By Jake Levy, SCRN
“I apologize for letting you down.”
Those were the first words a seemingly humbled Gov. Mark Sanford said to an auditorium full of Young Republicans at the University of South Carolina last week. The Governor spoke for 45 minutes before fielding a wide array of questions from students. The governor paced back and forth, interacting with students, attempting to put them at ease.
All Governor Sanford asked of the students was that they take one aspect of state politics –whether it be representation, education, etc. –and discuss it with their friends and family. Sanford says he wants to spread Republican views as widely as possible, as explained in a one-on-one interview with Jake Levy after his lecture.
I was assigned to cover the lecture as a student-reporter for SCRN. During the lecture I was sitting in the front row when the Governor came to me and asked, “Do you have a dollar I could borrow?” I lent him the dollar, on the condition that it was returned, and he used that dollar to illustrate how important it is that each county get their fair share of the money coming into South Carolina,. Sanford said that each member of the General Assembly is responsible for fighting for that money.
“You know this dollar is going to get spent, that’s the only guarantee,” he said. “Your job as a member (representing), say, Greenville, is to make sure that this dollar gets sent back to Greenville.”
The students did not hold back when asking questions. They asked about the governor’s political views, how he felt about the president, even if he had talked to the president about the stimulus package.
“Yes, I did,” he said. “I said what I had to say, he said what he had to say, and that was that.”
One student asked what the future held for Governor Sanford. He responded simply, “I don’t have a clue, and I want you to think about this in terms of your lives.”
The Governor stressed to, “live in the day you’re in, you can’t do anything about yesterday. And tomorrow you may or may not have, and you sure don’t know what’s in it.”
One attendee stood up to ask a question and formally addressed the governor. Sanford, wearing a plaid button down and khakis, smiled. Then before responding to the question said, “You can sit down, we’re comfortable here.”