South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will return to the state tomorrow after a hike along the Appalachian Trail turned into headlines suggesting he had disappeared. Sanford communications director Joel Sawyer told reporters, “It would be fair to say the governor was somewhat taken aback by all of the interest this trip has gotten.”
The political repercussions for Sanford, a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, will outlast the trip. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer feels he was misled by Sanford’s staff. Sanford’s political opponents are presenting this bizarre incident as an example of the governor going AWOL. I think Sanford should try to turn this around by challenging other politicians to go away and leave us alone for a while.