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Sanford Returns!



Gov. Mark Sanford is set to return to South Carolina tomorrow. AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will return to the state tomorrow after spending the last five days hiking the Appalachian Trail, according to a statement released by his office this morning.

Sanford communications director Joel Sawyer said that the governor called his chief of staff this morning to check in and added: "It would be fair to say the governor was somewhat taken aback by all of the interest this trip has gotten."

Late last night, Sawyer informed reporters that Sanford had been hiking the Appalachian Trail since he dropped out of contact last Thursday. A source within the government said that no one on Sanford's staff had spoken with him since that time.

While Sanford is safe and will return to the state tomorrow, the controversy surrounding his trip isn't likely to fade immediately. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R), in a statement last night, said that his staff had been misled into believing that Sanford's staff had spoken to him and knew of his whereabouts. "I cannot take lightly that his staff has not had communication with [Sanford] for more than four days," said Bauer.

Sanford's disappearance got the Fix to thinking about other recent political lacunae. The two that jumped out at us:

* Rep. Steve Largent (R-Okla.) was bowhunting in Idaho on Sept. 11, 2001 and didn't hear about the terrorist attacks against the United States until two days later when he was informed by his staff. Largent's disappearance was used by his opponents in the 2002 governor's race, which he narrowly lost.

* Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) -- yes, that John Ensign -- disappeared for two weeks in 2002 citing personal reasons. When he returned to the Senate, he offered no explanation for his absence.

Did we miss other great political disappearing acts? Offer them in the comments section.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 23, 2009; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Comments

Haven't you guys at the Post figured it out yet? If you're talking to a Republican you should assume they are lying...

Posted by: AHermit | June 25, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

He told reporters he spent "the last five days of my life crying in Argentina" and the affair is now over.

"crying" - is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Posted by: wmhogg | June 24, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Sanford went to Argentina check out the wild life. You know, Patagonian penguins and sea lions. He even has a stuffed souvenir to prove it. Squeeze it and it says, "Haw, haw, haw."

Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata have some divine places where aging males can escape their reputations for a discrete spell. All cash and no receipts or audit trails.

Stalwart conservatives know and share the need for occasional off-the-record daliances. There used to be gents clubs or hotels for the purpose, until the lie-bruhl press got too pesky.

Posted by: jkoch2 | June 24, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

He said that there was all kinds of property being lost, and that it "took a while to reach the Governor".

So this is actually a pattern of behavior with Governor Sanford.

==

yeah he needs his "space"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 24, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

wmhogg:

Did you see my question to you?

Posted by: JakeD | June 24, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

On Rachel Maddow tonight, Lt. Governor Bauer said that Governor Sanford had also been hard to reach during the recent forest fires in the state.

He said that there was all kinds of property being lost, and that it "took a while to reach the Governor".

So this is actually a pattern of behavior with Governor Sanford.

Posted by: wmhogg | June 24, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

mm449942:

You don't think he was hiking?

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Forget the story spun by his aides, do you believe his wife just lets him wander off for four days with a weak excuse about "writing something"?

Ever been married? If so, that's all you need to know...

==

I think he's hitting the glass dick. Going out in the woods to minimize the paranoia

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

My main gripe is that American citizens automatically turn to government after any disaster-- Lt. Governor could have signed any emergency declaration --why not be prepared yourself just in case?

==

Do Sanford a favor and stop trying to defend him. This is a terribly weak argument.

You're always rolling your eyes about Obama getting a pass from liberals, but I don't think there is anything a Republican could do that you wouldn't fawn lovingly over. Talk about hero worship. It's more than a little creepy sometimes.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Forget the story spun by his aides, do you believe his wife just lets him wander off for four days with a weak excuse about "writing something"?

Ever been married? If so, that's all you need to know...

Posted by: mm489942 | June 23, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

DC Mayor Fenty--twice

Posted by: eabgarnet | June 23, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

My main gripe with this is not that he did not inform people that might need to know if the state experienced a sudden emergency, like a tornado.

The time spent trying to locate Sanford would probably delay any help to victims of a disaster, unless the Lt. Governor had been told that he was being left in charge before-hand.

Irresponsible.

==

This story doesn't add up. I don't think we're getting the uncut dope.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

My main gripe is that American citizens automatically turn to government after any disaster-- Lt. Governor could have signed any emergency declaration --why not be prepared yourself just in case?

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

My main gripe with this is not that he did not inform people that might need to know if the state experienced a sudden emergency, like a tornado.

The time spent trying to locate Sanford would probably delay any help to victims of a disaster, unless the Lt. Governor had been told that he was being left in charge before-hand.

Irresponsible.

Posted by: wmhogg | June 23, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

dre7861:

Who said that Gov. Sanford is "complaining" about press coverage? I hope he holds a full press conference tomorrow morning with a PowerPoint presentation and slideshow of color photographs from the hike. As you pointed out, though, no modern-day President take a "vacation" (away from work) like you and I think of that word -- GWB never "complained" the job was too hard -- too bad your side couldn't admit that when it came to Bush and his Crawford ranch.

Gov. Sanford would do well to recharge his batteries now, before he runs for President ; )

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gov Sanford - if you're thinking about running for President you might want to consider two things: One you ask for the media spotlight to be turned on you because of your presidential ambitions so don't complain when it interrupts your 'hike' through the woods. Also you might want to think about the requirements of the position of Presidency. If you became President you won't be able to go off the radar map to recharge your engines after a session with Congress. It seems you're admitting to the American people that you don't have the temperament to be President in a 24/7/365/4 term would bring. After all we saw what happened the last time we had a President who constantly went on vacation and complained about how hard a job it was. Maybe Gov Sanford you should stick with your hikes!

Posted by: dre7861 | June 23, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Lindburg = Lindbergh (darn Spellchecker ; )

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

opp88:

This thread is about Gov. Sanford and the BILLIONS around the world breathlessly awaiting word that he has landed safely back home. Bigger than Charles Lindburg, I tell ya!

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

sounds like sanford was hitting the gonga to me...

Posted by: opp88 | June 23, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

2009 Republican Leaders continue to ill-advise President Barack Obama on domestic and foreign issue's.

John Boehner, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Eric Cantor? Health Care, Energy, Unemployement, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran all none substance rhetoric.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ignored questions about Ensign, who stepped down last week as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican and vice chairman of the Ethics Committee, said he couldn't discuss any potential investigation.

Groups Want Ethics Probe of Ensign Affair

And still can't take care of their own home business.

Posted by: opp88 | June 23, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

knjincvc:

Can you imagine if a President voted "present" 130 times instead of making actual decisions in the Oval Office? Do you have any other strawman arguments we can burn?

Gov. Sanford taking a long weekend (as long as he was actually hiking alone) has ZERO impact on his Presidential candidacy.

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

jaked sees the Sanford story as a non-issue and it may be from Sanford's point of view but as a voter who looks at possible candidates for president, both Sanford and Ensign were both talked-up as up-and-coming possible presidential candidates, Sanford has ruled himself out of contention for POTUS.

Can you imagine if a POTUS took off without telling his V.P., his wife or his security team and took the nuclear football with him???

Posted by: knjincvc | June 23, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind that Gov. Sanford could have flown all the way to Maine and still "hiked" the Appalachian Trail. Maybe he wanted to climb up to Bear Mountain [so, he had to fly there and take Undermountain Trail -- which is 3 miles north of Salisbury off of Route 41 -- there's a dirt parking lot on the left hand side but during summer months it's easy to drive right past it since it's covered up by trees and bushes.) Undermountain Trail might be the most popular trail in CT since it's a jumping off point for a wide variety of hikes. We'll all know, for sure, tomorrow.

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I really believe that Gov. Sanford was hiking (we knew about his SUV at the Atlanta airport the first day this "story" broke -- staff knew he was hiking since last Thursday --- in other "news" Jon & Kate are getting a divorce).

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Who really believes Sanford was hiking the AT? He left the 'borrowed' car at Atlanta airport and hopped a plane somewhere (source: http://www.wyff4.com/news/19837234/detail.html). This story is just heating up!

Posted by: imback | June 23, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

simplewords999:

That's not the first time I've seen "AWOL" being used re: Gov. Sanford -- where did you get that from -- who, exactly, grants "official leave" to a State Governor?

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where Texas Gov. Perry and Todd Palin, secessionists in resident were during Sanford's AWOL? They and Sanford were probably having a secret meeting somewhere in a secessionist militia training camp in Appalachia..

Posted by: demtse | June 23, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where Texas Gov. Perry and Todd Palin, secessionists in resident were during Sanford's AWOL? They and Sanford were probably having a secret meeting somewhere in a secessionist militia training camp in Appalachia..

Posted by: demtse | June 23, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where Texas Gov. Perry and Todd Palin, secessionists in resident? They and Sanford were probably having a secret meeting somewhere in a secessionist militia training camp in Appalachia..

Posted by: demtse | June 23, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

For all you people so upset about where Governors are minute-by-minute, how about the "missing" Gov. Kaine?

http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/wb/209330

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Bush and the National Guard.

Posted by: monk4hall | June 23, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Unusual? why am I reminded of the peterson christmas eve fishing trip?

Posted by: opp88 | June 23, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Disappearing acts? The village idiot from Midland Texas sojourned on the Potomac for eight years. They reverse engineered outraged demonstrators when he returned for brief respites while AWOL-by planting left wingers for interviews, reinforcing the illusion he was president.

Posted by: maxim678504 | June 23, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I will bet money he was really shacked up with an assistant or secretary....hiking up skirt is more like it.

Posted by: metroman76 | June 23, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

He seems to have even told the press where to stick it because he was taking a hike ... that's sort of cool.

==

Only if you value rebelliousness over responsibility.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"No big deal?! This guy is the governor of a state. He commands the National Guard and the State Police and is responsible for a wide range of emergency functions. This isn't some guy working the line at the local GE factory. He was elected and took an oath to take responsibility for these things. He can't just up and leave for a few days and not tell anyone where he went. You just can't do that."

Sorry but yes you can do that and the only time you cannot do that is because you have to tell the boss what your leave schedule is.

He seems to have even told the press where to stick it because he was taking a hike ... that's sort of cool.

Posted by: Slager21 | June 23, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

It is absolutely moronic for the governor, whose actions or lack of actions may affect the lives of millions of people simply disappear. The fact that he would not even tell his family is a strong indication that this man mentally imbalanced. Who know where he is or was and I don't care. I wish there was some way to impeach this moron for being a moron.

Posted by: kevin1231 | June 23, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Just how does one Twitter while hiking the Appalachian Trail? Especially when they left their cell phone in Atlanta?

http://twitter.com/MarkSanford

Posted by: whatmeregister | June 23, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

If he was gone for 5 days and no one noticed, perhaps they don't really need a governor.

Posted by: tiredtaxpayer1 | June 23, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Sanford is secretly meeting with Sarah Palin to conceive a Conservative super-child, who will emerge from training in Utah in 2043 to destroy all socialists once and for all.

Posted by: pgr88

==

Yeah, and his name is "Trig."

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

No big deal?! This guy is the governor of a state. He commands the National Guard and the State Police and is responsible for a wide range of emergency functions. This isn't some guy working the line at the local GE factory. He was elected and took an oath to take responsibility for these things. He can't just up and leave for a few days and not tell anyone where he went. You just can't do that.

Posted by: CNY-DC | June 23, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

>>In my experience it is much cooler along the trail than in the lowlands below. Forests are generally cooler than cities. Mountain tops catch breezes that do not reach the flats.

Yeah not in the South. The N. GA mountains are oppressively hot and humid in the summer. My family is from there and I've spent many a summer in those hills. A breeze doesn't really help in a heat index of 100+. You're just being hit in the face with hot air. Especially this year when they're running in the low to mid 90's without the index which is arguably warmer than usual (should only be the mid 80s) and I think we can actually christen it a heat wave now. Even with a breeze you have to take extreme care not to have a heat stroke while hiking. I mean it is a lovely trail but it's definately not very nice weather wise right now to me.

I'm basing that on the fact he was in Atlanta (which no it's not a trailhead start) he was probably heading up to the trail start from there.

Posted by: mtcooley | June 23, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Sanford is secretly meeting with Sarah Palin to conceive a Conservative super-child, who will emerge from training in Utah in 2043 to destroy all socialists once and for all.

Posted by: pgr88 | June 23, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) disappeared for a week when his number turned up on the DC Madam's phone records.

Posted by: tchain | June 23, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"Sanford tops the list as the worst in a long line of bad governors in S. C."

This is an interesting question because what you seem to be saying is "would Governor Sanford get us into more debt while accomplishing less than the current administration has in its first 100 days". About 60-65% of us think that the answer is no.

Posted by: Slager21 | June 23, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Ted Kennedy disappeared for half a day after leaving Mary Joe Kopechne trapped in his car at the bottom of Chappaquiddick creek.

Posted by: Peter28 | June 23, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Sanford tops the list as the worst in a long line of bad governors in S. C. The second highest unemployment rate, the second high crime rate, schools crumbling, (GOP doesn't fare well with an educated populus) and Sanford has amassed a state debt that is unsubstainable. Just think, when you throw in irresponsibility with reported personal instability, he could probably do for the rest of us what he has done for South Carolina.

If he has to disappear to regroup after a rough week with the South Carolina legislature, he would probably have to be committed to a psychiatric facility after a week in the W H. This isn't presidential material. On the other hand, he has proved unfit to govern a state.

Posted by: xclntcat | June 23, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

My dad was an expert on the Appalachian Mountains, which extend from Florida to Maine, he became that way by tramping around on them. I've spent many hours walking around on the Appalachian trail. This is the first time I have ever heard of any person being questioned for going for a walk. It's almost as though people don't know how to do that any more which is too bad because it would be good for them.

Posted by: Slager21 | June 23, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm - coincidentally, he happened to leave his wife and kids for a hike on...

Naked Hiking Day!!

These crazy republicans...

Funny, the WaPoo didn't mention that.

Posted by: UNLISTED | June 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he was sitting in a hotel room hitting the glass dick. Or maybe just feeling sorry for himself because he didn't get what he wanted from the legislature.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Atlantic City mayor Robert Levy went missing while in rehab for 2 weeks in 2007.

Posted by: pbenko40 | June 23, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

and folks still don't believe these right wing conservatives are nut cases.

==

What folks would those be? Even their supporters know they're nutcases, want them to be nutcases.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

and folks still don't believe these right wing conservatives are nut cases.

not kowing the real deal, the horrible PR is reason enough to get rid of this guy. if he was really AWOL it is no excuse. in his position he can't do that. Neither can the cashier at Wal-mart. If he can just go for days, he has proved his worth to the state of South Carolina, ZERO.

Posted by: simplewords999 | June 23, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't actually seem like anyone did know where he is/was. The Lietenant Gov is pretty cheesed.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"I'll give him the benefit of the doubt "

==

He's a free-market nutbar. He doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't think he's been hiking. I think he's been in rehab somewhere "near Atlanta."

Posted by: MagicDog1 | June 23, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Why is this a big deal? The App. Trail is a great hike and I recommend anyone to try it. I went with some folks with my church hiking on that trail, and it truly is a wonderful & revitalizing time! People who are so concerned about a man taking a vacation need to get a life! To those, try hiking...it does a mind, body & soul good!

==

Suppose his state had a serious emergency?"

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had plans for that. It seems like at least someone knew where he was. That being said, its still bizarre that not even his wife knew.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 23, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as a physician, whatmeregister's conjecture is RIGHT on the money. This does *not* smell like extramarital shenanigans (the old "dead girl or live boy" scenario. What it smells like, in descending order of likelihood:

1. Suicidal gesture -- probably too many pills washed down with too much alcohol, or cutting.

2. Psychotic break with hold.

3. Detoxification

One thing's for sure: in today's culture, it won't be secret for long.

Posted by: mattfugazi | June 23, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Why is this a big deal? The App. Trail is a great hike and I recommend anyone to try it. I went with some folks with my church hiking on that trail, and it truly is a wonderful & revitalizing time! People who are so concerned about a man taking a vacation need to get a life! To those, try hiking...it does a mind, body & soul good!

==

Suppose his state had a serious emergency?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox -- that used to be the case. but even the Catholic and anti-abortion Latinos are disgusted by the republican's blatant racism.

==

I have three Latino friends. When I met them, two were Republicanss (there are things we don't talk about). Now all three are Democrats.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't there some guy running for congress in North Carolina that disappeared for a few days before the election?

Posted by: Haners | June 23, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Sanford's state has very high unemployment, for him to turn down stimulus money to score ideological points is just ridiculous. This isn't presidential timber, this is a nutbar.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox -- that used to be the case. but even the Catholic and anti-abortion Latinos are disgusted by the republican's blatant racism.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

drindl: Latinos are overwhelmingly Catholic and pro-life and that has been enough to get a third of their vote for the GOP, nationally averaged.

The other two thirds don't want to vote for the party that uses racist appeals to their extreme-right "base," and in opposing Sotomayor they did the one thing you can always count on them to do: they went too far.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Do you have a family, Jake?"

Hahaha, you need to go and read up on his attitudes towards women.

Posted by: DDAWD

==

I'd stake a year's salary that everything JakeD (or any other GOP troll) "reveals" about his life is a lie.

When was the last time you saw a guy in his 70s who used emoticons and wrote teenybooper stuff like "LOL?"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

As I predicted here:

"New poll numbers really seem to bear out the fears of some Republicans: The GOP’s opposition to Sotomayor seems to be hurting the party among Latinos in a big way.

The latest numbers from the nonpartisan Research 2000 find that only eight percent of Latinos view the party favorably, while an astonishing 86 percent view it unfavorably.

One of the big stories today is that Republicans are realizing that there’s no political percentage in fighting the Sotomayor nomination. It’s striking that Latino opinion about the GOP is dropping so fast, even at a moment when GOP opposition to Sotomayor appears to be flagging, as opposed to intensifying.

This continuing drop among Latinos, coming at a time when many party strategists recognize the party’s desperate need to broaden its appeal, only reminds us that not only are there few apparent upsides in opposing Sotomayor, there are potentially serious costs, too."

Just a reminder: you can't win national office without significant Latino support. Statistically, just can't do it.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Why is it a big deal? He is the governor of a state and he disappeared for 5 days, telling no one where he was going, not even his wife.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Why is this a big deal? The App. Trail is a great hike and I recommend anyone to try it. I went with some folks with my church hiking on that trail, and it truly is a wonderful & revitalizing time! People who are so concerned about a man taking a vacation need to get a life! To those, try hiking...it does a mind, body & soul good!

Posted by: reason5 | June 23, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The Republican-majority SC state legislature overturned all ten of Gov. Sanford's vetoes last week before the end of their session, and then the Governor ditches his security detail and goes missing. Even his own wife and family are left in the dark during a four-day span that includes Father's Day. Yet his staff doesn't think this concerning enough to verify his whereabouts? The man has a history of alleged mental instability, but apparently the possibility that he might be deeply despondent and acting irrationally doesn't set off any alarm bells with these folks? This is not in the least bit credible.

Let's be real. The governor's staff AND his wife know what happened, but no one's saying just yet. If the governor had in fact gone missing, his staff would have been required to mount an official search both for the sake of the governor's safety and the state's security. And if it were a simple matter of infidelity or the like, his staff would have had a decent cover story all along. I speculate that the governor's condition is a mental breakdown, perhaps aggravated by self-inflicted harm, which required a discreet medical stay and seclusion; and no one dared send out a cover story before now until he was safely, if you'll pardon the expression, "out of the woods." If they had said anything before now and he had taken a tragic turn, they would have been exposed as liars and their careers would have been over. And they couldn't dare notify Lt. Gov. Bauer of the truth either, for obvious reasons--he would have no doubt taken steps to have the governor removed, and properly so. No, like most ambitious politicians the governor is surrounded by equally ambitious underlings who were trying to protect their own political futures here. If one whiff of Sanford breaking down under pressure were to get out, those staffers' dreams of walking the halls of the White House greeting their boss with a hearty "Good morning, Mister President" go up in smoke, so to speak.

As I said, speculation. I can't prove it, but it all adds up, doesn't it?

Posted by: whatmeregister | June 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Big deal, he went hiking. Good for him. The state managed to survive for five days didn't it?

Anybody who complains about this is just playing politics.

==

Wrong.

He is a man with significant responsibilities, and to vanish without leaving a way to contact him is completely irresponsible.

Try taking a couple of days off work without letting anyone know where you are or when you'll be back and you'll return to find you don't have a job anymore.

Nothing wrong with hiking (if indeed that's where he went, which I doubt), but it's seriously amiss for someone as vital to his state's business to just vanish.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@Zouk - Which one? :-)

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 23, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

This loser wants to be president. What a joke.

Posted by: truth1 | June 23, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Gov. Mark Sanford has spent a good part of South Carolina's past legislative session railing against, and even actively turning down, portions of Barack Obama's stimulus package. And when the session ended with Sanford losing his fight to reject $700 million in federal stimulus cash, he abruptly disappeared. Few people knew where he went.

Several days later, it was revealed that the 2012 presidential hopeful was in the midst of a mind-clearing jaunt through the Appalachian Trail, hoping to do some writing after a stressful few months. But even removed from South Carolina politics, the governor couldn't escape the stimulus.

The economic recovery package enacted by Obama includes money that will help improve the trail on which Sanford has been hiking."

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

According to the Columbia, SC grapevine: Sanford disappeared to "gather himself" for the storm that is about to break over an alleged extramarital affair.

Posted by: jsmith021961 | June 23, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Big deal, he went hiking. Good for him. The state managed to survive for five days didn't it?

Anybody who complains about this is just playing politics.

Posted by: alstl | June 23, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Are you sure she did that? None of the stories I read mentioned that detail. "

No, that's why I said "under the impression." I swear I read something about that last night, but I could have been mistaken.

Posted by: VTDuffman | June 23, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Jenny Sanford did NOT file a "missing person" report.

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | June 23, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I always give pro-lifers the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

vtduffman writes
"I was under the impression that this wasn't even really a story until Gov. Sanford's wife actually reported him missing to the Police on Father's Day."


Are you sure she did that? None of the stories I read mentioned that detail. They all quote her as saying "I'm not concerned." That doesn't sound like a comment someone would make who'd reported him missing.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 23, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

As a resident of South Carolina I read your article with a sense of sadness and disappointment. I really had hoped he had disappeared, never to be seen again. Not through acts of violence - just disappeared. A new Judge Crater if you will.

On the other hand many South Carolinians wanted him back. Where else could they find a governor who would reject money for school children and the next day sign a bill letting people bring guns onto school property?

This state has so much potential, how did it get so screwed up? From the Civil War through Reconstruction right through to the Civil Rights struggle of the 60s and 70s - even now. What a sad state of affairs.

Posted by: amsteingold | June 23, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

BTW: Rush is back tomorrow as well.

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder how much of this has been exagerated by the media. He could have said "I'm going hiking, but I don't want that publicized. See you next week." Media asks "where is he?" Family says "don't know." Media cuts the answer short because that's a better story than "he went hiking, but didn't say where."

---

I was under the impression that this wasn't even really a story until Gov. Sanford's wife actually reported him missing to the Police on Father's Day.

Posted by: VTDuffman | June 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"the head of police in the state declared him missing. It isn't a small thing. It was no doubt handled badly, but I think we will see that there's more to it."


There may be more to the story. We can leap to conclusions or give the man the benefit of the doubt.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

merrylees writes
"The governor was writing while hiking the Applachian Trail in oppressive heat."

In my experience it is much cooler along the trail than in the lowlands below. Forests are generally cooler than cities. Mountain tops catch breezes that do not reach the flats.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, the head of police in the state declared him missing. It isn't a small thing. It was no doubt handled badly, but I think we will see that there's more to it.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

OK, where is Hillary Clinton? I know she broke her elbow on the way to the White House; but, I want hear her take on Iran.

Posted by: Mindboggle | June 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse


"(By the way, has anyone seen Rush for 5 days? Very suspicious!)"

I've decided the way that man is going to die is by collapsing into his own gravitational field."

His density will eventually create a black hole which will suck the entire alternative rightwing universe of anti-matter into it, and then it will collapse and disappear, leaving a sane world in its place.

Posted by: drindl | June 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

VTDuffman writes
"When was the last time you disappeared for days on end without telling your family where you were going? I don't know about Gov. Sanford, but I care about my family more than that."

I wonder how much of this has been exagerated by the media. He could have said "I'm going hiking, but I don't want that publicized. See you next week." Media asks "where is he?" Family says "don't know." Media cuts the answer short because that's a better story than "he went hiking, but didn't say where."

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"My wife and I once celebrated our wedding anniversary on the Queen Mary (not knowing in advance it was "Gay Day")."

---

So you do have a wife?

She would be fine with you disappearing for several days and not telling her where you are?

Posted by: VTDuffman | June 23, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

So much for the disappearing act! The stars of the GOP seem to be dwindling: Palin - legal woes; Jindal - 1st primetime appearance a flop; Ensign - blackmailed by extramarital encounters and now Sanford: he is recuperating from a failed attempt to block stimulus money. Presidents are made of sterner stuff; possibly teflon!!!!

Posted by: cessnockja | June 23, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The governor was writing while hiking the Applachian Trail in oppressive heat. Plus his cell phone was hanging out in Atlanta, nowhere near the Applachian trailhead. Governors go on vacation all the time, although never separately from their cell phones. Wife is unconcerned about "writing retreat." Wife and kids on Father's day were probably celebrating not having to pretend. State legislature and Lt. Governor are Republican, yet even they find the Governor to be odd. Please anyone who saw the Governor on the Applachian Trail or with his cell phone in Atlanta please write in to WaPo.

Posted by: merrylees | June 23, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

ddawd writes
"He was taken aback by how much interest his trip has gotten? Um, I don't think it was the trip itself so much as his vanishing off the planet."


The Gov's error was in poorly managing expectations. The story became a story because he didn't have his staff prepped with a ready answer - and no provisions in place to hand power to the Lt Gov should it have been necessary (as unlikely as that possibility might seem). I think he knows know that, if he wanted to keep his trip low profile, he should have left his staff with a statement ready that said "the Governor is enjoying some off to recuperate and will return on Tues, June 23rd."

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 23, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

chall1:

Walt Whitman wrote on hikes.

JJames081:

My wife and I once celebrated our wedding anniversary on the Queen Mary (not knowing in advance it was "Gay Day").

FairlingtonBlade:

We"ll have to agree to disagree.

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Why do you believe his staff, Chris? Has any independent source verified that he's back, or are you just quoting whatever they say?

With a story as odd as this one, why would you do that?

Posted by: rovner | June 23, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The easy way to check is to see if he lost weight. This time of year the AT is real hot and humid. AND hopefully his 'trail hiking buddy' was a girl over the age of 18!
Otherwise just another political nutcase.

Posted by: KBlit | June 23, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

THIS is GOP hypocritical TRADITION. Chalk this on the same column as all the other GOP creeps (Ensign, Vidder, Craig, Foley ...) Betcha that he wasn’t out there hiking in the buff, he’s just ‘leering’, on Father’s Day, w/o the wife, eg ‘typical’ closeted GOP.

Posted by: JJames081 | June 23, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Other great political disappearing acts? I'd say President Bush...he was never really here.

Posted by: soonerthought | June 23, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Only a matter of time before the accusations of being clinton-like emerge.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 23, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Do you have a family, Jake?"

Hahaha, you need to go and read up on his attitudes towards women.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 23, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"Come on, FairlingtonBlade, you at least have to admit this is a big non-story. Gov. Sanford DID tell people where he was going. No state emergency happened."

Do you have a family, Jake?

When was the last time you disappeared for days on end without telling your family where you were going? I don't know about Gov. Sanford, but I care about my family more than that.

Posted by: VTDuffman | June 23, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@JakeD - Middling story. It's no big deal that he took a few days to decompress and I think it's a great deal he decided to hike part of the AT. Hoping to do a bit of that once my kids are older.

It is inexcusable that he was out of contact. What if there had been a major emergency in SC while he was out of contact? We just had a train crash here in DC. Unless I'm mistaken, he's the one who is commander of the National Guard of his state. What happens if he can't be reached?

Now, you might argue chain of command. The problem there is that the Lt. Governor, with whom he had feuded, wasn't merely not informed, he was misinformed. All he had to do was (1) inform the Lt.Gov. and (2) make sure that he had means of communication at all times.

On one level, it's a quirky decision to take off for a few days. I did that once while writing my thesis (couldn't take it anymore and went to spend a few days with a friend). As the head of the state government, he blew it.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 23, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Must be a slow day for news.

Posted by: win_harrington | June 23, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Self-righteous South Carolina Governor Sanford disappears to hike Appalachian Trail on Naked Hiking Day! I suppose he was “drop in on” men’s stalls throughout the Trail! And who was manning the SC state affairs during this tomfoolery, NO ONE.

Another hypocrite GOP – Gregg, Ensign, Vitter, etc. Nothing new.

Posted by: JJames081 | June 23, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Um, yeah, right -- "hiking". Not "writing" like his wife intimated? What was that about his mobile phone being spotted in Atlanta? The most direct route from Columbia to even the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail does not exactly take you through Atlanta. Near, perhaps, but not there.

Posted by: chall11 | June 23, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"(By the way, has anyone seen Rush for 5 days? Very suspicious!)"

I've decided the way that man is going to die is by collapsing into his own gravitational field.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 23, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Come on, FairlingtonBlade, you at least have to admit this is a big non-story. Gov. Sanford DID tell people where he was going. No state emergency happened.

Posted by: JakeD | June 23, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was at a remote mountain cabin with no e-mail access when President McKinley was fatally shot. Aides had to hike in to bring him the news.

Alas -- though Sanford's chief of staff describes him as an outdoorsman, he isn't of the same caliber as TR. Too bad none of the current GOP office-holders have anything remotely like TR's conservation ethic.

Posted by: michaelr2 | June 23, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

He was taken aback by how much interest his trip has gotten? Um, I don't think it was the trip itself so much as his vanishing off the planet.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 23, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

You're right, Zouk. Obama clearly should not have gone to see his dying grandmother who raised him. Wonder what you would have had to say about that had he not gone. Then again, I've yet to hear el Rushbo apologize for claiming the visit had something to do with fixing his mythical birth certificate.

(By the way, has anyone seen Rush for 5 days? Very suspicious!)

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 23, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I would have had to put in a leave slip, and I'm unimportant...

Posted by: Evenfoolsarerightsometimes | June 23, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Right. Sanford was "hiking," and Craig had a "wide stance," and Vitter was "counseling troubled female constituents," and Foley was "mentoring pages."

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 23, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Maybe not outright disappearance, but a similar effect occurred after Katrina when Bush failed to respond in depth to the crisis at hand, spending most of the time promoting policies.

Seems that when you're a politician, your ability to take a really hands-off vacation is really suspended. That may be as it should be, but this Lt. Gov seems less genuinely worried than trying to make a political score.

Posted by: sfcpoll | June 23, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

How about when the Iranian revolution stated and Obambi dissappeared underground, only surfacing for ice cream. then there was the time the economy looked to be tanking just before the election. Obimbo hid his deer in the headlights look, went to Hawaii and declared that they could call him if they needed him.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 23, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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