Graham restates support for Sanford

June 29, 2009 

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., re-stated his support Monday for Gov. Mark Sanford, urging the maligned governor to complete his term in office, and for lawmakers and others to slow down their calls for him to resign.

"I'm asking people to give him a chance," Graham said. "If he wants to stay on, I support him. I think we can move past this as a state."

Graham, who is the godfather of Sanford's youngest son, admitted he is not an impartial bystander in the Sanford saga, but also took Sanford to task for his actions.

"The ultimate price Mark has paid is what he has done to his family," Graham said speaking to reporters in Columbia. Graham, who said he has spoken to Sanford twice in recent days and plans to call him again today, pleaded for time for Sanford to "get right" with his family, with legislators, and voters in the state.

As he has before, Graham pointed out that the situation Sanford put himself in "is within all of us."

While he said he understands the growing chorus of calls for Sanford's resignation, "it is in the state's best interest to finish out his term."

Lawmakers and others largely have waivered in taking a public stance on Sanford's fate, after he admitted last week to having an affair with a woman in Argentina.

Graham was in Columbia Monday to meet with members of the South Carolina Hospital Association and the state medical association to discuss the Obama Administration's push to reform health care.

On that front, Graham also urged caution, stating that the Obama push for a vote on reform in August is too soon, and that the remainder of this year should be used to plan reform, with an overhaul to take place next year.

"I do believe we need a different system," Graham said, but he declared he would not support a bill in Congress if if it has a public, or government-run option for health insurance.

-- Roddie Burris

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