Mark Sanford’s explanation changes

gsmith@islandpacket.comApril 23, 2013 

— First Congressional District candidate Mark Sanford, who previously has said he was in his ex-wife’s home Feb. 3 because he didn’t want his youngest son to watch the Super Bowl alone, said Tuesday for the first time that a second son was at the home, too.

The February event sparked a family court complaint, filed by Sanford’s ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, who alleges that her ex-husband has repeatedly entered her property without permission. That violates the couple’s divorce settlement, she asserts in court documents.

Mark Sanford defends his decision to enter the home so the couple’s youngest son would not have to watch the Super Bowl alone.

During a Hilton Head campaign stop Tuesday, Sanford said he watched the game with his youngest son. Another son, he said, was doing homework elsewhere in the house.

“I’ve never said there was one son there,” Sanford said.

In a statement earlier this month, Sanford said: “I did, indeed, watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14-year-old son because as a father, I didn’t think he should watch it alone.”

When asked why he did not take his son to a sports restaurant or similar venue where they could watch the game together, Sanford said there is no place like that on Sullivan’s Island, and downtown Charleston, where he lives, is a 25-minute drive.

“Are you going to honor what (the son) wants to do or are you going to say, ‘No, I tell you what, I think we’re going to drive downtown and miss a good bit of the third quarter and then we’re going to come back early” in time for your mother’s return.

“You make these judgments as best you can and that’s why you have a family court system,” Sanford said. “Because mom and dad may have a different perspective on what’s best for the child and let (the court) cipher these things out. But I stand by my decision.”

Sanford is due in court two days after the May 7 special election to answer to the charges.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Jenny Sanford declined to comment about the Super Bowl incident.

A new poll by a Democratic firm shows Sanford lagging behind Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Sanford said Tuesday the poll is likely a result of initial reactions to Jenny Sanford’s allegation — reactions, he said, that are changing as he has explained he was dropping his son off at his ex-wife’s home, not attempting to break in.

“People are saying, ‘Wait a minute. When I first read (about the allegation) I was really, really worried. But now that I’ve seen that no, in fact it’s not as if you were sneaking through the hedges, trying to break into some house; no, in fact, you were dropping off your youngest son after a Super Bowl party and the question was whether or not he was going to watch the Super Bowl alone. That’s a very different thing.”

The (Columbia) State contributed to this report.

Sanford on campaign trail

Mark Sanford campaigned in Beaufort County Tuesday, part of his five-day, 15-stop tour across the 1st Congressional District. Here’s what he had to say:

On Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert Busch: Sanford is continuing to push for more debates. Colbert Busch has agreed to only one. Sanford said voters deserve more. “It’s part of the American tradition,” he said, adding that without debate, voters are limited to what they see and hear from the national Democratic groups running ads on Colbert Busch’s behalf. Colbert Busch has said the condensed election timeline makes it difficult to schedule more debates and she prefers to meet voters one-on-one. The two have agreed to a joint public appearance April 30, sponsored by the Goose Creek NAACP. Audience members can ask questions during the event, but it is not a debate.

On national Democratic groups running ads for Colbert Busch: “Do people put $1 million into something not expecting something in return?” Colbert Busch counters that she is not beholden to labor unions that have donated to and endorsed her campaign. She has come out against President Barack Obama’s budget proposal.

On the National Republican Congressional Committee dropping its support of his candidacy: “They had nothing to do with us winning the primary. They had nothing to do with us winning the runoff. And they’ll have nothing again to do with the general (election) on May 7. If there’s anything that stands out in my time in politics, it’s my independence.

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