Rep. Gresham Barrett came by our offices to visit with the editorial board this afternoon. It was the first time I’d met him (as near as I can remember), so I felt pretty bad about entering the room late and leaving early. But Friday is our hardest day of the week, and I was hours behind already.
But before I left the board room, we made sure to ask him about his comments published that day in The Greenville News.
His criticism of the governor’s performance on economic development was of course familiar, since new S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell had said similar things last month. (And Mr. Harrell, it should be noted, has taken that act on the road. He said the very same things at my Rotary Club recently.)
But like Mr. Harrell, Mr. Barrett downplays any notions that there’s some sort of internecine spat going on among the state’s leading Republicans. Also like Mr. Harrell, he stressed that he wants to work with the governor, not against him, on ecodevo.
"I’m not here to pick a fight with the governor," he said. "He and I agree on so many different things." Nevertheless, "This is an area that we can improve." And he stressed that he himself, and others, could do more.
Still, this is an interesting trend.
For his part, when I asked him about it on Friday, Gov. Mark Sanford had little that he wanted to say — on the record. As far as what he was willing to be quoted on, he pretty much said the same things he said before, when Mr. Harrell’s comments were in the news.