Guest-hosting Lou Dobbs’ show last night, CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim asked Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) to explain why he rejected $700 million in stimulus funding “meant for school funding and public safety.” Sanford claimed turning down the money would allow South Carolina to become “more competitive economically going forward.” Rather than challenging any of Sanford’s dubious justifications or noting the fact that the governor is now attempting to pay off the state debt largely created by the disastrous tax cuts he championed, Pilgrim “commended” Sanford for his “responsible position” and said he defended his stance “well”:
SANFORD: [W]hat we looked at was if you spend every dime of this thing, we’re not going to make some reforms that are absolutely essential to South Carolina becoming more competitive going forward. And I could give you a laundry list of other reasons why we laid out the position that we did. [...]
PILGRIM: This is such a hard position to take, such a responsible position to take. … Well, we commend you for the tough position you’ve taken and you defend it well.
Sanford’s decision to partially reject the stimulus funding has put thousands of teacher and other public servant jobs at risk. The “mixed” reaction to Sanford’s decision has resulted in public protests, criticism from the state legislature, a public rebuke from President Obama, and a lawsuit by an 18-year-old high-school student.