JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news today, the lieutenant governor of South Carolina asked embattled Republican Governor Mark Sanford to resign. In June, Sanford admitted to having an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman.
Today, Andre Bauer reaffirmed his pledge not to run for the Republican nomination in next year’s governor’s race if Sanford agrees to step down. At the statehouse in Columbia, Sanford had this to say to Bauer’s request.
GOV. MARK SANFORD, R-S.C.: I’m not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents or folks that were never fans of mine in the first place. Or, put a different way, a lot of what’s going on now is pure politics, plain and simple.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Sanford is not eligible to run for governor again because he can only serve two terms under South Carolina law.
New U.S. economic data out today showed better-than-expected recoveries in the manufacturing and housing sectors. The Commerce Department reported durable goods posted their largest increase in two years, with orders up nearly 5 percent in July. And there was a strong gain in new home sales, up more than 9.5 percent last month.
On Wall Street today, stocks were only up slightly, in spite of the solid economic reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 4 points to close at 9,543. The Nasdaq rose less than 1 point to close at 2,024.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. military reported that two American troops were killed in separate attacks. One died when an improvised explosive device detonated in the south. The other was killed in an attack in the east. So far in August, 43 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan.
The leader of the largest and most powerful Shiite party in Iraq died today after a long battle with lung cancer. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim had been in Iran undergoing treatment. The 59-year-old cleric was instrumental in shaping Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. His son is his likely successor as party leader, with just five months to go before Iraq’s parliamentary elections.
Dominick Dunne, the best-selling author and journalist, has died. His son confirmed that he died at home in Manhattan today of bladder cancer. Dunne wrote regularly for Vanity Fair magazine, often on the intersection of high society and the judicial system, and he authored bestselling novels, like “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.” Dunne was 83 years old.