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Take Five: Rep. Mark Sanford

Sanford is interviewed in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building on Feb. 29. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sanford is interviewed in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building on Feb. 29. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., talks about his time as the Governor of South Carolina, Richard Branson and water sports with his sons in this week’s Take 5.  

Q: What is your favorite South Carolina cuisine?
A : I’m really partial to Butterbean Casserole, which my mom made and she did not go sparingly on the cheese so I don’t know if it was a Cheese Casserole or a Butterbean Casserole. I’m really partial to Chocolate Cream Pie, which if you go into diners across South Carolina, which I’ve done for a fair number of years in my life, in the dessert portion of the buffet line, you can find Chocolate Cream Pie. Country Fried Steak is a staple.  

Q: What book are you reading right now?
A : I’m reading a book right now by Bob Buford and it’s called ‘Beyond Halftime,’ and it’s about how do you go from success to significance, which I think is an important question for whatever stage of your life you’re in, but particularly important if you’re middle-aged.  

Q : What did your time as South Carolina governor teach you about being a congressman?
A : A lot of things. It taught me about the importance of patience in the political system. You come up here in the class of ‘94 and you’re one of the rebel rousers and that’s very different than being one of the few legs on the stool, which you, in essence, are as a governor. And so, you have to be much more patient. It taught you about the gravitas of government, it’s implications. I remember, one of the things I least liked as governor was the last stage of the execution process. And so, it was this horrid process wherein, they have you on the line as they walk through the final sequence of administering injections to kill the person. And, so again, you just felt this incredible weight of the power of the state. So it taught me, this is not a debating society, this is about a real world impact to peoples’ lives in, at times, extraordinarily direct ways.  

Q : If you could have any other job besides the one you have, what would you do?
A : I’ve always loved real estate—not to say I would want to be Donald Trump . But I wouldn’t mind being Richard Branson, I mean how cool is that guy? I think he’s had a lot of fun in the world of business; he’s built a remarkable series of brands. So, my proclivity would aim towards real estate. In terms of the guy who runs hot air balloons around the world, has Necker Island down in the Caribbean, seems to have a balanced life, which can be difficult in the world of politics. You see, a lot of people who eat, drink and sleep politics, it’s the only thing they do. I admire the way Richard seems to have adhered to some level of balance, of ying and yang in his life.  

Q : When you make it to the South Carolina beaches, what do you like to do with your four sons?
A : We surf and wind surf. I’ve always loved watersports all my life. I introduced those things to our boys and if the water’s warm, because we’re Southerners, we’re not even thinking about water at this point. Although the boys go out surfing with wetsuits this time of year, but I’m a warm-water kind of guy.  

Contact Gangitano at and follow her on Twitter at @AlexGangitano


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