It's been a day of endorsements for Mark Sanford.
On Monday night, he debated Elizabeth Colbert Busch, fending off mentions of his affair before a raucous crowd at the Citadel.
Today, the endorsements have been rolling in. The National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled its support for Sanford but, this morning, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered his backing, and the conservative group FreedomWorks followed suit this afternoon.
So did Larry Flynt.
The noted porn king, candidate and political agitator released a sarcastic YouTube endorsement of Sanford as "America's great sex pioneer," announced a donation of a legal-maximum $2,600 to Sanford's campaign, and invited Sanford to "meet with me, man to man, for a photo opportunity and to shake my hand in gratitude for my endorsement."
In the video, Flynt struggles a bit through his two-minute endorsement speech.
Either falsely or earnestly, Flynt praised Sanford for exposing the "sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today" - and praised pro-Sanford voters for their willingness to allegedly reject those values in favor of Sanford's candidacy.
Throughout the campaign, Sanford has sought forgiveness and said he has been humbled by his affair scandal.
Asked during Monday's debate about his votes to impeach President Bill Clinton, Sanford replied, "Do you think that President Clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life?"
For such an explosive topic, Sanford's response played well, and the audience appeared sympathetic to a candidate who has openly accepted blame for the scandal.
"I support him not for his character, but for exposing the hypocrisy of traditional values," Flynt said of Sanford in his endorsement. "The liar has exposed the greater lie."
Of Sanford's supporters in the First Congressional District, Flynt said: "They have the courage to toss aside lifelong convictions, reject the teachings of their preachers and toss the false sanctity of marriage into the trashcan."
Here's Flynt's written statement, which mostly matches the one he delivered to camera. Flynt's PR people also included a photo of Flynt's check to Sanford.
I am endorsing Mark Sanford for U.S. Congress because no one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today. He is the man of the hour-the midnight hour. He has demonstrated by his words and deeds that traditional values are shameful and that he will not live by such rules. As the Bible teaches us: "Ye shall know them by their fruits."
Sanford's open embrace of his mistress in the name of love, breaking his sacred marriage vows, was an act of bravery that has drawn my support. His attack on sexual hypocrisy is the only issue in this campaign. It is what defines Mark Sanford. Placing sex at the top of the agenda, he continues his courageous fight, demanding forgiveness while brazenly hugging his mistress at campaign parties.
My endorsement has not been an easy decision for me. Even though Mark Sanford has emerged as the leader against sexual hypocrisy in American politics, he is a liar. He lied to his gubernatorial staff. He lied to his wife. He lied to his children. He lied to the people of South Carolina and to the press. Despite his journey down this Appalachian Trail of deceit, I support him not for his character, but for exposing the hypocrisy of traditional values. The liar has exposed the greater lie.
I want to commend the voters of the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina who support Mark Sanford. They have the courage to toss aside lifelong convictions to embrace the sex pioneer of our time. They have rejected the religious teachings of their Bible-thumping preachers and tossed the false sanctity of marriage into the trashcan. Sanford's fellow pioneers are teaching their children the invaluable lesson that traditional values are nothing more than a scam. These voters are telling the sanctimonious, self-righteous and hypocritical opponents of Mark Sanford, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina."
I also commend Sanford's supporters for bucking the National Republican Congressional Committee after it withdrew its backing of Mark Sanford despite his victory in the Republican primary for the 1st Congressional District. While the Republican Party continues to display its cowardice and hypocrisy, I am willing to step in and stand erect for Mark Sanford.
I have contributed the maximum amount of $2,600 to the Sanford for Congress campaign. I would like to heartily invite Mark Sanford to meet with me, man to man, for a photo opportunity and to shake my hand in gratitude for my endorsement. I am looking forward to personally congratulating America's great sex pioneer.