Mark Sanford Is Bungling The Response To The “He’s Missing” Story

Yesterday, when the “Mark Sanford is Missing” story hit Drudge, I thought it was tremendously unfair to Sanford. Couldn’t the guy take a four day week-end without people proclaiming he is “missing?”

Moreover, as Redstate has noted, the story isn’t nearly as troubling when you know all the facts,

First, we need to be clear on the facts — not the media speculation:

* Sanford did tell his staff and family where he was going.
* Because he was traveling without a security detail, it was in his best interests that no one knew he was gone.
* His political enemies — Republicans at that — ginned up the media story.
* When confronted by a pestering media, things went downhill.
* Again though, at all times there was no doubt that Sanford’s staff and family knew where he was.

All that is true, but Sanford is really botching the response to this.

First of all, there are screaming headlines that proclaim “Sanford is missing” and he hasn’t called in to any friendly radio shows? He hasn’t put out any pictures of him out hiking on the Appalachian Trail? Those are the sort of things that put people’s minds at ease. “Oh, there’s the governor standing next to a tree! Maybe we should go hike the Appalachian Trail for our next vacation.”

However, there has been none of that. Moreover, Sanford’s not coming back until Wednesday? Why in the world, when there are stories out there saying “he’s missing,” is he going to be waiting until Wednesday to come back? It just keeps the story in the news another day and it makes people more suspicious.

Now, after another day’s worth of stories, Sanford’s going to get back on Wednesday and there will be reporters rushing to take pictures of him to verify he’s alive. There’s another round of stories.

Then, because he has let this drag on too long, people are going to smell a rat. That means reporters are going to verify every detail of where he has been and who he has been with, because they’re going to be thinking, “There’s something that’s just not right here.”

How different it could have been if Sanford had effectively killed the story by putting out some pics last night and getting back in the office today. That mistake may end up turning a minor incident everyone would have quickly forgotten about into a story that people will still remember in 2012 — and that’s even if Sanford wasn’t doing anything but writing and hiking up and down the Appalachian Trail.

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