Wednesday, June 24, 2009

He had one about clowning around...but then, he is a politician.

.*** Sanford's Tango: Well, it turns out that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) wasn't hiking the Appalachian Trail after all. Instead he was in -- get this -- Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here's South Carolina's State newspaper: "Gov. Mark Sanford arrived in the Hartsville-Jackson International Airport Wednesday morning, having wrapped up a seven-day visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina." Sanford "said he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled with lawmakers over how to spend federal stimulus money. Sanford said he was alone on the trip. He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline. When asked why his staff said he was on the Appalachian Trail, Sanford replied, 'I don't know.'" But "Sanford later said 'in fairness to his staff,' he had told them he might go hiking on the Appalachian Trial. It was a long session and I needed a break.'" Our question: Who goes to one of the world's most romantic cities in the world alone? That's going to be the question that nags at many folks following the Sanford story. And since there have been misleading statements for the last three days on this issue, who is going to believe the full story from Sanford now? Don't cry for me, Argentina.

*** A 2012 Curse? Here's a quick quiz. Who has had the tougher last five months: A) President Obama, B) congressional Republicans, or C) GOPers who might be considering a White House bid in 2012? If you're answer is C), you're probably right. Let's start with Mark Sanford, who has inspired a new phrase -- "I went hiking on the Appalachian Trail" -- to describe any kind of mysterious disappearance. (Wife's question: "Honey, where have you been the past couple of days?" Husband's answer: "I went hiking on the Appalachian Trail.") Of course, that probably will change now that Sanford was in Buenos Aires. Next, there's Sarah Palin, who has had a rough last several months; after all, when your spat with a late-night comedian has been the highlight of your 2009, you've had a tough year. Then there's Bobby Jindal, who has since stepped back from the spotlight after his dreadful response to Obama's address to Congress. John Ensign dipped his toes in the Iowa waters, but then confessed last week to having an affair. And Newt Gingrich got in trouble -- and didn't do himself any favors among Latino voters -- when he called Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Even the person who was supposed to be the moderate in the 2012 field, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, has gone to work for . the Obama administration.
*** Lesson -- Don't Act Like You're Running: By process of elimination, the potential 2012 candidate who has probably had the best five months is Mitt Romney, who has delivered a few hard-hitting speeches at Obama but has largely stayed out of the spotlight. And that very well could be the lesson to this story. After all, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did their best to stay away from the presidential buzz in 2005-2006. We didn't even know Obama was thinking about a presidential bid until right before the midterms, and Clinton didn't set foot in Iowa and New Hampshire until after she announced she was running for president in January 2007. On the other hand, John Edwards was running for president as soon as the 2004 contest ended, and that didn't work out so great for him.
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