The top Republican in the South Carolina legislature blasted Gov. Mark Sanford (R) today, accusing the potential presidential candidate of putting his ambitions ahead of his state.

Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell is upset with Sanford for refusing to accept $700 million in federal stimulus dollars. Legislators say the money is crucial to fund important programs. Sanford has said he won't accept it unless the state can use it to pay down debt.

"Time and again, you have failed to address problems in a constructive manner and proactively work with the Legislature to find solutions," McConnell wrote in a letter to Sanford. "For seven years now, on issue after issue, you have chosen to make headlines rather than to make headway and to create problems rather than to solve them."

More from the Post and Courier:
McConnell was replying to a May 6 letter that Sanford wrote to him and House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston. Sanford told them that last week he signed off on another $20 million loan from the federal government for unemployment benefits.

Sanford press secretary Joel Sawyer said McConnell's letter was hypocritical. McConnell accused the governor of attacking the Legislature in a letter that is an attack on the governor, Sawyer said.

"As Senator McConnell has proven time and time again, he is very skillful about trying to divert people's attention without answering the question at hand," Sawyer said. "(Sanford's) letter was simply asking whether or not they believe we should continue asking for unemployment loans."