Pawlenty rips Sanford, praises South Carolina's first lady


Gov. Tim Pawlenty had some harsh words this weekend for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, the Republican that admitted to an affair last week. Pawlenty was one of the first Republicans to openly address the issue and discuss the repercussions for the party.

Pawlenty talked to reporters in Arkansas after speaking at the state Republican Party's annual governor's dinner in Little Rock.

While he wasn't thrilled by Sanford's actions, he said it shouldn't be viewed in political terms:

Pawlenty told reporters Friday night that Sanford's affair is an example of family issues that aren't limited to one political party.

"Those kinds of sad challenges are not limited to somebody being a Republican or a Democrat or an independent or a Green Party person," Pawlenty said. "They sadly happen to all kinds of people, so I don't see what happened to him in partisan terms, and nor should anyone else."

Pawlenty said it should be up to the state's resident and the governor to decide if he should resign because of the affair. Even though he said it wasn't a "Republican" thing, it still damages the party, he said on CNN this weekend.
"It's hard to quantify [the damage he has done]... But clearly there has been damage. Any time you have leading figures who are engaged in behavior that's sad and troubling and hypocritical other people are going to look at that and say, 'Hmmm, they don't walk the walk. And so the words and the actions don't ring true."
But he sure is proud of the governor's wife, Jenny Sanford, for not standing by her man. During his CNN interview, he said:
"I'm proud of Jenny for her strength and her commitment to her family and keeping that family together and frankly, I was glad to see her not standing at the press conference like many others have -- to kind of charge her own path, saying, 'Look I'm willing to forgive him but I'm not going to stand there and condone this in any way."
And if Pawlenty was cheating? Washington Post's Howard Kurtz said we would know about it... from his wife.

From Kurtz's Twitter: "Tim Pawlenty in CNN green rm tells me if he did what Sanford did, his wife promised to call reporters as she threw his things out of house." Check out the CNN video interview here: