The biggest point of confusion in Thursday’s GOP congressional debate between Curtis Bostic and Mark Sanford was the format.

Moderator and satellite radio host David Webb wanted a free-flowing “Lincoln-Douglas” style exchange, but neither candidate seemed to grasp how it was supposed to work.

Among the highlights:

Elephant in the room

“I failed, and I failed very miserably.” — Sanford discussing his Appalachian Trail hike and the public’s low view of Congress.

“A compromised candidate is not what we need,” — Bostic on picking a GOP choice to face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Home field advantage

Sanford, who has two sons at Porter-Gaud, where the debate was held.


Bostic played up his association with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, his former Charleston County Council mate, at least three times. Scott is neutral so far.

Rick Perry moment

“His name will come back to me in a second.” — Sanford drawing a blank in referencing a former House colleague who once taught constitutional law. He meant Tom Campbell of California.

Big Bird moment

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts — two of the D.C. agencies Bostic wants to eliminate.

Jimmy Stewart moment

Bostic continued to refer to his campaign as a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” effort, a reference to the classic 1939 American political drama film.

Goldwater moment

Sanford concluded his remarks with a lengthy quote from the Republicans’ 1964 presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, a founder of the modern conservative movement.

Weirdest verb

Bostic said, “We approached this campaign with the idea that we can relationship our way into it.”

Deja vu moment

The candidates were asked similar questions about deepening the Port of Charleston near the start and end of the forum.

Bostic’s best dig

“What we need is not just a Mr. No,” referencing Sanford’s many unsuccessful vetoes as governor and anti-stances in Congress.

“It also takes more than saying yes,” was Sanford’s response in sticking to principles.

Robert Behre contributed to this report. Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.