Gov. Mark Sanford typically packed more than a dozen events into his daily schedule when he took office in 2003 -- sometimes jumping from meetings about tort reform, cutting state income taxes and saving Medicaid money to talks about companies bringing jobs to South Carolina and, then, posing for a quick photo with a Girl Scout troop or friend.
Sanford was a man on a mission: To change South Carolina.
A year later, Sanford still was on that mission, with an average of almost nine scheduled staff meetings a week as he sought to rally support for his vision of a smaller state government administered by a more powerful governor.
Then, critics say and the governor's own calendar shows, the Republican governor -- re-elected to a second term -- lost interest.
Blame frustration, as allies do.
Blame ambition, as critics do.
Blame an unengaged politician, as one high-ranking Democrat does.
Other aides to former South Carolina governors say Sanford's calendar shows a governor who had too little to do. That loose scheduling allowed Sanford to disappear to the Argentine affair that has dominated state politics and government since June and still could lead to his removal from office.
The portrait that emerges from Sanford's calendar -- his office's official record of his activities -- is one of a clear second-term focus elsewhere, not on South Carolina.
By this year, staff meetings -- almost nine a week in 2004 -- had dwindled to just more than four a week, according to an analysis of Sanford's calendar by The State. Some of Sanford's public outreach, such as holding office hours in the far corners of the state, also had fallen by the wayside.
Instead, Sanford's second-term calendar has been dominated by media interviews -- about his opposition to the Obama administration's stimulus spending and his possible 2012 presidential ambitions.
At its fevered peak -- in March and April of this year -- Sanford had no state business but media interviews for eight days. Most weeks Sanford conducted more than a dozen interviews.
Today, Sanford's political career is in tatters, thanks to his affair and subsequent questions about his spending and use of state resources. Instead of running for president, the embattled governor -- the subject of a State Ethics Commission investigation and threatened with impeachment -- is battling to serve out the remaining 14 months of his final term.
What went wrong?
Sanford's calendar offers a window of insight.
Sanford declined an interview for this story. However, in a written statement, spokesman Ben Fox defended his boss.
Sanford had to spend more time on national political interviews, for example, in his second term, said Fox.
That was because Sanford had a national role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association -- a position he resigned in June, after admitting an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman.
Until then, Sanford was the "de facto spokesman in the nation representing opposition to the so-called stimulus," Fox said.
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