Sanford Still Fights Stimulus Plan, Tears in His Eyes

SC Guv sticks to his guns over rejecting stimulus money
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2009 5:28 PM CDT
South Carolina Gov, Mark Sanford is greeted by John's Island, SC firefighters, brothers, Matt Bailey and Chris Bailey, in front of their mother's home which was destroyed by a wildfire.   (AP Photo/Alice Keeney)
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(Newser) – Angry state legislators and picketing teachers still haven't swayed Mark Sanford. The conservative governor of South Carolina is ignoring opponents and his dipping approval rating, now at 40%, because he's wary of federal stimulus dollars. But when a lone security guard gives his support, Sanford's strained emotions begin to show. "I'm gonna lose it here," he says, a tear running down his cheek.

The Republican has only 20 months left in his second, final term—mandated by limits—which may explain his principled stand: He wants SC to match $700 million to help pay down debt. But he insists he's not "on a political jihad." Fueled by his father's Depression-era values, Sanford doesn't want South Carolina to be addicted to dollars it hasn't earned. "We can't spend our way out of a problem that was caused by too much spending," he insists.