COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford remains popular among the tea party supporters he let down last year when he went from a rising star advocating their aims to a confessed adulterer.
The Republican governor won applause Thursday at a tax day tea party rally at the State House where several hundred people gathered. But there were also a few hecklers. Edward Quick of Sumter shouted "traitor" as Sanford spoke.
Sanford later said he doesn't stand as tall as he once did, but that God can use imperfect people. He said while there may be imperfect messengers, the day's message of the need for small government is perfect.
"Every one of us has got to look and this is what brings you all together, not at pledging lives and fortunes and sacred honor but in looking at a way to redouble your efforts and doing exactly what you all are doing, which is making your voice heard to those in government. whether at the local level, the state level or federal government," Sanford said.
The governor called the day a "gut-check" moment for America, comparing it to Pearl Harbor and D-Day. Sanford has long advocated limited government and, before his confession last year, was considered a potential 2012 presidential candidate.
The theme of the rally was state government transparency, though many in the crowd also focused on federal spending for health care and the stimulus program.
"We feel that the lawmakers have taken the wrong turn in how they've tried to address the economy," said Joe Fazio of Lexington. "And now with the health care bill that was pushed forward, it's going to increase everyone's tax burden."
Gubernatorial candidate Rep. Nikki Haley also spoke at the rally. Campaign volunteers for Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who is running against Haley for the Republican nomination, were also at the event, though Bauer did not attend. There was no presence from the campaigns of Republican gubernatorial candidates Henry McMaster or Gresham Barrett.