FITS Thanksgiving Day Rewind - Sanford Refuses to Pardon Turkeys
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on our website on November 22, 2005. We are republishing it today for those of you who missed it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
It was supposed to be the launch of a new South Carolina Thanksgiving tradition. It ended up being the latest in a string of recent public relations debacles for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.
FITS has learned that new Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer, presumably in an effort to stop the recent bleeding his boss has suffered in the press, organized a South Carolina version of the President's annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey.
The plan was simple - bring two birds into the governor's office, write up a witty press release and Thanksgiving Day proclamation, then have His Excellency the Governor "pardon" one of the animals and ship it off to a life of leisure at a local petting zoo.
"Great politics," said Francis Marion political scientist Neal Thigpen. "Or at least it should have been."
As it happened, everything was going along smoothly until it was time for Sanford to actually pardon the bird. Turns out, the governor - in addition to having his legendary frugality offended by giving something away for free - suddenly became more than just a tad peckish (that means "hungry" for those of you who received your public education here in South Carolina).
"I can't do this," Sanford abruptly announced to the assembled press corps. "The taxpayers' aren't going to see a dime of that petting zoo revenue and besides, I haven't eaten lunch yet."
Crumpling the Executive Order pardoning the turkey and summarily dispatching it to the waste bin of good media ideas, the governor then proceeded to have both turkeys returned to their cages, ordering them shipped to the Governor's Mansion for "preparation."
"Now we got turkey sandwiches for lunch AND Thanksgiving dinner," Sanford said. "Ya'll come on over and dig in - but it's BYOC, remember."
Sawyer, left speechless at Sanford's latest self-inflicted public relations reverse, was momentarily unable to clarify the governor's BYOC reference, which FITS later discovered means "Bring Your Own Condiments."
"Governor Sanford is becoming more and more out of touch with the people of South Carolina," said State Sen. Joel Lourie. "This makes you wonder what he really did with those cute little piglets Pork and Barrel."
"The governor fully supports the concept of pardoning turkeys for Thanksgiving," Sawyer said. "Unfortunately, since the legislature failed to incorporate a revenue-sharing plan allowing the state to receive a percentage of this turkey's petting zoo proceeds, the governor was left with no choice but to eat him."