Colbert Busch and Sanford wrap up feisty S. Carolina congressional debate


Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, shown in 2008, is engaged to his ex-mistress Maria Belen Chapur. Sanford famously claimed he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" in 2009 while he was in Buenos Aires, Argentina with Chapur.



The highly-anticipated debate between Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford for an open South Carolina congressional seat wrapped up Monday with both sides taking spirited swipes at each other.

The debate was the only time both candidates will face off before their May 7 race to succeed now-Sen. Tim Scott.

The vitriol between the two was pretty clear as they attacked each other for partisan politics, immigration reform and health care.

Sanford, the former Republican Governor who is trying to revive a political career after he famously admitted to a love affair with an Argentinean woman, slammed Colbert Busch for accepting large cash donations from the Democratic party and tried to tie her to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and labor unions.

"It's not believable to me that someone gives you a million dollars and not expect something in return," said Sanford, arguing that Colbert Busch would be a reliable vote for Pelosi and Democrats in the House.

Colbert Bush insisted she was an independent and would even return 10 percent of her congressional salary to the government.

Colbert Busch then linked Sanford back to his fall from political grace when he was caught lying about visiting his mistress in Argentina while Governor. 

During a question about the sequester, Colbert Busch used the opportunity to bring up the trip Sanford took to Argentina.

"When we’re looking at fiscal responsibility," said Colbert Busch, "it doesn’t mean you take the money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose."

Sanford, who served three terms in Congress and two as governor, boasted that he was the first governor in the nation to turn back economic stimulus funds.

"I've gotten into this race with the hope of taking what I've learned in Congress, what I learned in the governorship and what I've learned on the way up and on the way down and applying it to what I believe is the great debate of our civilization, which is indeed, how do we get our financial house in order," Sanford said. 

Colbert Busch, a former maritime executive, argued that her struggles as a single mother and rise in the business world would make her a better member of Congress.

Colbert Busch is the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert. Colbert officially endorsed his sister for Congress on his TV show, The Colbert Report, in early April.

The two candidates face off in the special election May 7.