If South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford plans on running for president in 2012, he's already shown how he will distinguish himself from Barack Obama: In contrast to Obama who is in danger of getting a wee bit overexposed with all sorts of television specials on NBC, ABC and CBS, Sanford is apparently in favor of taking the occasional "time out" where no one knows exactly where he is -- including his wife. She's not too worried; She knows he's off "writing something and wanted some space to get away from the kids." On Father's Day weekend. Right.
Sanford did give his staff a heads-up to let them know where he was, but that he wouldn't be easily found. Oh, and his police detail wasn't with him.
Now, it's usually a little bit difficult for elected officials to just step out for a few days -- away even from your family members. It opens up room for, shall we say, speculation that the politician is doing more than just, ahem, fishing. In fact, staff memers released a statement Monday night explaining that the governor was hiking the 2,200 mile long Appalachian trail.
That's especially true when another Republican looking at 2012 has recently been caught admitting to engaging in certain activities with a woman not his wife.
That's also especially true when you are the governor of a state with former governor/senator well-known for having a wandering eye.
Let's be clear: No one is saying that Sanford is doing anything either morally or ethically wrong. It's just somewhat, well, unusual, for a politician to just up and disappear. Furthermore, Sanford's former House colleague, Steve Largent (R-OK) might give some advice about not disappearing without letting staff know where to find you: Largent went hunting for a few days in September 2001. His staff couldn't locate him and he didn't learn about the 9/11 attacks until a couple of days later.
Oh, well, perhaps Sanford decided to take a page out of the book of this guy from Oregon:
A man reported missing by his wife last week was located Saturday. But he says he wasn't missing -- just following his wife's wishes to go away.
William Peterson told police he and his wife had an argument and she told him to get out. So, Peterson spent the week fishing and camping in Bend.
As things go, that's a slightly better explanation.
Not by much, but it is up there.