In a cagey bit of state-craft Wednesday, the Obama administration defused two potentially volatile political situations with one move. Gov. Mark Sanford (R) of South Carolina in a bloodless surrender of power in Columbia announced that on Thursday he plans to vacate the remainder of his term. "I hope to devote myself full-time to interviews and a book of love poetry." One he said he's been hankering to write, "for quite some time now."
Meanwhile, President Zelaya will assume Sanford's duties, retaining the option to run for another term in 2010 -- a sticking point in the Honduran upheaval. In agreeing to assume the governorship, Zelaya is seen as avoiding a likely violent confrontation with the military and oligarchs in his native Honduras had he chosen to return.
Former Governor Sanford -- "He's Zelaya!" says his wife
Reports that the former Governor will go back to Honduras himself later this week seeking to serve out the remainder of President Zelaya's term are called 'premature'. An aide said, "Mark's experience with Latin America, though positive, has been very limited up to now. And he's not sure he's prepared to go there yet. In fact, avoiding an armed confrontation -- with his wife Jenny -- was what drove this decision in the first place."