Seventy-seven South Carolina mayors have now signed a letter begging the governor, the state legislature, and that excited person standing beside Howie Mandel to take the deal — well, maybe just the first two.

Gov. Mark Sanford announced earlier this month that he wanted to spend $700 million of the federal stimulus money to pay off some of the state’s debt. In response, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has spent the past week collecting support of other mayors of cities and towns around the state in an effort to show Sanford that he does not have the support of elected officials on the ground and in the communities.

“Mayors see first-hand and perhaps see best the needs of our residents,” Riley said today.

Losing that money would impact public services statewide, particularly in the classroom, he said. “It’s time for Governor Sanford to change his position … and put an end to this foolishness.”

Riley went on to say that Sanford’s position “seemed removed from reality.”

“This is not a time for philosophical meandering of the mind,” he said. “This is a time for action.”