BEN SMITH: Governor! Ben Smith from BuzzFeed here. Thanks for doing this. To begin with - where are you now, and what are you doing?

MARK SANFORD: Headed to the Airport. On the way to NH.

BS: Can I persuade you to send over a selfie?

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Selfie of Mark Sanford

BS: Your staff wasn’t sure you’d do it! So: What kind of person do you find is most excited about your campaign?

MS: Those who are thinking about issues. Too much of what’s occurring on both sides is simply tribal with red vs blue. If one gets passed that and actually gets to the point of discussing issues I’ve found it remarkable how receptive people are to our campaign.

BS: You’re out there talking a lot about federal spending, and you were a Tea Party hero back in the day. But Trump seems to have proved that Republican voters don’t actually care about spending. So do you think the people who say the Tea Party was more about a racist backlash to Obama … have a point?

MS: I disagree with the hypothesis. I had thousands of conversations with Tea Party types who cared passionately about debt and spending over my years in politics. Either they’re still out there, and have not been spoken to given Trump’s dismissal of the issue… or they have evaporated. If it’s the second my campaign is short lived… but we better watch out for martians, asteroid strikes, and a few other less than likely scenarios given the ways in which it’s unlikely these people indeed evaporated off the face of the earth.

BS: Ha. Not just the voters though, right? Mick Mulvaney used to be your kind of principled, fiscal conservative, South Carolina Republican, and you guys were close. Now he’s one of Trump’s main enablers. What do you them happened to him?

MS: The bright lights of Washington are alluring.

BS: Trey Gowdy the same?

MS: In fairness to Trey, he’s never staked his claim on being an economic conservative. He’s been beloved within conservative circles based on his prosecutorial abilities. I’m coming up to the airport gate. We’ll text you back on the other side of TSA.

BS: *thumbs up emoji* Next question, when you get to it: You got into some trouble back in 2009 over your personal life. Do you think anybody would have cared about that stuff now - when you’ve got a president paying off porn stars?

MS: It should always matter. And I think that’s part of the point. I learned a lot in that chapter of life. A level of empathy for others. A level of humility in the wake of failure I think important . And so I guess I’d phrase it this way, it’s not so much that we fail, we all will at some level and in some way… the question lies in regret and learning and soul searching in its wake that can make us the better for it. This lies in contrast to president trump, who says there is nothing that he regrets. I don’t understand that, and know that one can’t learn from this approach.

BS: You voted to impeach Bill Clinton. But you said a few days ago the House should censure, rather than impeach Trump. Why? (And - sounds like you’re taking off soon - so that can be the last question)

MS: Taking off, text when I land I Charlotte…

BS: *plane emoji*

MS: Because I have grown over the years to respect the power of process, political norm and institutional framework for government as I have seen its workings first hand over the years since then. Our founding fathers were genius in their design. Given we are nearing a presidential election, given there aren’t 20 republican votes on the senate, and given I don’t think trumps behavior should be sanctioned as okay...I think it’s important congress end on more than what amounts to a hung jury. If the senate did not convict he would say..see I was right..the senate acquitted me and found I was not guilty of wrongdoing. Congress must be concrete in its condemnation. It makes a stronger case to voters as they decide in November. If we don’t do this I think the presidents hand is strengthened with impeachment as it becomes a personality contest between him and jerry natler. I think the heartland of America sides with trump and consequently it makes it that much tougher to end the things he’s doing wrong to political norms, our institutional framework of government and the tone that he has paved new ground on.

BS: Thanks for doing this Governor - safe travels

MS: Apologies for the broken up messages with the travel!