As one of the moderators of Monday night’s South Carolina congressional debate between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch put it, “She went there.” While discussing sequestration, Colbert Busch said, “When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting taxpayers it doesn’t mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose.” Sanford could have responded by noting that law enforcement officials concluded that he didn’t improperly use state money to visit his Argentinian mistress. (Though the South Carolina Ethics Commission disagreed, and fined him $74,000.)* Instead, he responded, “I couldn’t hear what she said … Can you repeat it? I didn’t hear it, I’m sorry,” then pivoted back to sequestration. Anthony Weiner is kicking himself for not coming up with the selective deafness strategy.
* Edited to clarify that while the state ethics commission found that Sanford broke the law, he did not face any criminal charges. He insisted when paying the fine that, “the costs of my actions never extended to the taxpayer.”