Former Clinton press secretary addresses Sanford scandal - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Former Clinton press secretary addresses Sanford scandal

By Hatzel Vela  bio | email | twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Spin doctors save politicians from their personal disasters.

Governor Mark Sanford's spin doctors didn't take the right steps, said Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton.

McCurry was part of a three-person panel discussing the how aides should handle communication crisis when a politician becomes part of a scandal.

"We are all sinners and we had plenty of examples of that this summer," McCurry said referring to several scandals that plagued politicians across the country this summer.

McCurry was press secretary for Clinton for four years and was worked in the White House when the Monica Lewinsky story broke.

We forget politicians are human, McCurry said.

"People misbehave and then they don't know how to get it back in the box. They don't know how to figure out the right language that gets them back to a safer place," he added.

McCurry thinks five words would help politicians in times of crisis: credibility, candor, clarity, compassion and consistency.

Consistency is what he thinks helped Clinton survive his ordeal.   

It's something Sanford could have learned from, he said.

"The moral of the story is you say it once and then you try to move on and the governor doesn't seem to have had that ability," McCurry said.

Phil Noble is president of the South Carolina New Democrats and a former political consultant.

Scandals happen because of plain old stupidity and often involve politician's personal lives, Noble told the crowd at the Physician's Auditorium on the College of Charleston Thursday evening.

They're politicians, who often think rules don't apply to them and who allow themselves to get involved in sticky situations, Noble said.

And once they do, they don't like to admit to making the mistake, he added.

The State Newspaper Reporter Gina Smith was one of the panelists who perspective from the media's point of view.

She said her newsroom is still surprised by how much Sanford said following his initial announcement about his infidelity to his wife.

"It was baffling some of the detail we weren't exactly sure why he would want to share this level of information with the media and with the people of the state," Smith said.   

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