Huckabee: ‘Remains to Be Seen’ Whether Sanford Can Stay in Office; ‘Broken Trust’ With People

ABC News’ Stu Chamberlain and Rick Klein report:

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee today said he’s not sure whether it’s tenable for Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., to stay in office, given his admission yesterday that he was engaged in an extra-marital affair during an unexplained absence from the state.

“What seemed like a very serious political blunder by leaving the state, being completely out of touch with his staff, family and the state’s emergency management team, and failing to notify the lieutenant governor, suddenly became a far more serious issue that involved intentional deception with his wife, friends, employees, and constituents,” Huckabee, R-Ark., said on ABC Radio’s “The Huckabee Report” this morning.

“It remains to be seen if he can stay in office to finish his term, but even more important than keeping his temporary title of governor, is working to keep his permanent and more-important title of husband and father,” Huckabee said.

“My own wife put it simply: for me to disappear and not tell her, and do it on Father’s Day, would mean there wouldn’t be enough left of me to hold a press conference. And that was before the admission of the other woman.”

Huckabee, who ran for president in 2008 and – like Sanford – is discussed as a potential national candidate in the future, said there’s now a “broken trust” between Sanford and his constituents.

“We’re reminded that even good people do bad things, and smart people do dumb things. What Mark did was bad and dumb. I won’t stop being his friend, but I won’t pretend that what he did was okay, ’cause it wasn’t. What he did to his wife and four sons is between them. But the broken trust with the people of South Carolina will be public and painful, and he might decide to spare his family and himself and the people by stepping down, not because of his personal behavior, but for putting his personal behavior above the responsibility for being available to govern and lead in the event of a crisis.”

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