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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Missing persons update: Gov. Sanford found (sort of)

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Has South Carolina's missing governor been located at last? One of his spokesmen has gone on the record, issuing a statement that Mark Sanford, who was completely out of touch for five days, was off "hiking along the Appalachian Trail" and will return to work tomorrow.

Which, if true, doesn't quite answer the question of why his wife said he needed time to do some writing, or why she didn't know exactly where he was, or why he'd elect to "hike along the Appalachian Trail" on Father's Day Weekend.

It's still a mystery as to why authorities revealed that they had tracked his cell phone to the Atlanta area — as it's plain to see, the trail doesn't exactly start in the metro region. And as Josh Marshall over at TPM points out, the fact that authorities were even worried enough to track down his phone in the first place raises questions.

Here's to wondering what "hiking the Appalachian Trail" will end up proving a euphemism for as this story unfolds. Now that it seems clear, at least, that the Palmetto State governor is safe, it doesn't seem insensitive to hold out hope that it's something hilarious. Or it might just be something as mundane as naked hiking — it turns out that Father's Day was indeed Naked Hiking Day on the Appalachian Trail.

Over at The Fix the Washington Post's Chris Cilizza put together a list of past politicians who have gone missing, including Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign for two weeks in 2002 — who is now embroiled in a sex scandal — and Steve Largent, an Oklahoma Congressman who was bowhunting in Iowa on Sept. 11, 2001, and didn't hear about the terrorist attacks until two days later.

(photo courtesy of The Appalachian Trail Conservancy)

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