But unlike the trip he took to
Appalachia Argentina, this time he told his staff where he was going, actually went where he said he was going, and there haven't been any immediate calls for his resignation upon his return. Not to mention, Stephen Colbert has not appointed himself Governor South Carolina like he did last time.
So, in terms of his vacations, this one turned out better.
Some things remain the same, however. Much like the trip to Argentina, he was greeted at the airport by reporters. But it wasn't as ambush-y this time.
"I'm going to work very hard at my job because it's a tremendous responsibility the people of South Carolina have granted me," Sanford said. "I'm going to work very hard to begin to restore that trust."
The Palmetto Scoop, an entertaining political blog in South Carolina, gave him a big ol' southern welcome home message (it might have been a bit snarky).
"Last month, downtrodden Gov. Mark Sanford announced that he was ready to 'get back to business.' Then he went on vacation. And he stayed on vacation," the blog reads. "But, fear not, because the state’s top executive is back now and still ready for business — although his schedule showed no public events this week other than three cabinet briefings."
A conservative on MSNBC?
Speaking of Sanford, the governor's ex-communications director appeared on the Rachel Maddow program last night. Joel Sawyer, who served as the governor's chief press flak for six and a half years, announced he was quitting the governor's office in mid-July.
Was his departure a result of the public relations fiasco?
Of course not! At least that's what he told Maddow. He actually rolled out the mother of all cliches when discussing his new job as a communications consult. Yep, he said it...
The vaunted: "This is something that will be a good move for me ... in terms of being able to spend more time with my family."
Maddow's a good interviewer because she's able to splash on the charm while casually lobbing a landmine into a question. Like this potential career-ender for Sawyer:
"When you said that he [Sanford] was hiking, had you heard from the governor false information, or had you not heard from the governor anything and you were just making those statements up?" Maddow asked.
It would have been far more entertaining if Sawyer would have just said, "I had no clue. I was just making things up."
But he didn't say that. And there's no reason to believe he was. He just explained (as he had many times) that the governor communicated to staff that he was going to the Appalachian Trail and they were just waiting for an update from him. When they didn't get it, they just told the press what they knew.
Stand by your man
Throughout the interview, Sawyer defended Sanford leading Maddow to laugh, "It sounds like you are still on the clock."
"I appreciate that, I believe in him," Sawyer said.
"I know you are moving on to things beyond Mark Sanford, but the hypocrisy issue isn't ancient history. The hypocrisy issue is why people care about him having an affair. I don't think people are all that interested in who he's sleeping with. It's that he left the state in the lurch. He lied to you and then you had to lie to the people of South Carolina on his behalf."
"In terms of his personal issues, everyone has made mistakes," Sawyer said. "Some mistakes are bigger and worse than others. I believe in the idea of forgiveness and I think most people in the state of South Carolina believe in the idea of forgiveness too and hopefully we can look forward and not backward."
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