David Mattingly | BIO
There were tears in his eyes and no ring on his finger. Governor Mark Sanford stood in front of the cameras to explain his year-long affair with a woman from Argentina.
His wife released a statement saying she asked him to leave two weeks ago and now believes Sanford has "earned a chance to resurrect our marriage."
The people of South Carolina may not be so forgiving. Sanford left the country, misled his staff about his whereabouts and was unreachable for almost five days. His many critics will not let this transgression go.
Tonight on 360°, the confession from the governor of South Carolina. Mark Sanford admitting today that he's had an affair with a woman in Argentina. All that talk about him hiking on the Appalachian Trial. Wrong. He was in Buenos Aires. We'll have all the latest developments, including details on the so-called other woman.
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David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing
I am so proud of my friend Mark Sanford. OK, to be fair, we've never met. But after using "hiking the Appalachian Trail" as an excuse for some very different endeavor, I feel he's a something of kindred spirit - at least in his creative use of excuses.
No, I have no plans to fool around on my wife. First, she's a hottie (and I love her dearly). And second, I'm not a Republican, so I'm not uptight and repressed. I'm also not a Democrat, so I have a spine.
But I am a writer and we writers are always looking for good excuses. Oh, my article's late. Sorry, I was "hiking the Appalachian Trail". Oh, forgot to take the trash out. Couldn't. I was "hiking Appalachian Trail". I didn't sneak out to buy a box of Krispy Kremes. Oh, no. I was "hiking the Appalachian Trail". Didn't get my (fill in the blank here) in on time. Well, you know, I was "hiking Appalachian Trail".
The story of Mark Sanford's meteoric rise to Great American Jackass has the makings of a movie of the week. There's vast sums of money, greedy political maneuvering, a disappearing politician, and, unusual for a Republican, a woman. At least it wasn't some quality man-on-man humpadump from yet another "I'm not gay" leading light of the Republican party.
The mystery is over. All those questions over the whereabouts of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford were answered today. He's confessed to having an affair with a woman in Argentina. He wasn't hiking the Appalachian Trail. He was in Buenos Aires to be in the arms of his mistress.
There were tears at Sanford's new conference. And, surprisingly, there were a lot of details on how his eight year e-mail relationship with a "friend" turned into an extramarital affair. We'll show you some of those e-mails.
We also have the explosive new details from Iran where police and the militia were out in full force. Protesters were fleeing. We'll have the latest.
Join us for these stories and more starting at the top of the hour.
See you then!
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford told the woman with whom he was having an affair they were "in a hopelessly impossible situation of love" last year when he was thought to be under consideration for the Republican vice presidential nomination, according to e-mails obtained by The State newspaper.
The Columbia-based newspaper, which acquired the e-mails in December, told CNN that the governor's office had confirmed their authenticity on Wednesday. When contacted by CNN, a spokesman for the governor would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the e-mails. The e-mails between the GOP governor and a Buenos Aires, Argentina, resident named "Maria," were exchanged in July of last year, according to the newspaper.
In one July 10 message, Sanford told the woman about his plans to take a family vacation and meet with then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain who "has kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home ..." before he veered into more emotional territory.
"You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty," Sanford wrote, according to the e-mails published on the newspaper's Web site. "I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night's light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ..."
"…while all the things above are all too true - at the same time we are in a … hopelessly impossible situation of love…." he added. "How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes ..."
Earlier, "Maria" - whose full name has not yet been released - also proclaimed her devotion in a July 9 e-mail. "You are my love ... something hard to believe even for myself as it's also a kind of impossible love, not only because of distance but situation," she wrote. "Sometimes you don't choose things, they just happen ... I can't redirect my feelings and I am very happy with mine towards you."
John O'Connor, the newspaper reporter who wrote the story about thee-mails, told CNN Wednesday afternoon that The State did not confront Sanford with the messages in December because at the time "there was little way to tell that these were authentic e-mails."
O'Connor said that given the recent events surrounding Sanford, the paper then decided to approach the governor's office with the e-mails. Sanford, who had been considered a potential candidate for the 2012 presidential campaign, admitted the affair Wednesday.
The affair began in the last year and was discovered five months ago, Sanford told reporters without elaborating. He added that he and his wife were trying to work through it.
The South Carolina governor had not been seen in public since June 18. When questioned, Sanford's staff had told media outlets that he was hiking in the Appalachian Trail. But Sanford was spotted Wednesday in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Sanford said he had been in Buenos Aires, adding it was his fault for "shrouding this larger trip."
CNN Political Producer
Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.
It's unknown if Sanford spent time with the woman during the trade mission, but the governor explained Wednesday that his relationship with a woman in Argentina "sparked into something more" than just a friendship "about a year ago." He said he has known the woman for about eight years.
Sanford's office said the trip, like other trade missions, was organized by the Department of Commerce, not by the governor.
The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week in June 2008, beginning on June 21.
After spending three days in Brazil, the delegation arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on June 24 — one year ago to the day Sanford emotionally admitted an extramarital affair at the state house in Columbia.
The following day, the group traveled to Buenos Aires — the city Sanford went back to last week, during his mysterious absence — for the final two nights of the trip. Members of the delegation were scheduled to stay at the Hilton Buenos Aires, located in the city's Puerto Madero district.
Photojournalist Beau Molloy shoots b-roll of Roxana by the Eiffel Tower.
Roxana Saberi holds a memorial event in front of the Eiffel Tower to mark 1 year in prison for her former cellmate Silva Harotonian.
AC 60º Producer
Could I zip from London to Paris to produce Anderson's interview with Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist recently released from a Tehran prison?
That's the question I got from New York last week, and that's how I came to be aboard the 9:26am Eurostar this morning, a high-speed train that makes the trip from London to Paris in just over two hours. Photojournalist Beau Molloy, engineer Alex Platt and I headed straight to a press conference Roxana was holding.
Saberi was calling attention to her former cellmate in Iran, Silva Harotonian, who marks one year in prison today. Afterward, we shot a ceremonial event and video of Roxanna in front of the Eiffel Tower video, as Anderson made his way from vacation to Paris to interview her the next morning.
Now we're getting settled at the Paris bureau, setting up Anderson's live shot for tonight and deciding what to order for dinner. (I wanted something authentically French but got overruled by sushi fans). It's going to be a beautiful shot tonight... from the Paris bureau's excellent location right on the Champs Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe lit up behind Anderson.
And we have lots of caffeine on hand, since AC360 is on at 4am Paris time... As soon as we finish tonight's live shot, we'll begin to set up for the interview with Roxana. Sleep is less important when work is so exciting, and I figure we can always nap on the Eurostar on the way home.
Today’s admission by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford that he made a secret trip to Argentina where he was having an affair with a woman may be interesting, but it is definitely not unprecedented in American politics. Tonight on AC360° we dig deeper into what makes these political figures take such risks. For a quick refresher, here are some notable apologies and mea culpas over the years.
Gov. Mark Sanford (R – South Carolina)
June 24, 2009
In a news conference:
“And so the bottom line is this: I have been unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship with a - what started as a dear, dear friend from Argentina. It began very innocently as I suspect many of these things do, in just a casual e-mail back and forth in advice on one's life there and advice here.
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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel listen as President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference yesterday.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.
I personally believe that the greatest legacy I will leave behind in this world is not the job I held on Wall Street, or the campaigns I managed for Mark, or the work I have done as First Lady or even the philanthropic activities in which I have been routinely engaged. Instead, the greatest legacy I will leave in this world is the character of the children I, or we, leave behind. It is for that reason that I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark, and their potential damage to our children.
I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity, dignity and importance of the institution of marriage. I believe that has been consistently reflected in my actions. When I found out about my husband’s infidelity I worked immediately to first seek reconciliation through forgiveness, and then to work diligently to repair our marriage. We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.
This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage. During this short separation it was agreed that Mark would not contact us. I kept this separation quiet out of respect of his public office and reputation, and in hopes of keeping our children from just this type of public exposure. Because of this separation, I did not know where he was in the past week.
I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.
Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.
This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family.