DeMint Not Ready to Force Sanford to Resign

Sen. Jim DeMint is concerned a Sanford resignation might be too much of a distraction for the state.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Now that he's had a couple of days to review the impact of Gov. Mark Sanford's affair and reconciliation with his wife, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint isn't pushing to have his friend kicked out of office. However, he said strongly in an interview that he is disappointed in the "conservative icon" who had been on several 2012 Republican presidential short lists.

"I'm going to try to call him today. I understood he had a good day with his wife yesterday," the senator said during an interview to discuss his upcoming book, Saving Freedom. "We've got to decide what's best for our state first right now. And I'm just very disappointed because Mark was somewhat of a conservative icon," said DeMint, himself a conservative leader in Washington.

Asked if the governor should step aside, DeMint said he's not ready to tackle that directly. But he seemed to suggest that he was against it. "Let's see what the speaker of the [South Carolina] House wants to do. We're going to elect a new governor next year. And doing something that's disruptive when we're in dire economic straits in our state—we need to minimize the attention on what the government's doing and kind of focus on getting jobs cranked back up again. I'm not sure that would be a good thing for any of us," he said.

"It's disappointing, but it reminds me that that it's not the people that I'm here to support, it's the principles," he added.

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