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Sanford defends use of state aircraft

The South Carolina governor says he was trying to be a good father when he took taxpayer-funded trips to his children's sporting events. As for other personal trips, 'I've got a busy life.'

August 12, 2009|Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Tuesday justified his use of state planes for personal trips in which he often brought along his wife and four sons, saying his taxpayer-funded travel was no different than that of his predecessors.

"I've got a busy life, and I've tried as best I can -- within the context of the current mess-up that has been more than well chronicled and more than well talked about -- to be a reasonable father, while at the same time being a good governor," Sanford said in response to questions. "I can't tell you the number of sporting events I've missed of theirs."

An Associated Press investigation found that Sanford used state aircraft for personal and political trips, contrary to state law. Records showed that since he took office in 2003, the two-term Republican has taken trips on state aircraft to his children's sporting events, hair and dental appointments, and political party gatherings.

Sanford said the dentist appointment was scheduled after he chipped a tooth and was part of a trip to meet a television news director.

Sanford, 49, has been under increased scrutiny since admitting in June to having had a mistress in Argentina. He said Tuesday that he and his wife, who moved out of the governor's residence last week, were not divorcing.

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