Sanford gets back to business
A day after a legislative panel voted against impeaching him, governor meets with Cabinet
12/11/2009 12:00 AM
12/10/2009 11:26 PM
Gov. Mark Sanford, conducting his final Cabinet meeting of the year, was focused on business Thursday.
Sanford talked about the need for the state's congressional delegation to defeat federal health-care reform, saying it would cost the state almost $700 million. He also expressed hope the Obama administration would give the state another waiver on complying with federal rules on driver's licenses.
When he faced reporters, Sanford talked briefly about his personal life - how good it was to be at work without the threat of impeachment hanging over his head and how he hopes to repair his marriage, strained by a five-day trip to Argentina in June to carry on an extramarital affair.
Less than a day removed from news that lawmakers in the S.C. House lawmakers essentially had rejected a bid to remove him from office - for that trip and a 2008 taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina where he also saw his lover - Sanford said he was pleased by the lawmakers' decision.
"Yesterday was a very important hurdle day," Sanford said, referring to Wednesday's 6-1 vote against a resolution that sought to remove him on grounds he abandoned his duties. The panel weighing impeachment instead unanimously approved a censure resolution, formally expressing the General Assembly's disapproval of Sanford's actions.
Sanford admitted putting people "in a difficult spot" - from his estranged wife Jenny to S.C. citizens, who took sides on whether he should stay or go.
Sanford said he spent the hours after his impeachment victory on Sullivan's Island with his family.
At the same time, a TV interview of Jenny Sanford was being broadcast nationally.
"I didn't watch," Gov. Sanford said of the TV interview.
In the interview, Jenny Sanford - who moved out of the Governor's Mansion and to Sullivan's Island this summer, leaving her husband in Columbia - cast doubt on the couple staying together.
But Gov. Sanford said he still hoped to save his marriage, understanding his actions had caused his wife great pain. "There are hopes to reconcile."
State lawmakers will meet next week and consider the impeachment and censure resolutions. But it's almost guaranteed the 25-member House Judiciary Committee only will vote to censure Sanford.
The governor still faces 37 ethics charges. Early next year, a South Carolina Ethics Commission panel will weigh whether to fine Sanford up to $74,000 for using state planes for personal trips, buying pricey airline tickets against state law and misusing campaign money.
Sanford, again, said the alleged violations are technical and minor.
He said he hopes lawmakers will provide more clarity about what kind of airline tickets a governor can buy.
"(The law) needs to be more explicit," Sanford said.
Though the governor said he looked forward to a less contentious relationship with state lawmakers, he also said he would not be "walking on eggshells" during his remaining 13 months in office.
"Walking on eggshells is not in my nature," Sanford said.
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