Obama denies Sanford request to redirect $700 million (updated)

Update March 17: Sanford has remixed his request, and asked again. Go read it.

First reporting: The White House has said it cannot allow Gov. Mark Sanford to redirect $700 million in stimulus funds, as the president does not have the power to make such an exception.

Read more stories on this subject in our Gov. Mark Sanford topic page.The Associated Press has the story.

Sanford had asked to use $700 million -- some 10% -- of the money South Carolina was due to receive to pay down the state's gaping deficit instead of expanding and restoring programs.

Sanford had threatened to refuse to accept that $700 million if his request was denied, but many in the state Legislature and the state's mayors were preparing to block such a move.

This story will evolve. We'll keep you posted.

Update March 17: The Post and Courier has added a full write-up and says that we can expect a revised strategy from Sanford some time today. Link.