WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is launching a TV ad ripping Republican Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina for turning down some of the federal stimulus money. But Sanford might be able to fire back with help from one of the Democratic Party's own former chairmen.
"South Carolina is facing tough times, but Governor Sanford is playing politics instead of doing what's right," says the new ad. "Turning down millions in recovery act funds, putting politics ahead of health care, jobs and schools."
The 30-second ad is scheduled to start appearing next week on cable television in Columbia, S. C., and to run for at least a week.
It's the first ad from the DNC since President Barack Obama took office and took control of the party machinery. It targets a prominent Republican often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012.
But one prominent Democrat said this week that he understands why Sanford and some other governors would turn down some of the federal stimulus money.
Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, who chaired the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 campaign, told reporters this week that some of the federal money is destined to help states pay unemployment benefits.
He said the federal legislation requires a commitment to expand unemployment compensation to cover part-time workers. For states such as Pennsylvania that already do that, he said, the requirement poses no problem. But for states that do not, it would impose an additional cost that they would have to assume once the stimulus money runs out.
"I can understand governors not doing that," he said.
Sanford aides noted that he also objected to the debt in the huge stimulus bill.
"Gov. Sanford continues to believe that problems created by too much debt will never be solved by more debt," said Sanford communications director Joel Sawyer.
"It's time to put the partisan politics aside and for people who supported this stimulus legislation to start shooting straight with taxpayers on who is paying the bill for all of this spending. This so-called 'stimulus' represents a federal predatory loan, the cost of which will be borne by future generations who will never have a chance to vote from office the very people who are saddling them with unprecedented spending and guaranteed future tax increases."
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