June 24th, 2009
09:47 PM ET

A governor's tears – and legacy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/24/south.carolina.governor/art.gov.sanford.scetv.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford chokes up on Wednesday as he admits to having an affair."]

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

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.

Filed under: 360° Radar • David Mattingly
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Dee Pisciella, Virginia

    The Governor just found this might hurt people? If state employees who work for this guy suddenly abandoned their job for days, go "totally out of pocket" and then come up with this lame excuse, they would be fired. Let alone leaving his state exposed to no one running the government. Lust or responsibility- the Governor picked his own priority. Governor, you need some focus. So resign and spend your days focusing on how you will every apologize, have remorse and repair the damage you have done to lots of people who believed in you, and worse, trusted you. No resignation??? Fire him.

    June 25, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  2. for real

    Gov. Sanford,
    left his wife, the state he took a oath to govern,( s.c.) even his kids?....the kids,couldnt call to say happy fathers day. because NOBODY knew how to contact him?.......poor kids....the state of south carolina will be just fine.....as soon as he resign... that would be the honorable thing for him to do. oops, did i say honorable?......sorry kids we cant impeach him as your daddy.

    June 25, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  3. Sylvia

    Not so fast...I smell a rat. He has been carrying on an affair with a woman (???) for a year who he has only seen three times? I am sorry, but I don't buy this Pinocchio's tears and explanation. First, check his back accounts or follow the money. Are we sure it was a she he was with? Not that I care one way or another, but these politicians like to pontify to the rest of us.

    June 25, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  4. BettyAnn,Nacogdoches,TX

    Boo hoo hoo. I smell a well deserved divorce. What a pig. No offense to pigs.

    June 25, 2009 at 9:15 am |

    To Carla in Ohio, that was really funny!! lol

    June 25, 2009 at 9:00 am |

    All I can say is " what an idiot" .

    June 25, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  7. Lilly Collette

    When Mark Sanford was first running for governor he was duly informed and warned about criminal acts of misconduct by officers of the family court. The family court was indeed no more than a criminal industry. Sanford had people believing that he would look into the matter upon election.

    Perhaps Jenny Sanford will give Mark cause to remember some empty promises there.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  8. D Jackson

    I really, hope that he didn't take taxpayer money for that trip down to South America after hearing all that noise about how he didn't want to take the stimulus money because it was taxpayer money or whatever.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  9. Dot Jam

    The behavior of this man leads me to believe he is seriously out of control of his life and his judgement is affected. He is in no shape to be Governor of a state.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:14 am |
  10. Gordon (Fort Myers, Florida)

    FAT Teddy Kennedy actually killed a 28 year old woman in the prime of her life and waited till the next day to report the accident to authorities. He pled out 7 days after the accident and served no jail time.

    Mary Jo Kopechne was his mistress and she's dead.

    Get over yourselves DUMBOCRATS!

    June 25, 2009 at 6:30 am |
  11. TheDankFrankSays

    When did CNN stop reporting the news? Is this supposed to be interpreted as foreign relations or as viewer marketing?

    June 25, 2009 at 3:04 am |
  12. Joan, Berkeley CA

    Hopefully, this will put an end to his political career period. Refusing stimulus money for the most vulnerable in NC to garner favor and bolster his popularity to fulfill presidential ambitions – and THEN, cheating on his wife, ditching his kids on fathers day, lying to his staff and abandoning the people he was elected to serve while shrouded in hypocrisy is UNCONSCIONABLE. This man is a national disgrace and should be impached.

    June 25, 2009 at 2:13 am |
  13. Paula - Texas

    This is a private matter between his wife and family not the entire world. His irresponsibility was not giving adequate contact information as to his whereabouts. If he had covered those bases we wouldn't even be discussing this matter. We should accept his apology (which he didn't owe us anyway) and allow him to move on with his job. Whatever he and his wife work out regarding this matter is none of our business!

    June 25, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  14. King Solomon

    As someone said on Larry King show sast night that the Governor is nuts, Is true and I believe he is frustrated and confused as you could see, but in reality I don't think he is that type of person so he need not to resign.

    June 25, 2009 at 1:14 am |
  15. angelina

    it never ceases to amaze me the power of a woman! men do the absolutely stupidest things in the world on our behalf! hahaha... "i'm walking the appalachian trail, oh, i mean flying to argentina for a few days..."

    June 25, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  16. vern beard

    The Governor is not a smart man at all. He should have made arrangements to put the Lt. Governor in charge while he took his extended leave of absence. No one else would have ever had reason to question where he was and what he was doing.hwwould

    June 24, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  17. Dian Sullivan

    I am proud to be a native South Carolinian; however, Sanford clearly has personal problems as most people have mentioned. Therefore, since they are personal problems, he should resign immediately and without hesitation for the sake of the reputation of S.C. and to go seek professional help for himself. To leave our State without notifying anyone in case anything proves most definitely he is not worthy and is not professional enough to be in charge of our State. Clinton keeps being mentioned; however, when his "transgression" was exposed, he most definitely was at least in the White House!!! Sanford is selfish and most definitely does not have the citizens of S.C. first and foremost in his thinking, if any!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  18. Luke Brown

    Anderson & Candy:

    Sanford is one of those people who is a "little liar." They tell little lies until it looks like they aren't going to work ... then they tell other more convoluted lies in the hopes they will.

    You can be sure that the story the Governor put out today is going to unravel in significant ways.

    Here's why.

    Even as recently as this morning, he was coming back to SC telling reporters that he was like most guys who just need to get away once in a while. He said he needed to go somewhere "exotic, and Buenos Aires is a great city." That didn't pass the giggle test. Then it was all about getting away from the kids so he could have some solitude. He said he went for a long drive up the coast from Buenos Aires ... that's California, pal, not Argentina. There is no such road.

    He tried to say that he had told his family about his plans ... but it didn't work since the wife wasn't playing ball. He obviously had no plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, but even today tried to say that he told his staff that was where he was going before he left. Funny, that no staff member remembered that.

    The Governor is very much in love with this woman, Maria. He never said he ended the affair when he went down there. He said he was sorry he hurt his wife ... but she was the third person he named that he was sorry he hurt. The first one he named was his girlfriend. Notice how concerned he was about her feelings as he carefully told us what a "dear, dear" friend she was.

    Jenny Sanford thinks he is trying to reconcile with her. She said that without having read the emails between Maria and her husband. This wasn't just a roll in the hay, and Jenny is going to see that when all these emails come out. Mark and Maria are very much in love. If he was working on reconciling with Jenny ... what the heck was he doing in Argentina to be with his lover? He said he was crying for the past FIVE days that he was with Maria. Crying? About what? That Jenny had found out?

    My prediction? He will resign within a week, and blame the news media and his political enemies... and see how long that line works for him.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  19. jay

    The Governor from South Carolina has some spice in his life.I like to see her pic, was she worth running off to have casual sex outisde the home or for that matter the United States.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  20. Carla in Ohio

    I think the new buzzword will be "hiking the Appalachian trail"....

    June 24, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  21. Tamela

    He is very sorry....sorry he got caught. What kind of father leaves his children on fathers day to have sex with his mistress? I live in Columbia, SC and am disgusted with his lies.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  22. Victoria

    I don't believe a thing this guy said. The only reason he confessed is that everyone in the U.S. was aware of his mysterious absence. He knew this woman for eight years. Are we to believe that the affair started a year ago? I don't think so. This was probably a long term affair. I say check his passport and his charges.

    A Governor who thinks with his little head instead of his big head should not be entrusted with the public’s good. He very selfishly put the people of his state at risk. He is not fit to be trusted with a public office

    June 24, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  23. Laura

    How has he "earned a chance to resurrect the marriage?" He has earned nothing but a swift kick in the ass! Bottom line – he knew he was married, she knew he was married, it was wrong PERIOD!!! Don't people believe in the marriage vows they take anymore?! Vows before God to remain faithful to your partner!! Just because he cries his crocodile tears at a press conference doesn't mean he is remorseful or that he deserves another chance. I hope his wife thought long and hard before taking him back. And if that Argentinian whore has any sense at all, she will stay the hell away from him or risk the wrath of the woman scorned!

    June 24, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  24. Maxine - Columbia, SC

    He should do the right thing and resign. He obviously have some issues he is dealing with spiritually and internally that has interfered with his ability to govern the State of South Carolina. He indicated in one of the emails that his heart is with that woman in Argentina. Hello! the man is going through some conflicting emotions. That was also made obvious by his teary-eyed press conference.

    As a resident of South Carolina, I don't want my Governor bogged down with personal conflicting issues involving his mistress and wife. I'm also concerned about his dereliction of his duties and I'm so tired of the hypocrisy – stop quoting biblical principles already if you're not going to be true to them.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  25. Brinamax

    Does it really matter. We are talking SC not the USA. We are not talking about our US President (who represents the United States). We are talking one state. I don't care what one state congressmen does. He can have Monica L. blow him and I don't care. Even my state of TX but a US representative for our whole country I do care. Should he be allowed to run for president.....No! He has lost that seat. You screw, you lose. None of us are perfect but if you want to lead the US then you better be pretty damn close.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  26. John Borkowski

    This guy is such an actor. He knew what he was doing and knew that there was no way his affair would always stay a secret. He's only crying because he got caught. Say goodbye to 2012. It's clear there will be no President Sanford in the near future or any future for that matter.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  27. Nancy

    Reading his emails on tv is just plain wrong on so many levels. Report the story, but this is too far

    June 24, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  28. J. H.

    The Gov. made his private life part of the deal when he used his family values as part of his political platform. He claims his values determine how he governs. To say that his private life isn't part of the issue ignores the fact that he discriminates against some of us and makes decisions for all of us based upon those values and his religion. Religious laws he himself chose not to live by.

    I am sorry his wife and children have to live out his transgressions in a public forum. But I am not sorry that he will be judged for his hypocrisy.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  29. susan - Midwest USA

    How long before the articles of impeachment?
    Dereliction of duty – to the state. Left without being able to be contacted. Some might say that even to go to the Appalachian Trail (out of state) would constitute reason to relinquish power to the Lt Gov. (some states dictate this).

    In the 50s and 60s (and prior) this marital infidelity was purely a private thing. But, at least stop being sanctimonious about family values. Please.

    (And especially dont tell me these are American values.)

    June 24, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  30. Pam

    Give me a break! Mr. Sanford needs to get off his high horse and step down from his position as Govenor of South Carolina. Yes he is human and all humans make mistakes, but he has a responsibility to his constituents.
    By leaving his post to and using taxpayer money to have a secret rendevous in Argentina is appalling and outright disgusting. He only aplogized because he is concerned about his political image and position.
    He obviously has some serious personal issues, which need to be addressed ASAP because they are interfering with his ability to make sound judgement decisions. Mr. Sanford needs to seek counseling and work through his personal issues now.
    How can he be trusted to not leave his post at whim in the near future. All govenors are human, some govenors have extramarital affairs, but what govenor would abandon his family and his state.?!! This is not acceptable behavior.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  31. sdwoo

    The affair is personal between the wife, husband and mistress. Please leave it there. However, Mark Sanford can be marked off the potential 2012 presidential list!

    One would say that things are looking great for Sarah Palin to become the leader and presidential nominee for the republican party of 2012 because all the front male runners are to busy playing the field.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  32. greg

    im sorry i cant simpathise with him,he is one of the main politicians preaching high morals and doing the right thing,i think he should go stand in the unemployment line where he refused the stimulus money for unemployment insurance for the south carolinians

    June 24, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  33. Sandra Robertson, GA

    I listened to Gov. Sanford's news conference and felt compassion for all involved, including the people of S.C., but especially for his family. I am sure his wife and children have shed quite a few tears as well. It is a shame this kind of thing becomes so public and even comical to some. But when you are a public figure, that is the price one must pay.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  34. Aimee TUNGA

    we all should forgive the Gov.Mark because Jesus forgive the women who did the same in the Bible and don't forget to pray for his family specialy his 4 sons thanks.TUNGA Aimee.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  35. Carla in Ohio

    I think all this means the governor is an advocate of off-shore drilling.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  36. Paul

    Mr Sanford ,Bill Clinton not so bad now.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  37. Puzzled

    Just glad she wasn't trottted out with him during his "apology."

    June 24, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  38. rich sottilaro

    When is this jerk going to resign, The lieutenant gov. was on msnbc last night and was taking about wild fires ravaging south carolina and this jerk takes a hike....no takes a vacation to clear his brains but he doesn't have any just like all the other republicans involved in scandal and the list keeps growing. People is this what you want in a potential presidential candidate for 2012. The republicans don't have a chance in 2012 if they keep lying vote against the president and just basically do nothing!! Bring on Sara in 2012 it's definite loss in 2012. All the republicans should take a hike on the entire Appalacian Trial and try to find themselves which I hope never happens. Down with the republican party.


    June 24, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  39. Cheeco

    Look, Clinton made this sort of thing famous and he was the President. So what is all the fuzz about this guy? How many Senators have had affairs, hired prostitutes, had sex with a member of the same sex? They've all been voted in by the american people. Now, go figure that.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  40. Dave, SC native

    The only real problem I have with this is that this guy and all his Republican cronies continue to spout nonsense about the "sanctity of marriage" in defense of their homophobic stances on marriage equality. It's hypocritical and just plain tasteless.

    I don't care that he had an affair. I care that he has no ground on which to LEGISLATE stupid, hurtful claims and laws regarding other peoples FUNCTIONAL relationships.

    (That said, I totally read the published emails and thought, on some level... they were kind of sweet. But obviously the guy wasn't an English major– yikes, the prose!)

    June 24, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  41. Cheeco

    People, THIS IS NOT NEWS. Bill Clinton was the first to shine light on affairs and scandals. Nothing has changed. Why is this a shock to anyone. Senators, Presidents or whom ever have sex with whom they please. They are self-centred, liars and should not be representing our country. If Perez can get a contestant fired, think what these guys could do.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  42. Annie Kate

    Leaving the state with no way to get in touch with him and no one who knew where he was, was the Governor's biggest transgression as far as his office goes. That should be what is examined – not his private life. His mistakes in his private life should be left alone for him, his wife, and the girlfriend to work through – not the press or the American people or party officials. None of us are perfect and we don't need to heave stones at someone else.

    June 24, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  43. Tim Gibson

    Cry me a river. I guess Mr. Sanford's stand that marriage is between one man and one woman has not solid foundation after this.

    Why is it that the dog who barks the loudest is always the one doing what he stands against in public. To many closets in politics and they must be getting crowded as more and more of the faithful come out of the darkness they preach and into the light of their real identity.

    Family values rule. Oh, did I get that wrong.

    June 24, 2009 at 8:54 pm |