Current Weather
The Spy FM

Palmetto Faceoff: Sanford, Colbert Busch In Spirited Debate

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
April 29, 2013

Republican Mark Sanford’s bid to salvage a political career and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s effort to start one collided in a vigorous debate Monday just eight days before South Carolina voters decide who to send to Washington.

The fast-paced hour at The Citadel in Charleston marked the first, and only, face-to-face meeting of the candidates. They are locked in a battle to fill the congressional seat left vacant when Republican Tim Scott was tapped to fill a Senate seat vacated by Jim DeMint.

Sanford, the former congressman and South Carolina governor, sought mightily to link Colbert Busch with Democrats – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – who have helped fund her campaign.

Colbert Busch, a sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who has helped her raise campaign money, reported raising nearly $875,000 in the past two months; Sanford, whose political career was derailed in 2009 by an extramarital affair exposed during a secret trip to Argentina to visit his mistress, has struggled to fund his campaign after the National Republican Congressional Committee declined to support him after public revelations that his ex-wife had accused him of trespassing.

And Colbert Busch, who alluded at one point to Sanford’s secret South American sojourn (Sanford said he “didn’t hear what she said,”), nicked Sanford repeatedly for what she characterized as his failure to support improvements to the Port of Charleston, an intensely local issue; she also sought to promote her nearly three-decade-long business career.

Colbert Busch characterized herself as a “tough, independent businesswoman.” Sanford, who said his 2009 experience brought him a “greater level of humility,” defined himself as a government spending hawk with top ratings from anti-tax groups.

In addition to the natural drama of the disgraced Sanford seeking redemption, and the sister of a famous comedian seeking a Washington address, the debate underscored the candidates’ differences.

– Colbert Busch said she supports the bipartisan immigration bill being considered by the Senate, mentioning several times that it’s also endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; she supports expanded background checks for gun purchasers; she supports full equality for gay and lesbian Americans; and legalized abortion.

She characterized Obamacare as “extremely expensive,” and in need of “an enormous fix,” and pledged to take a 10 percent pay cut if elected.

– Sanford said he would have voted against gun legislation that expanded background checks; asserted that gay marriage laws should be decided by the states; and said an immigration overhaul must ensure border security before “amnesty.”

He also proposed privatizing Social Security.

And about Colbert Busch’s criticism of his failure while a congressman to support federal funding for improvements to the local port?

Sanford said: “I was against earmarks before being against earmarks was cool.” And he questioned why Colbert Busch contributed $500 to his run for governor after his opposition to the funding.

Colbert Busch urged voters to look to the future. Sanford asked, obliquely, in answer to a question about his vote to impeach President Clinton for his affair, that he not be condemned for the rest of his life for one mistake.

Polls suggest that voters in the staunchly Republican district (President Obama got only 40 percent of the vote there last year) may not be inclined on May 7 to give Sanford another chance. But it won’t be because of Monday’s debate, which, while lively, did little to damage or enhance either candidate. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center