Greene sports shirt for a laugh

U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene (left) is introduced Monday at the Aiken Rotary Club by member Owen Clary.

COLUMBIA -- Longshot Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene has made numerous appearances wearing a T-shirt promoting his campaign. Now, the unemployed veteran has been spotted wearing a different shirt that pokes fun at South Carolina's tumultuous time in the spotlight -- including his surprise primary victory.

Greene appeared Monday at a Rotary Club event in Aiken sporting a white shirt featuring a blue outline of the state with the words, "South Carolina: We Don't Make These Things Up!"

Rotary Club President Owen Clary designed the shirt after pondering the events that have landed South Carolina in the news over the past year and a half. That chronology includes Gov. Mark Sanford's disappearance last summer -- and subsequent revelation of an affair with a woman in Argentina -- U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie" outburst during a presidential address to Congress and Greene's surprising primary victory over a better-known candidate in the June 8 primary.

"We're having fun," Clary said Tuesday. "People get a good laugh. ... We're a crazy state, I agree. But the things that happen, we don't make these things up!"

Greene faces popular Republican incumbent Jim DeMint and Green Party candidate Tom Clements in November.

Clary said he also was thinking about positive things that have happened in the state in recent months, including South Carolina's pick of Republican Nikki Haley, an Indian-American woman, to run for governor and easy nomination of Tim Scott, a county councilman in line to become the first black GOP congressman from the Deep South since Reconstruction.

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This summer, the University of South Carolina's baseball team captured a national championship at the College World Series.

Initially printing 500 of the shirts about three months ago, Clary started sending them to politicians throughout South Carolina, as well as late night television hosts including Jon Stewart and Charleston native Stephen Colbert. Clary also sent one to Greene, who responded by shipping Clary a "Greene Senate" T-shirt. Clary then invited Greene to come to Monday's meeting, where Clary and Greene each wore the other's creation.

The shirts sell for $10 at the Aiken County Historical Museum, where Clary serves as president. The museum will get a portion of the profits. Bearing signatures from politicians including DeMint, Greene and Haley, Clary said his own copy may quickly become a collectible.

"I'm going to put it in my museum or on eBay," he said.