In one of the odder stories recently, South Carolina Mark Sanford was AWOL for several days, as he apparently was taking his own “walk in the woods”, and doing some writing. (Sounds like a certain PD editor we know. Hrm, I wonder if they shared a cabin?)

Sanford supposedly told staffers he’d be away and difficult to reach, which appears to be the truth:

Neither Sanford’s office nor the State Law Enforcement Division, which provides security for governors, had been able to reach Sanford since he left the mansion Thursday in a black Suburban SUV assigned to his security detail, said state Sen. Jake Knotts , R-Lexington, and three others familiar with the situation, but who declined to be identified.

Knotts was openly critical of Sanford’s Houdini act, contacting the head of the unit in charge of Sanford’s security detail to confirm that the Governor was not reachable.

The state’s chief executive should never be unreachable, Knotts said.

“As the head of our state, in the unfortunate event of a state of emergency or homeland security situation, Governor Sanford should be available at all times to the chief of SLED,” the senator said.

“I want to know immediately who is running the executive branch in the governor’s absence,” Knotts said.

The guess here is that its relatively harmless, unless Sanford starts bucking for a Section 8 dismissal from his Air Force Reserves commitment, and begins to pull a Maxwell Klinger


0 responses to “PD lead horse Sanford goes AWOL”

  1. Sartho says:

    You broke it down very well!

    • I just wish Obama would disappear for about 3 1/2 years!

      On second thought, how long do you think Obama would last on the Parkway w/o any bars on his Blackberry?

  2. Red State Eddio says:

    OK, people, enough hypotheticals like Kim Jung Illin’ sending the Taepodong II over to Myrtle Beach. I read the article 3 times, and here’s what I read between the lines:

    1. The Guv told the people who needed to know (notice that “Donny” Knotts was not on that list)

    2. Knotts is both a critic to Sanford and an ally to the Lt. which means he’d hear about the retreat and make hay with it.

    3. He only asked the security about the Guv and got minimal info back, a typical security move. He again uses that minimal response to fuel the incident.

    4. The Appalachian mountains are not a high-use cell phone area, and coverage is spotty (that’s for all you city folks). My own cell phone did not get ‘any bars’ in the area of the state park I was at this weekend, so if a relative died or the house burnt down, I would not have known till Sunday evening, unless my wife sent out a detail in person to look for me.

    4. Notice nobody is doing that. That’s because they’ve been briefed and are aware of the situation, unlike Mr Knotts.

    5. My wife would not have been able to give people any details of where I was last weekend except the name of the park. If I choose to move around, that might not be relevant and accurate either. Hence her not fully knowing where he is.

    6. Sanford is not an idiot. I’m sure the man left security contingencies with the right people (hint hint – the Lt Guv). Notice nobody got a quote in the story from him. My suspicision is that he knows, and just let Knotts run wild with the info.

    Ergo: Much ado about nada mucho.

    But it does make the R’s look silly, although thank goodness our neutral media would never be party to any embarrassing acts by Republicans.

  3. Gary Russell says:

    Tried to resist, Kaiser…Just didn’t have the willpower!

    “What if he was President and decided to take a hike the same day North Korea drops a nuke on Tokyo? Or worse yet, Hawaii?”

    He AIN’T (isn’t, for all our educated readers) the president. That’s the whole point!

    It is silly to criticize a POTENTIAL candidate for doing something as a governor (or Senator, or community organizer, or…) that is not a problem in his current job, and has no bearing on what he would do as president.

    If North Korea attacks South Carolina in the next two days, I will stand corrected. Otherwise, I feel that all of this criticism is silly.

    • I sooooo don’t have time for this today, cut out the interesting debate already, people! 🙂

      I’m still with the Roll on this one. The criticism is legit. And let’s at least be honest, if this had been Patterson in New York or the Eyebrow in Virginia, conservatives would be going nutso.

      As I said before, he has a right to all the R&R he wants given the demands of his job, but not without a cell phone that works and a staff and spouse who knows within reason where you are and for how long.

      Will it be an issue in 2012? Not unless they discover he was cavorting with another woman — or worse — a democrat.

      But it will make his bio and Wiki entry. Oh wait, it already has:

      • Sartho says:

        I agree that if it were New York’s or Virginia’s governors, we’d be reading about this on the Fox News website. Each side is going to spin it the way they want. It was the state’s senator who’s not that fond of Sanford who’s all up in arms about it.

        It just seems like a non-story to me. At least our local left-leaning radio station put some entertainment value into it relating all of this to a reality tv show. I just wish I was awake enough to remember the details cuz it was pretty funny.

    • David Kaiser, Editor says:

      No worries Gary.

      Two things – I personally don’t think its that big of a deal, which is why (if you noticed), I tagged the posted as “Humor”.

      The other is that I do disagree, to an extent, that it isn’t a problem for his current job, there are things that could happen that may warrant his immediate

      attention even as governor. I think that the criticism may be a little heavy, but not completely inappropriate.

      • Gil Rice says:

        OK, all you editors that may be more important than Sanford is to S.C. It sounds to me like their State Supreme Court is running the state anyway, so all anybody had to do was call them with a problem or solution to a crisis. NOOOOOOOO PROB!!!!!!!!

  4. East of Eden says:

    I think if he ever was thinking of running for potus, this would put a damper on things..sadly.

  5. Clint says:

    This is just like the way the news treats Palin… if the left was not scared of Sanford 2012, this would be a non-issue.

    • Sartho says:

      That’s basically what I was thinking too. Is he really the only governer that has “disappeared” a couple of days for a little R&R? And it sounds like people knew where he was going, just didn’t have easy access to contact him.

    • David Kaiser, Editor says:

      Clint, Sartho – You can’t be serious? What if he was President and decided to take a hike the same day North Korea drops a nuke on Tokyo? Or worse yet, Hawaii?

      He deserves R&R, but it was negligent of him to be so difficult to reach.

      This obsession with the biased media is starting to look like sour grapes.

      • What is the world coming to? I have to keep agreeing with Kaiser lately.

        Sanford can’t do what he did. His wife can’t be quoted as she was. Kaiser’s analogy to the President is right on.

        The media has every right to be after him.

      • Sartho says:

        Do you really think he was completely out of contact? Even if he were just some guy living down around the corner it would still be negligent to go hiking by yourself with zero contact with others for safety reasons. It’s not just because he’s a person of position as to why that would be an issue. Someone with experience hiking on their own would take such safety concerns in to consideration, and it sounds like he has some experience since it was his choice of activity.

        I also still highly doubt he’s alone in taking this type of approach to time off. Anybody in a similar type of position would likely crave some privacy for a couple of days and would try to find a way to get it now and then. We just don’t hear about it.

        So in my opinion, it seems reasonable that people could be putting a little bit of spin on it. It’s just good ol’ politics.

        • David Kaiser, Editor says:

          Sartho – if he’s in the middle of the woods with his cell phones off, I’d say he’s completely out of contact.

          I’m not disagreeing that elected leaders do take, and deservedly should take time off, if even to recharge the batteries and be sharp on their job.

          I don’t think many of them would be in the middle of the wilderness with their cell phones off.

          And I have to disagree that someone hiking alone is being more negligent than Sanford, that “Average Joe” doesn’t have to make the final call for millions of people they were elected to lead and be responsible for.

  6. For the first time in recorded history I am going to agree with South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn:

    “I wish he had called the lieutenant governor and at least alerted him to the fact that he was going to be out of pocket,” Clyburn told CNN. “That way we would not have any kind of possible crisis.”

    According to CNN, he also said he understands the need for politicians to escape from the public eye every now and then. “I think that we give up a lot of our privacy when he get into public office,” he said.

  7. Brian H says:

    An odd story, indeed.

    “Maxwell Klinger” HAHAHA…that’s funny.

    It can never be good for a politician when Kaiser can put your name in the same sentence as Maxwell Klinger.

    By the way…doesnt that Klinger image remind of you someone?

  8. Red State Eddio says:

    Having just spent the last weekend at the AT (Pine Grove Furnace State Park in PA, the 1/2 way point), I can completely understand the Guv wanting to get away from western civ and having some re-connection with the soul. I highly recommend it. We all need to do more of it.

    And yes, he should have typed the note that they all should have read from. But I would like to think that as the Guv, I could trust my cabinet and staff to communicate calmy and clearly without me having to spell out every little comma and word. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a staff in the first place.

    But it also sounds like Knotts is trying to channel his Hollywood namesake and make political hay out of nada mucho. Is Mayberry burning down? Is Mrs Mason’s drugstore being robbed? Is Floyd dealing drugs? Is Goober running moonshine?

    Andy Taylor: Barney, you can’t give Otis a sobriety test now; he’s had all night to sleep it off. The time to give him a sobriety test was last night when you picked him up.
    Barney Fife: I couldn’t give him the test last night!
    Andy Taylor: Why?
    Barney Fife: He was too drunk.

  9. Stephen and I met the governor in Reno about 18 months ago. He’d flown there to a conference by himself, commercial, coach, no security detail at all. Stephen and I were both very impressed.

    However, I have to agree a bit with Knotts here. Perception is so important in politics, and if you can avoid a Drudge headline that says: Where is Governor Sanford? You probably should.

    There’s nothing wrong with taking personal time, but as elected CEO of a state, do you want to appear so disengaged that your wife is quoted as saying she doesn’t know where you are?

    If nothing else, his staff (and family) should have been briefed to answer questions if they arose.

    “He’s camping and doing some writing, taking much needed personal time after a rigorous spring schedule. We’re in communication with him and he’s 100% aware of what’s happening at home and at the state capital.”

    Slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am. Problem solved.

    • Gary Russell says:


      Gotta be careful with that phrase when speaking of politicians ! ! !

  10. I can only confirm that we did not share a cabin. But we might have braided each other’s hair.