Colbert Busch, Sanford Brawl in Feisty Debate

Ex-gov's affair gets a mention in verbal slugfest

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 30, 2013 2:50 AM CDT | Updated Apr 30, 2013 5:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mark Sanford clashed with Elizabeth Colbert Busch last night in the pair's only debate in their race for a South Carolina congressional seat—and any hope the former governor may have had that his "Appalachian Trail" affair wouldn't be mentioned vanished 25 minutes into the slugfest. "When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn’t mean you take the money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose," Colbert Busch told the Republican, referring to his use of state funds to visit his mistress in Argentina, Politico reports.

"You voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and to impeach President Clinton for an extramarital affair," a moderator later asked him. "Would you vote those ways again?” “I would reverse the question to you," Sanford replied. "Do you think that President Clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life?" Colbert Busch, who has a healthy lead in the polls, spent the debate on the attack, the New York Times reports, but Sanford hit back often, repeatedly trying to link his opponent to Nancy Pelosi—though he didn't bring his cardboard Pelosi debating partner. "Nobody tells me what to do except the people of South Carolina’s 1st District," Colbert Busch responded after one attack. A super PAC is also taking Sanford to task over the affair in a new attack ad.

Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch, left, looks at former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford as she answers a question during the debate.
Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch, left, looks at former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford as she answers a question during the debate.   (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford reacts during the debate.
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford reacts during the debate.   (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
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