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Sanford survives impeachment panel review

South Carolina lawmakers appear unlikely to impeach Governor Mark Sanford, but that doesn't mean they've forgiven him. WFAE's Julie Rose reports. In a vote of 6-1, the panel of South Carolina lawmakers decided not to try and impeach Governor Sanford. But they did vote unanimously to censure him. "I think the Governor made some egregious errors. There's no doubt about that," said Representative David Weeks. "The question is 'Do those errors rise to an impeachable offense?'" The committee's answer to that question was "No." But they took their time coming to that conclusion. They spent more than two weeks going over 37 ethics charges against Sanford in detail. Then they debated the 2008 trade mission to Brazil when Sanford visited his mistress on a side trip to Argentina. Then they went back to the issue of dereliction of duty and debated whether or not the Governor left the state in a lurch when he disappeared for that five day trip to visit his mistress in June of this year. In the end, they said Sanford's behavior may have been hypocritical - and some even called it stupid - but it did not amount to serious misconduct. Most of the lawmakers on the seemed ready to put the whole thing to rest. "This governor is soon to be part of our past," said Representative James Smith. "And I don't want to spend the months ahead having him to do any more damage to this state by occupying our time and resources with his utter failure to understand the responsibility he has to lead the people of the state." The sordid Sanford story has made South Carolina fodder for late-night comics and national newspapers for months. All seven of the lawmakers on the panel lamented that Governor Sanford has refused to resign. "Indeed, resignation would have hastened our states healing process," said Representative Jenny Horne even getting briefly choked up with emotion. "Nevertheless, South Carolina is a proud and strong state with a rich history of determined resolve in the face of adversity. She has already begun to heal inspite of the past six months of national humiliation." Next week, the full House Judiciary Committee will consider the panel's recommendation - and they could over turn it. But the chairman of the committee thinks that's unlikely, which is why he introduced a resolution to censure Governor Sanford instead. Sanford now seems set to serve out the last year of his term. In a statement the Governor says he plans to "finish strong on the economic challenges" facing the state.