recently got reported in the AP then read in every paper since then -- I read it in the Post and Courier this weekend -- and the answer is ZERO and we can prove that. And I look forward to an Ethics study that will actually begin to look at reality versus 12 or 50 first-class tickets when zero were purchased. And so you don't want to make a decision in the world of politics based on innuendo, suggestion or a report when reality is something else.

And finally I would say as I send this letter back to the lieutenant governor, because I really do believe -- and I would not be sticking around if it were not a binding fact -- that we have a real opportunity in these last 16 months to do some profound things in regard to restructuring, spending with regard to jobs and the economy in the state of South Carolina that have never been there before at least in the history of my administration.

And I say that because many people kept assigning to me is that the reason I did that was to get to the next ladder up: "He only wants to talk about stimulus because he wants to run for president" or "he's only talking about this because he wants the next spot on the ladder." Again, what is unequivocally clear is that the end of my politics is at the end of my 16 months, but I do want to make the most of it and again I think with people being in the General Assembly and what the House are saying it ain't about him climbing to the next spot on the ladder, it's about him do with or don't we want to do this in regard to restructuring or spending limits or other opportunities to jobs and the economy, that's what I want to aim at; that's what I am going to be aimed at here in the next 16 months and I just wanted to say that and leave it with y'all.

Ben, would you hand these things out?

Thank you all.

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