TODAY   |  May 08, 2013

Have voters truly forgiven Mark Sanford?

TODAY’s Willie Geist and Natalie Morales, along with Abby Huntsman of HuffPost Live, chat about some of the topics making headlines, including whether Mark Sanford’s congressional win means South Carolinians are ready to forget his past transgressions.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> it's still early morning , a few brave souls behind us joining us in the rain. i'm willie geist , reunited with natalie morales after a european tour . we're going to get some of your things a little bit later. abba .

>> done with the singing.

>> london, stockholm, hanging with the stars. she's back with us today, joining us is abby huntsman of "the huffington post ". al woke up in college grove, tennessee, on the hatcher family farm .

>>> we begin take three with the three women freed from a decade of captivity in cleveland. nbc's kristen dahlgren is there covering the story. good morning, what is the latest there?

>> reporter: good morning, willie . we're beginning to get a little bit of a clearer picture of what life may have been like for the women inside that house. the police chief confirmed to us they did find chains and ties inside, he said the women were not allowed out of that house very often. now the fbi has been out here looking for evidence. they were here for hours. they do expect the suspects to be charged by 6:00 tonight. few of the things that the fbi did take out of that house they confiscated a truck, an suv and also that front door that amanda berry and a neighbor knocked down to get her and the other women out of the house, and so that could go on again later today , more evidence gathering. neighbor tells us he saw digging going on in the backyard. as for the women , michelle knight, amanda berry and gina dejesus, there is a possibility they could be allowed to go home later on today, they have reacquainted with some of their relatives. i spoke with michelle knight's mother earlier today and said she hopes to see her daughter later on today and she also told me about how michelle has a daughter or michelle rather has a sister, a little sister she never met so things have changed so much in the decade or so these women were missing. life went on for their families so there is a lot of reacquainting to go on. michelle knight's mother told me how she put a flyer on this house here when she was looking for her daughter, shows you just how close some people got to where these women were being held.

>> literally on the doorstep. kristen dahlgren, cleveland, ohio, thanks so much. natalie you've been reporting and others that some of the neighbors reported seeing things in the backyard and having called police.

>> numerous reports.

>> the chief of police told savannah and the mayor adam ant they've gone through the records and never got any other calls besides two that were unrelated to the case to that home.

>> it's interesting what neighbors say and what the officials will tell you. you don't know who to believe here in this situation but clearly it sounds like there had been some sort of alert in the past about this house and what was going on.

>> it's true and i think they relied on each other to get through it. they had a bond. they've been together for all this time and they'll have the answers that we're all looking for at the end of the day .

>> you cannot forget the courage that amanda berry had to make that break for us knowing after ten years what the consequences must have been for her and the other women and perhaps her child, if she'd been caught trying to escape.

>> and learning some of the details we just had confirmed if they had been chained for a large amount of that time as well knowing exactly as you said the consequences and all of that, and having that just small window of opportunity, amazing that they're alive and well today.

>> a true testament of hope.

>> story unfolding, we're sure to get more details on what was happening inside in the days and weeks to come.

>>> a big turn to our take two and check in with al, down all morning in college grove, tennessee where he's kicking off his "wake up with al" series. you're looking good down on the farm.

>> you fit there, al.

>> well you know what? this is a beautifully beaucolic scene here the rolling hills of middle tennessee . this is the hatcher family and they've had this farm since 1831 . there are five siblings who live on the farm with their families. they start their day like at 4:30 in the morning and it goes until late in the evening . they've got 72 head of cattle, dairy cows , they got chickens, they've made butter. it's really, and you know, look, the fact of the matter is, family farmers in this country are really underappreciated. they work hard and they really get the job done for america and you know, they don't complain a lot. there was all this talk about the farm bill and everything like that. well they have to get it done. they have to live this every day, and --

>> so you fed the cows, al.

>> natalie , in fact, you are one of five cattle, little calves that were born this past winter. there's natalie , savannah, al, matt and lester. lester we didn't get to see earlier.

>> wow.

>> a willie snub.

>> there is no willie right now, but they tell me with the next crop there will be a willie .

>> next spring we'll have to go back and check out willie .

>> i am honored, let me tell you i am honored. al, we're going to check back in with you in just a minute and not going to let natalie off the hook.

>> oh, no.

>> yesterday we saw you at the abba museum , how much you loved the karaoke experience there.

>> it was amazing. oh, no, again? time of your life ooh, see that girl, watch that scene digging the dancing squeen

>> focus on the positive.

>> i didn't know you had that in you. friday night and the nights are low

>> natalie , anyone watches this show knows natalie loves to sing.

>> i've got passion. especially when it comes to abba , and all those fans that were there, the passion that you have, you don't care if you can't sing, you get on that stage and become the fifth member of abba and i was counting on the audio people to sweeten it a little, give me a little mike mixer or something, auto tune . thanks, guys.

>> you tried very hard to get a reunion of abba in that interview and just wasn't going to do it. not going there.

>> bjorn i think he said earlier to us, nobody wants to see geriatrics on stage. i'm like people pay good money to see geriatrics on stage.

>> the stones are still getting it done.

>> no abba reunion?

>> she did her best.

>> the other three would be up for it, i think bjorn is just kind of like we had a good time when we did it and went out on a high note and a great museum to go back.

>> the music will live on.

>> the music lives on generation to generation, especially with " mama mia " and all of that. they continue on.

>>> let's move on to take three, and this is a big political story, former south carolina governor mark sanford is an elected official once again, four years after the scandal of his extramarital affair nearly derailed his political career, in june of 2009 he claimed to have been hiking the appalachian trail when he left the governor's office for a few days, went missing, in fact he was visiting his mistress in argentina. last night sanford beat elizabeth colbert busch, sister of stephen colbert .

>> this is one of the most remarkable comeback political stories we've seen. people are scratching their heads saying how is this possible but there are a number of reasons why this happened. it was a conservative district. he outcampaigned elizabeth colbert busch. he'd done this before. this was less a vote for mark sanford and more about a vote against the alternative which is a democrat. they're fiscally conservative there and i think you put up a picture of nancy pelosi and that scares them.

>> he talked about his track record in an interview with matt earlier. he's been governor, congressman before so people know what he stands for when it comes to the issues and i think by and large it seems like they've forgiven him for his past.

>> that's the question, have they forgiven him or they'd rather him in office. that's the question i ask myself, is it that we've forgiven and forgotten?

>> people like to believe in second chances in this country. he's now engaged to the mistress so i think they feel like he has a new life and --

>> i thought anthony weiner probably slept well last night knowing that he can come back, too.

>> i was thinking the same thing.

>> it was not close, the polls had it too close to call. he won by nine points which is a