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Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford Come Out Swinging in Debate

Patch sponsored the only debate between the former South Carolina governor and Stephen Colbert's sister Monday night at the Citadel. Both sides drew blood.

In a raucous debate in front of an animated crowd of South Carolinians, former S.C.

Gov. Mark Sanford and maritime executive Elizabeth Colbert Busch sparred over issues of immigration, debt, health care, gay marriage and local employment.  

Watch the full replay of the debate here.

Colbert Busch came into the evening ahead in the polls, and the consensus was that this was perhaps Sanford’s last, best chance to change the dynamics of the race for South Carolina’s first congressional district. As such, Sanford came out on the attack, and Colbert Busch worked to parry him and counterattack throughout the night.

With an apparently friendly audience on her side, she seemed to weather Sanford’s attacks throughout the evening. When Sanford tried to embarrass her by pointing out that she had donated to his gubernatorial campaign, Colbert Busch said she was guilty of listening to Sanford’s campaign promises about supporting maritime businesses, and that “You didn’t tell the truth. You did the opposite.”

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Colbert Busch fought back. In what may have been a novel attempt to avoid an embarrassing discussion of his extramarital affairs and “disappearance” during this term as governor, Sanford claimed he didn’t hear Colbert Busch when she referenced the scandal.

Colbert Busch cast herself as a self-made woman who “started off making $6 an hour,” but climbed her way up the corporate ladder to be a successful executive. While she said Obamacare was greatly flawed, she cheered the fact that under the legislation, “You can’t charge a woman more based on gender.”

For his part, Sanford linked himself to a range of conservative causes: Ronald Reagan, the budget-slashing congressional class of 1994 of which he was a part, and the Cato institute. And he tried to link Colbert-Busch to Obamacare, federal stimulus money and, most frequently, Nancy Pelosi.

On immigration, the two candidates argued to a standstill about the bill that South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham and seven other senators have supported. Sanford said he “would not vote for the bill in its present form.” Colbert Busch said she would support it, because, “We need tough, fair immigration form. You pay your taxes, you pay your fines, and you got the back of the line for a path to citizenship.”

In a striking display of how much the ground has shifted on the debate around gay rights, Sanford worked to disassociate himself from his vote for the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s, while Colbert Busch celebrated gay marriage (and quoted Dick Cheney) in calling it “a civil rights issue.”

Both candidates promised to reach across the aisle in Washington, D.C. if elected. Sanford said the scandals that dogged him as Governor would allow him to return to D.C. more humble. He said he was worried about the direction of the country if drastic spending changes weren’t made.

Colbert Busch promised to focus on the economy and take a pay cut as she was trying to get the nation’s “fiscal house in order” and sounded a hopefuly final note, announcing that “our best days are ahead of us.”

Ajay Jain May 04, 2013 at 07:02 AM
Watch the ONLY debate between Colbert and Sanford and vote! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpPy5u7EszM
Ajay Jain May 04, 2013 at 08:02 AM
Would you Watch Colbert and Sanford debate and decide who to vote! https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
Frank Mockery May 04, 2013 at 07:06 PM
As usual you've avoided answering the question,where do the divinely delusional draw the line as to unsuitable behavior ? Would you vote for a child molester or wife beater if he was a Republican who shared your political viewpoint,instead of a Democrat who's above reproach ? Anyone considering voting for Sanford should pray for guidance & anyone who inexplicably votes for him despite his numerous shortcomings should pray for forgiveness (whether this worked for him or not remains to be seen) !
Ajay Jain May 04, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Watch the ONLY debate between Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford and decide who to vote for! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpPy5u7EszM
Chris Winston May 06, 2013 at 03:14 PM
With polls opening in less than 24 hours, Patch wants to know: Why should Elizabeth Colbert Busch be the next congresswoman? http://charleston.patch.com/articles/speak-out-why-should-elizabeth-colbert-busch-be-the-next-congressman Or, why should Mark Sanford be the next congressman: http://goosecreek.patch.com/articles/speak-out-why-should-mark-sanford-be-the-next-congressman

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