It seems that nothing will be remembered after this election cycle about South Carolina, save the terribly efficient way we sling mud and sully legitimate presidential aspirations.

The Times of London is the latest media outlet from “off” with a story out on South Carolina’s dirty politics.

Welcome to South Carolina, the foulest swamp of electoral dirty tricks in America. This state’s primary race has already become the sleaziest leg of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Here, political operatives know only one way to win: take your opponent’s head off. The Palmetto State’s primary follows hard on the heels of Iowa and New Hampshire and is the candidates’ first foray into the Deep South.

They also weigh in with a rumor about Mark (“I’ll take the call”) Sanford regarding potential vice-presidential aspirations.

I have just returned from South Carolina, a crucial early primary state for Republicans – and there are strong rumours that Mr Giuliani might “make up” the state’s Republican governor, Mark Sanford, by offering him the vice-presidential slot on a Giuliani ticket.

No Republican has won his party’s nomination without winning South Carolina. The state is very much up for grabs among the main Republican candidates and an endorsement by Mr Sanford, who is in his final term, could tip it. He is said to be in serious discussions with the Giuliani team to give his endorsement in exchange for the vice-presidential slot, should Mr Giuliani clinch the nomination. Although the Republicans have a lock on the South in the general election, Mr Sanford has an additional attraction for Mr Giuliani: he was born in Florida, a must-win primary state for the former New York mayor.

If he does pick Mr Sanford as his running mate, it would be best not to kiss him. They don’t like that sort of thing in Dixie.

Um. Florida? Really? I don’t see Sanford as that kind of asset. I really don’t think his endorsement would do all that much in South Carolina. Where Sanford works for any GOP candidate is in his no-exceptions policy on spending (except for that governor’s convention cash). But his inability to get along with two out of three people in any room will be a real negative.