Mark Sanford: ‘I’ve been unfaithful to my wife.’

After apologizing to nearly everyone — his sons, his wife, his staff, his supporters, residents of South Carolina — Gov. Mark Sanford just said this:

“I’ve been unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship which started with a dear, dear friend from Argentina.”

Gov. Mark Sanford arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport this morning, from Argentina. Gina Smith/The State

Gov. Mark Sanford arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport this morning, from Argentina. Gina Smith/The State

A reporter asked if he was alone when he was in Buenos Aires. “Obviously not,” he said. The other woman wasn’t named, but the governor said the relationship “sparked” while he was offering advice on her failing marriage.

The affair was discovered — presumably by his wife — five months ago, but had lasted about a year. “I spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina,” he said.

The press conference was the finish of a six-day saga in which Sanford dropped off the state’s radar, with his staff stumbling to make excuses for his absence. On Monday, his spokesman told reporters that he was incommunicado, hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Weirdly, the press conference began with a reverie by Sanford of his days — as a high schooler and college student — as an outdoorsman planning trips on the trail. He admitted he gave his staff a mistaken impression of his whereabouts, and the press conference took a more somber turn:

“I’m a bottom-line kind of guy. I’ll lay it out, it’s going to hurt, and we’ll let the chips fall as they may,” he said.

Gov. Mark Sanford wipes away tears during Wednesday news conference. Associated Press.

Gov. Mark Sanford wipes away tears during Wednesday news conference. Associated Press.

Sanford said he’s resigning as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a platform that could have served him well in a 2012 presidential campaign. Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, will replace him.

“While this news is deeply disappointing, I also know it’s important to remain focused on the future and Governor Sanford’s resignation allows him and us to do just that,” Barbour said in a prepared statement.

Nick Ayers, executive director of the RGA and a protege of Gov. Sonny Perdue, added this: “My job allows me to share the joys of getting to know great leaders around the country and experiencing great pride when they succeed, but the other side of that is experiencing deep disappointment when they fall short. Today is undeniably a disappointing day.”

Sanford’s admission to adultery comes just a week after U.S. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, a social conservative spoken of as presidential material, admitted to a months-long affair with an aide and resigned as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, a top Senate leadership position.

Sanford asked the media for a zone of privacy — if not for himself, then for his sons and wife. But he was walking away from reporters and did not answer when asked if he would resign as South Carolina’s governor.

The press conference was broadcast live on TV in South Carolina, and over the Internet by C-SPAN.

Here’s a partial account of the news conference from The State, which snagged an interview with Sanford this morning as he walked off a plane that had just docked at Hartsfield-Jackson:

“It began very innocently as I expect many of these things do, just casual email back and forth,” Sanford said. “But here recently this last year developed into something much more.”

Asked if Sanford was separated from his wife, he said “I don’t know how you want to define that. I”m here and she’s there. I guess in a formal sense we are not.”

Sanford said his wife has known about the affair and they have been working through it for the past five months. “What I did was wrong, period. End of story,” he said.

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161 comments Add your comment

The Oddball

June 24th, 2009
2:46 pm

This is a satire,right?

Deke

June 24th, 2009
2:48 pm

Let’s hear it for the sanctity of marriage!

2Old4This

June 24th, 2009
2:48 pm

Well he was not “lusting in his heart”…

HAHA

June 24th, 2009
2:48 pm

good lord!

June 24th, 2009
2:49 pm

do as I say and not as I do – welcome to politics!

lovelyliz

June 24th, 2009
2:49 pm

Don’t cry for me Argentia? I this guy the governor of South Carolina or Eva Peron?

Not Surprised

June 24th, 2009
2:50 pm

Hypocrite!! So, tell me exactly what the principles of the GOP are??

HotDawgette

June 24th, 2009
2:50 pm

Like any woman in the world with half a brain didn’t already guess this. What a moron with no morals. Typical South Carolina.

TLuv

June 24th, 2009
2:50 pm

What a jerk!!!!

Derek

June 24th, 2009
2:50 pm

When will the stoning be? I’ve got my stones ready for sure!
I wanna see all the religious fanatics start living the word of the bible.

therese persaud

June 24th, 2009
2:51 pm

What , the party that boasts moral values ? They are rotten from top to bottom!!! Liarsall!!

Duh.....

June 24th, 2009
2:51 pm

I already knew he was somewhere with another woman! Damn shame…this world is slowly falling apart!

Fed Up

June 24th, 2009
2:51 pm

And now Obama wants to “dumb-down” the college aid application form because it’s too difficult for college-bound students to figure out! When you “dumb-down” the process, only dummies will be getting money for college. Can you believe this guy?

mlglenn

June 24th, 2009
2:51 pm

How many of us could have left town and not one person (including our spouse)know where we are?!?! And add to this fact that he is the governor of South Carolina!!!! And if he’s done it before, why come fly out of here in Atlanta??? Maybe his mistress met him there……he’s an idiot………..GO SCSU BULDOGS!!!!!

simple

June 24th, 2009
2:52 pm

NOW he needs to take a hike.

Citizen of the World

June 24th, 2009
2:52 pm

Another one bites the dust.

Cindy

June 24th, 2009
2:52 pm

another Republican bites the dust – isn’t this the “family values party”? LOL

jarvis

June 24th, 2009
2:52 pm

If I was a married governor, I too would be taking advantage of Argentine women seeking marriage counciling.

How many things are wrong with that sentence?

chris

June 24th, 2009
2:53 pm

Appalachian Trail, Argentinian Tail. Same thing to the family values crowd.

Voice of Reason #1

June 24th, 2009
2:53 pm

Can we just stipulate for all eternity: ALl MEN CHEAT. And modern-day women are catching up with the act as well. ALL MEN CHEAT. Period. And if you think ‘your’ husband isn’t, hasn’t or never will, he HAS or WILL.

John Henry Nations

June 24th, 2009
2:53 pm

“…five days of my life crying in Argentina.” —-Now that is rich.

Jeffrey in Grant Park

June 24th, 2009
2:54 pm

Governor Sanford, John Ensign is on the phone — he wants to thank you!

GAPeaches

June 24th, 2009
2:54 pm

Oh no, he has a chick on the side. I’m disappointed. So, you mean he wasn’t at Bulldog’s on Peachtree after all?

Kevin

June 24th, 2009
2:54 pm

Ahhh, yet another shining example of the GOP upholding family values.

I guess we should at least be thankful he was involved with a woman.

ntuj

June 24th, 2009
2:54 pm

LOL… Obviously he was thinking with the head between his legs and not the one on his shoulders. Better a woman than a another man.

jarvis

June 24th, 2009
2:55 pm

Voice of Reason, check your stats. Infidelity is on the decline.

notsurprised

June 24th, 2009
2:55 pm

And some folks have the gall to say that allowing Gays to marry will destroy the family and the moral foundation of America???!!! Oops… looks like the Heteros are beating us to it!

DHD

June 24th, 2009
2:55 pm

Maybe, he could have gotten away with it had he just pointed his finger to the camera and said “I did not have sex with that woman.” Or, if he would have just put the girl in his car and driven her into the river. Or, if he would have sex with a male page. Or….on and on it goes. It has nothing to do with party. It has to do with the fall of man. There will be MANY people making comment here who have done the same or worse. One thing about it, the Governor didn’t hold back with his confession. My opinion is that he should resign and get his family back.

spjacket

June 24th, 2009
2:55 pm

He obviously made a very dumb mistake. At least he didn’t try to deny initially like some other famous idiot. “It depends on what the definition of is, is”

RC

June 24th, 2009
2:56 pm

Now as the Clintonitas used to say, it’s none of our business. He had the decency to resign, unlike Billy boy!

BiteMe

June 24th, 2009
2:56 pm

Sorry to sound bitter, but I agree with Voice of Reason – And did anyone REALLY not realize he was having an affair? I knew that the minute the report came out that was “missing” – Pleaseeeeeeeeee……

I have realized marriage is a joke to most people. Sad, because I used to really want to get married. Now I realize how much better off I am being single and just having a dog – SCREW RELATIONSHIPS ALL TOGETHER!

Steve

June 24th, 2009
2:56 pm

Hey Voice of Reason . . .

There’s a reason we cheat . . . If y’all could figure that out, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation . . .
.

Lucas

June 24th, 2009
2:57 pm

Five bucks says next week it’ll come out that the other party’s a guy.

Tamika

June 24th, 2009
2:57 pm

This guy is a Big Fat Poop head!!

BiteMe

June 24th, 2009
2:58 pm

Please, Steve – DO enlighten us.

scott

June 24th, 2009
2:58 pm

I always knew he was a democrat

JimC

June 24th, 2009
2:59 pm

Another case where truth is stranger than fiction.

jarvis

June 24th, 2009
2:59 pm

notsurprised…I assume you are referring to our president?

asudst1992

June 24th, 2009
2:59 pm

I don’t give a hoot if a politician has cheated on his/her spouse. What does that have to do with me or the work that he/she should be doing? No human is exempt from sin or mistakes. Good grief, he doesn’t owe me an apology. I’m not married to him.

Ashley

June 24th, 2009
3:00 pm

I feel sorry for the citizens of South Carolina.

GT1

June 24th, 2009
3:00 pm

To Not Surprised: Don’t be stupid – moral corruption and infidelity knows no partisan boundary, contrary to what you might want to believe. I can recall many instances where a Democrat has found himself in similar circumstances. Apparently you forgot Bill Clinton and Monicagate.

Maryellen

June 24th, 2009
3:01 pm

Did taxpayers foot the bill for him to meet a girlfriend? This is the Governor that refused the stimulus money for his constitutes to receive additional unemployment funds. They can starve and he can fly to another country to wine and dine.

notsurprised

June 24th, 2009
3:01 pm

Hey, all you idiots making excuses for this guy or any other cheater… there is NO excuse!

John Henry Nations

June 24th, 2009
3:01 pm

“the relationship “sparked” while he was offering advice on her failing marriage.”

Give me a break–The Gov is such as wuss–he needs to man up. Running off with a presumably hot Argentine chick is every guys fantasy.

If he spins this correctly, he will become a living legend to the Bud Light crowd.

James

June 24th, 2009
3:01 pm

Mr. Galloway this is joke, right? Ahhh man, republicans are becoming irrelevant by the day.

ntuj

June 24th, 2009
3:02 pm

Sorry all men do not cheat. Just 99% of politicians and black men. …Oh shoot here I start with the race card. lol

Brad

June 24th, 2009
3:02 pm

Not all guys cheat… you just want to feel better about yourself by convincing yourself everybody does it. I don’t. Oh and don’t judge the entire party by a few cheating husbands. Most of us that vote for Conservatives do so because of fiscal policies. I don’t give a rip whether gays can marry or not… it doesn’t change my life either way.

John Coltraine

June 24th, 2009
3:03 pm

Looks he got a stimulus package after all.

Voice of Reason #1

June 24th, 2009
3:03 pm

The main issue here is that he didn’t have the sense to just tell the SC team (his staff, etc.), that he was going away for a few days; put the Lt. Gov in charge, etc. Go see your lover (if you must), but don’t just abandon your state when you are a governor. That was his political failure. Other than that, he is just a man.

The Gov

June 24th, 2009
3:05 pm

The stress of losing out on the bailout money and my affair left me with only one place to go….Exotic Argentina. I was going to go hiking, but I didn’t feel that the Appalachain Mountains were exotic enough for me to cry my eyes out for five days.
I sincerely apologize to my wife, family, constituents, and anyone who has become dumber by simply listening to my nonsense.