Bauer on defense after blog post makes bold claim - - Columbia, South Carolina

Bauer on defense after blog post makes bold claim

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Last week, South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer said he would sacrifice his political ambitions if Governor Mark Sanford resigns.

Sanford refused, and now Bauer finds himself on defense. The issue? His private life.

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer wants to talk about where he would take the state if Gov. Mark Sanford leaves office. And unless Sanford decides to step down soon, making Bauer his successor, the lieutenant governor will likely run for the number one job.

But since his remarks on the subject last week, Bauer has become a target -- first, accusations on a web site claiming that the 40-year-old bachelor is gay.

That post has been picked up and repeated on other sites. We found at least 17 of them, all despite Bauer's previous denials. On Tuesday came strong condemnation from some of Bauer's closest advisers.

Said communications director Frank Adams, "Rumors, gossip, lies, innuendo....a bunch of scurrilous crap."

Another consultant called the claim a "hatchet job."

It's a frustrating situation for Bauer and, potentially, any candidate.

"There's really almost unlimited power or license that they have now on the web or on the blogs where they can pretty much say anything," said USC's Dr. Robert Oldendick. "And you can either choose to ignore it or, if it gets enough momentum, to say, 'well this is really something we need to deal with,' then just address it."

In June, Bauer did address an earlier round of rumors about whether he is gay. Said Bauer, "One word, two letters. No."

One Republican strategist says things like this don't happen in a vacuum.

He says someone in the party and perhaps a number of people believe Bauer has a good chance to become governor and decided to throw a "hand grenade" to stop him now.

Another party activist says even though they may have reached thousands of people, the claims by bloggers are not bound by the truth and should be ignored.

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