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For the second year in a row, our founding editor was privileged to sit on a media panel at Leadership Columbia’s “Political Systems Day,” an extended seminar that acquaints up-and-coming young professionals with the ins and outs of the political process.

And for the second year in a row he was joined at the swanky Capital City Club in downtown Columbia by a pair of reporters from The State newspaper – city reporter Adam Beam and State House reporter Gina Smith, who stole last year’s show.

(Smith, by the way, is rocking a dead sexy new hairdo and was kicking some killer black peep toe pumps on Tuesday – with red nail polish and a toe ring on her right foot. Major swoonage).

Anyway, as usual Sic Willie was nothing if not blunt during the seminar – providing some undiplomatic (but honest) answers to a wide range of questions related to the current state of political affairs in South Carolina. He even answer a question or two about his own affair with S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – which was followed by a perfectly-timed inquiry (at least from a comedian’s perspective) from local attorney Edward Bender regarding how the reporters on the panel “cultivated their sources.”

The mood got a bit tense, however, when Twila Jones – a senior sales manager at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau – slammed Sic for going negative on his hometown.

“I don’t know how you even got on this panel,” Jones told him, eventually asking him if he had “one nice thing to say” about his hometown.

That line got a round of applause from several members of the audience – and perhaps deservedly so.

Sic responded by saying that when city and state leaders quit screwing up – he would quit criticizing them, adding that “it’s not show friends, it’s show business,” a line he ripped off from Jerry Maguire. While acknowledging that he was indeed an asshole, Sic also noted that his incessant raging against taxpayer-funded boondoggles like “Innovista” could have saved the city of Columbia tens of millions of dollars had his advice been heeded.

“I’m not big on government spending money but I’m guessing that money could have been spent a lot better someplace else,” Sic said.

“I don’t go over to the State House to kiss ass,” he continued, prompting one of his cleverer critics to question the veracity of that statement given his recent proximity to Haley.

“She wasn’t into that, actually,” Sic deadpanned, a comment which elicited a chorus of groans.

Eventually, it was The State‘s Gina Smith who came to Sic’s defense (or at least to the defense of investigative journalism) by offering an extraordinarily heartfelt and eloquent defense of the necessity of reporters willing to hold their leaders accountable.

Seriously … we wish we had it on tape … it was that good.

Incidentally, Haley was scheduled to speak to the group later Tuesday afternoon, but canceled the day before – approximately an hour after the itinerary for the seminar (which included Sic Willie’s name) was emailed to participants.

Haley told the group she was busy “signing bills” onĀ  Tuesday afternoon, but sources at the State House tell FITS that she was displeased with the fact that our founding editor was invited to address the group.

Oh well … we were once again grateful to have received the invitation, thankful for the company and pleased to have participated in such a lively exchange.

Oh, and to learn more about Leadership Columbia, click here …

UPDATE: After sporting a pimp black suit at a recent event, Sic rolled into the Capital City Club sporting blue jeans, a short sleeve Quicksilver shirt and a backward Washington Nationals’ ballcap.