South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's trips to South America and the "Appalachian Trail" seem to be sucking the wind out of Republican efforts to make a fuss about Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's travel as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Sanford made an undisclosed trip to Argentina over the weekend and no one knew where he was for a number of days - including his wife and high-level staffers. At one point staff said he was hiking in the mountains to get some solitude, but then he touched down on an international flight in Atlanta.
Obviously Sanford's been getting plenty of national attention with just about every newspaper and TV station wondering about the S.C. governor's whereabouts.
Sanford just lost a big battle on President Barack Obama's federal stimulus funding - and then he disappeared. Here he is sitting down with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, and he's something of a laidback character. Take a look at the guy - he likes to "re-charge the batteries."
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Better Know a Governor - Mark Sanford|
But it's interesting that the Sanford brouhaha popped up just as Virginia Republicans were putting pressure on Kaine to disclose his travel schedule as the head of the DNC. The state GOP is right to take on Kaine on his nationwide barnstorming for the DNC, because he is still running the state and the partisan job should not get in the way.
And the GOP managed to get Kaine to on the record about the trips and to ask the DNC to pay for the security detail of state police troopers who protect him on his trips.
Virginia GOP chairman Pat Mullins issued a statement that Republicans still want to know more about Kaine's schedule. Mullins offered up the same number that Kaine did for Virginians who want to make sure the executive mansion is up and running.
“It’s good to know that the people of Virginia won’t be footing the bill for his bodyguards when he goes to Florida on political junkets,” said Mullins. “We’ve also asked where Tim Kaine is and where he’s been, but he hasn’t answered those questions yet. Now that he’s said he’ll tell the people about his travel schedule, maybe he’ll actually do it. He said if people ask, he’ll tell them. Well, I suggest people call his office and ask where he is. That number is (804) 786-2211. Ask for the Governor. See if he’s in.”
But for the Virginia GOP - the where's Waldo game definitely commuted south at least for the next few weeks.