Mark Sanford Releases the Phone Numbers of People Who Called Him, After He Gave Out His Number

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 25 2013 3:59 PM

Mark Sanford Releases the Phone Numbers of People Who Called Him, After He Gave Out His Number

Last week, as the surprisingly devastating scandal erupted over his visit to his ex-wife's house, Mark Sanford put out a full-page newspaper ad explaining himself. "It's been a rough week," he wrote, next to a selfie. "I'd really appreciate you reading this." Anyone who actually did so was invited to "call me at the campaign office at 843-764-9188, or even my cell" -- and there followed his actual cell phone number.

The House Majority PAC, which has been spending on behalf of Sanford's Democratic opponent, took this sort of needlessly far, and reprinted the cell number in a fundraising email. "Let's take him up on his offer!" wrote the PAC's Andy Stone. "Give him a call and ask why he spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury travel!"

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Sanford has responded in kind, by screencapping the calls -- some of which he didn't even decline! -- and revealing to the world who went for the prank.

Why'd he do it? "To show that Elizabeth Colbert Busch would be anything but an independent voice," says campaign spokesman Joel Sawyer. "Look, if Pelosi and Co. are going to bat this hard for Colbert Busch, there ain't going to be anything 'independent' about her. We're putting it out there to illustrate just how interested Pelosi's allies are in getting Colbert Busch elected."

In unrelated news, the Cook Political Report has downgraded Republican chances of holding the seat, ranking it "lean Dem."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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