Governor on secret vacation

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January 25, 2010 3:42:28 PM PST
It's been a long hard first year in office for North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, so it's not surprising she needed a vacation. Even her critics say she deserves one.

"The Governor is entitled to a vacation. It's a hard job," offered North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer.

But what is raising eyebrows is that for the second time since she's been in office, the governor who pledged transparency won't say where she's gone for her week off.

"I think the public is probably entitled to know where she is," said Fetzer.

Presidents seem to always announce their personal travel plans and most governors do too. But now North Carolinians are left to speculate why it's such a big secret.

"I think her husband is a very private person," said Jane Pinsky with the Coalition for Lobby Reform.

And some credit Perdue for at least acknowledging vacation time.

"The previous governor was taking 2, 3, 4-day vacations every week and wasn't telling us," said Pinsky.

Former Governor Mike Easley never announced he was going to an undisclosed location for a break, but recent hearings and now federal charges against a former aide suggest lots of frequent flying below public radar. A private pilot says there were close to 100 secret flights. Federal criminal charges allege Easley aide Ruffin Poole accepted secret flights to Costa Rica and New Orleans.

Some say Perdue's secret itinerary is just poorly planned.

"It gives the appearance of impropriety where none may exist," said Fetzer.

Trouble for South Carolina's governor started with a secret vacation. A hike on the Appalachian Trail was really an affair in Argentina.

"After the Mark Sanford situation, I would think a governor would want people to know where they are going," said Fetzer.

Not so for Perdue, but her staff hints it's out of country where it's warm. And, she's with her husband.

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