A few weeks ago in a candidates' debate for the South Carolina governor's race (to replace the disgraced Mark Sanford), Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin endorsee Nikki Haley was asked the following question:
Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Bill Clinton, all men who have cheated on their wives while in power. When faced with opportunities and temptations that come with power, how do you stay true to your family, your faith, and your values?
You know, I think the answer is you keep the Lord, you keep your family and you keep your friends very close. And you always remember that you have to stay as humble as possible, and understand that service is just that -- it is service. And you are being held to a higher standard, and so you have much more service that you have to give. And you're a role model to everybody that follows you.
Ah, nothing like the smell of schadenfreude on a Monday morning:
A political blogger and former aide to Gov. Mark Sanford claims to have had a past romantic relationship with Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley. Haley, who is married and has two children, "emphatically" denied the claim Monday morning.
"Several years ago, prior to my marriage, I had an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki," Will Folks announced Monday morning on his political blog, FITSNews. Folks said political opponents of Haley and himself were leaking evidence of the affair to the press, and claimed the story would've come out this week no matter what.
"I will not be discussing the details of that relationship, nor will I be granting any additional interviews about it to members of the media beyond what I have already been compelled to confirm," Folks continued. The blogger did not say when the alleged relationship took place or whether Haley was married at the time, and gave no proof of an affair.
Of course, Haley vehemently denies it:
I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false.
It is sad, but not surprising, that this disgraceful smear has taken form less than a week removed from the release of a poll showing our campaign with a significant lead. It is quite simply South Carolina politics at its worst.
The denial, naturally, is good enough for everyone on the right, like NRO's Jim Geraghty, who take it at face value.
And Palin herself goes even further, and offers her usual "stay strong" advice to Haley -- that is, she oughta make like Sarah and use it as an opportunity for martyrdom:
Well, whaddya know? South Carolina’s conservative candidate, Nikki Haley, recently zipped to the front of the line in her state’s race for governor; and lo and behold, now accusations of an affair surface.
Nikki categorically denies the accusation that was spewed out there by a political blogger who has the gall to throw the stone, but then quickly duck and hide and proclaim he would not comment further on the issue. Quite convenient.
When Nikki and I held her endorsement rally on the steps of the beautiful and historic South Carolina state house last month, I warned her and her family that she would be targeted because she’s a threat to a corrupt political machine, and she would be put through some hell. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast in politics today – especially for conservative “underdog” candidates who surge in the polls and threaten to shake things up so government can be put back on the side of the people.
South Carolina: don’t let some blogger make any accusation against your Nikki if the guy doesn’t even have the guts or the integrity to speak further on such a significant claim. And don’t believe anything a liberal rag claims or suggests unless the reporter involved has the integrity and the facts to report to you so you can make up your own mind. For traditional media to rely on an accusation via some blog entry is almost laughable, but I know the seriousness of it because that’s exactly what my family and colleagues have had to put up with, every single day, for the past couple of years.
As I said to Nikki this morning, “Hang in there. I’ve been there. Any lies told about you will strengthen your resolve to clean up political and media corruption. You and your supporters will grow stronger through things like this.”
Problem is, though, that her accuser was actually one of her biggest blogospheric fanboys, and he made clear that he was only going public with the story because others were about to. Indeed, according to WIS-TV:
The Columbia Free Times has "been investigating a story involving an alleged affair between Haley and Folks for several weeks," and on Monday cited an unnamed source who claimed Folks privately admitted the affair in 2009. "Furthermore, the source ... says former Haley staffer B.J. Boling told him Haley had confided in him about the affair around the time Boling was working on her House reelection campaign in 2008," the Free Times reported.
Stay tuned. Pop some popcorn. This should be amusing.