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Scoppe: ‘Did you miss me?’ The exile returns

Sep 21, 2011 9:09:00 AM - thestate.com
THE VOICE ON the phone was familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it: “Did you miss me?” When I hesitated, he continued: “I can’t believe after all our sparring that you don’t even recognize my voice.”

Sparring. Ah yes. How could I forget, and so soon? “Of course I missed you, Mark,” I said, and before I knew it Mark Sanford was holding forth on “doing the whole carpenter routine” with his boys, who have now gone back to school, and moving on, but not too fast.

“It was cathartic and it was wonderful,” he says of the summer spent building a barn, a bridge and “a little house” on the family farm. “And I could go for the first time in my adult life for weeks on end without reading the newspaper or watching the evening news. I could go for days on end without talking to another individual. But it’s coming to a close.”

He was calling because he had just read a headline about the State Retirement System having $17 billion in unfunded liabilities. “I have restrained myself to date,” he says. “I have not made any comment on anything going on or not going on in Columbia. But I want to pull my hair out. … I couldn’t contain myself. I wanted to call my old friend Cindi Scoppe and say: ‘Did you catch that?’ This isn’t new news. It’s been coming at us like a freight train. This is something I was hyping for a couple of years of my life.

“If you bled for a couple of years of your life and you’ve been called a guy that just wants to get up and fight with the General Assembly — it was real blood. Real blood. And this was the central reason. That’s what I wanted to call and get off my chest.”

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