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Mark Sanford: A new political theory that necessity was the scandalous mother of

December 7, 2010 |  4:48 pm

In his final few weeks as governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford is looking back on those disastrous several days of mid-2009 that he did not spend hiking the Appalachian Trail.Republican South Carolina governor Mark Sanford

Sanford was, as the Republican politician later admitted, doing other things in South America with a dear, dear Argentinian friend who had become his mistress.

Thus, endeth the rising star chapter of the married Bible Belt father who had been building impressive conservative credentials resisting some of President Obama's stimulus spending in one of the early GOP primary states come 2012. Not to mention the endeth of the Sanford marriage.

Now about to leave the state's chief executive's office to its first female governor, Republican state legislator Nikki Haley, Sanford has decided that those cringe-inducing days were actually good for South Carolina.

How's that? someone might ask.

Here's how, Sanford explains to WISTV:

"I think that a lot of people at time would push against certain things based on their fear that my political star was climbing. If they did that, it would help me to get to wherever it was they thought I was going. What became abundantly clear was the supposed stars on the rainbow weren't there and I think we were able to debate the issue at hand. That I was less the issue, and the issue was more the issue.

The already-ex-husband-and-about-to-be-ex-governor currently has a 55% approval rating and adds a bit of self-serving storytelling:

There's an amazing level of grace in this state. Because what I've seen as I've moved around is people saying, 'look, you messed up. We don't like what you did, but I very much appreciate what you've done in terms of watching out for our pocketbook, or wallet, or grow economic opportunity in this state, reform the way things are done in Columbia and for that reason, I'm going to judge you for the whole of your eight years, rather than one single day.'

Sanford says come turnover day, January 12, he plans to finally go naked jogging on the Appalachian Trail. No, not at all. He says he has no plans other than to borrow his son's pickup truck and drive toward the ocean.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: David Goldman / Associated Press