POLITICS

Sanford-Colbert Busch Debate: Former South Carolina Governor 'Didn't Hear' Affair Jab

04/29/2013 09:00 pm ET

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) deflected questions about his extramarital affair Monday in a much-hyped debate with Elizabeth Colbert Busch, his Democratic opponent in a May 7 special election that will send one to Congress.

While answering a question about spending, Colbert Busch made a jab at Sanford's assignations to Argentina while serving as governor. "When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn't mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose," she said during the pair's only debate.

The crowd applauded and booed.

"She went there, Gov. Sanford," said the moderator.

"I couldn't hear what she said," Sanford responded. "Repeat it, I didn't hear it."

"Answer the question," Colbert Busch said.

"What was the question?" Sanford asked, and then proceeded to talk about sequestration.

Sanford admitted to lying to cover up an affair in 2009 after no one could locate him for four days. While he did not resign, the affair undid any hope of a 2012 presidential campaign. Whether voters can forgive him for the scandal is a central hurdle to his comeback bid.

Later in the debate, Sanford used jujitsu in answering a question about why he voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton and for the Defense of Marriage Act -- votes that suggest sexual hypocrisy. "I would reverse the question to you and I would say this -- do you think that President Clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life?"

It wasn't the only across-the-aisle comparison made during the debate. Colbert Busch, sister of Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert, quoted former Vice President Dick Cheney in explaining why she supports gay marriage.

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