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The governor punctuated his interview with metaphors and with occasional references to the Bible or church, including putting the current economic cycle in context.

“There have been recessions and depressions across time. You can go back as far as the Bible and look at seven skinny cows and seven fat cows coming out of the Nile. This notion of cycles to life is not a new thing,” he said.

And he saw dangers in the types of action being taken or considered, such as pro-union measures and buy-America provisions, calling them “a first step in that direction” toward another Great Depression.

Mr. Sanford said he would “throw the last administration under the bus” on business regulation, which the governor said has created an uncertain atmosphere that has paralyzed companies, a trend he said has continued under Mr. Obama.

“Nobody has any idea what the rules are, going forward,” he said. “When I talk to business people across my state, there is absolute uncertainty as to who gets bailed out next, who doesn’t get bailed out next, what industry gets bailed out.”

He said former President George W. Bush’s legacy would be one of bad trade-offs, such as passing a prescription-drug program as part of Medicare, a move for which Mr. Sanford said Mr. Bush gained no political credit from liberals while caving on conservative core beliefs.

The governor did defend Republican congressional leaders for taking a stand on the stimulus bill, contradicting Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a fellow Republican who last week told The Times that his party’s House and Senate leaders were “inconsequential.”

Mr. Sanford said he gave the leaders credit “for holding everyone together” on the vote - House Republicans were unanimous in opposing the bill, and only three Republican senators voted for it.