Live blogging Mark Sanford's weird press conference
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"But if he means what he says, then he's doing the right thing -- focus on his family first. The politics, or lack thereof, will take care of themselves."Skip to next paragraph
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ORR: Did he say he broke it off with her?
Karr: It appeared that he did to me but it's not clear whether he thinks he'll stay as governor. I think he did but I don't think it's 100 percent clear. it sounds like he wanted to.
ORR: We've got Gary Karr with us. Gary was press secretary for former South Carolina Governor David Beasley. Karr is a bit shocked:
KARR: "Don't think I've ever seen something that jaw-dropping. I spent 12 years in that Statehouse. Nothing comes close."
ORR: Karr and I served as press secretaries for different governors at the same time (make sense?). Coming from this background, it is very important to maintain good relationships with the press. I asked Gary if he were the press secretary now, how he would react.
KARR: Before knowing this news, absolutely furious. If I knew the truth, and was sure I knew, less so after this press conference. But I would probably tell him honestly that his first job is to make sure he protects and guides his family. And if that means that he cannot devote time to be governor, then he should resign.
ORR: Circumstances are different. States are different. You can certainly rebuild yourself after an affair. But how special are these circumstances?
KARR: I don't think we know today, right know. There will be more questions, and more perhaps more revelations. How did they meet? Did he use state resources at any point to meet with this woman? What does Mrs. Sanford -- who is very smart -- say in the near-term?
KARR: Gov. Sanford has antagonized the Legislature, so few legislators are his fans. The real question is, how much do the people of South Carolina want to rally to his side? Or would they prefer the whole drama go away?
I don't think we know today, right NOW (not know).
ORR: How will people in South Carolina react to this? What's your gut, Gary?
KARR: "His fund-raising base was not great, he is not that disciplined a campaigner (which you HAVE to be on a national stage) and he has only a low-key relationship with the religious conservatives.
"I think there will be a lot of people sorry for him and especially for his wife and sons. People in South Carolina are enormously protective of their own, and, to some extent, protective of women scorned
"The key will be what Mrs. Sanford says. She's a strong and smart woman, from what I know. But if it appears that her husband is not taking her into account, well, he's toast."
ORR: Sanford appeared elusive. Like the last question. Did he tell his staff to mislead the press. How elusive did you find him Gary?
KARR: The real Mark Sanford has always been a bit elusive. So actually, I think he was more forthright than I expected.
ORR: Gary, this was a drop-dead serious press conference. I was surprised that he said, "I spent the last five days crying in Argentina." That was a little weird. What'd you think?
KARR: "Yes. It made me think I was seeing a little bit more of a person than I had a right to do so. It's almost as if he was conducting a little bit of a counseling session right there on the first floor of the Statehouse. Talked about his friend the state senator and a pastoral friend almost as much as he did his wife and sons."
ORR: What's Sanford's political future, Gary?
KARR: He's barred from a third consecutive term and he's largely persona non grata in the Legislature anyway. The only question about his future was whether he could mount a credible national campaign.
Today's news conference doesn't kill that completely, but his future is on life support and the heart rate monitor is beeping only infrequently.