July 1st, 2009
05:06 PM ET

Jenny Sanford becomes the new political paradigm

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/30/borger.sanford/art.sanford.wife.cnn.jpg caption="Jenny Sanford did not stand beside her husband when he publicly admitted to having an affair. "]

Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

After years of watching those wives stand (sadly) by their men, there was something refreshing - and real - about Jenny Sanford's decision to be far, far away from the governor's apology tour.

After all, what would she have done when he rambled on and on about his love of his "adventure trips" on the Appalachian Trail when, it turns out, he wasn't hiking?

And would she have had to sweetly smile as her husband paid homage to her as a terrific "campaign manager"?

And what affect would she have had to adopt when the governor spoke about "that whole sparking thing" - his peculiar way of describing how an e-mail relationship developed into something else?

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soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. emad

    I am a psychiatrist who had extensive experience with cases at the interface of psychiatry and general medicine. What may look like social or psychlogical can be due to a medical problem. E.G. what is happening with Mr. Sanford ,the Governor, could be very well due to a frontal brain silent tumor. I mean silent in the sense of not producing other clear physical outer signs. His odd behavior is certainly wrong but it all could be in its all entirety due to a BRAIN TUMOUR. Please someone convince this gentleman at least to seek a comprehensive medical and psychiatric evaluation to check esp. for a brain tumour BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. Neuropsych testing plus an excellent BRAIN MRI can clear this situation and may save his life and his family's and those of others by raising awareness. Dr Sanjay Gupta, being a brain surgeon ,may be ideal to help check into differential diagnosis.. Please someone should convince him or his family to do it. It may take someone very close and trusted by him for him to do it. Such diagnosis is generally easily missed and can present with changes in personality, emotional problems,poor decision making, strange divulging of information,self-destruction,etc.... Please keep me informed and give me feedback as I may miss your referencing or comments about this email on tv. I am just concerned about this .family and the kids.

    July 2, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  2. Milton Smith

    Dude this guy is awesome, check him out he's damn near royal now and he didn't rob the country!

    July 2, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  3. Real T

    Jahy(NYC): You seem to go crazy over this issue that doesn't serve an individual pupose in your life. To broadcast that you actually think this infidelity had to do with race and culture reveals your mental level. Usually a person with the type of attitude you display , subjugate a personal low self esteem and self unworthiness. You show yourself to be unhappy. Get help. There are programs in every city that make help obtainable to anyone of all financial backgrounds. This situation is being handled in a way that the Mother feels is best for her children. She is to be commended for the way she "busted" him publicly. Even that was sweet and quiet. But in the end, you tolerate or not. In other words, "you funk or you walk". Oh!, walk to mental health.

    July 2, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  4. valerie

    You go girl? I say a big thumbs up to Mrs. Sanford. It's about time women start standing up for themselves and stop letting men walk all over them as if they're recyclble trash. the nerve of him to say that his mistress is his soul mate. Well, I say take you and your soul and hit the road and go ahead and make your date with your so called soul

    Women need to stop being door mats for sorry men who don't know how to keep it in their pants.

    July 2, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  5. Megan Eldridge

    Finally! I am so happy to see that Jenny Sanford is NOT "standing by her man" after he has made choices that have destroyed and publically embarrassed their family. It is so disappointing to watch wives of politicians and celebrities join their cheating husbands during their press conferences to “apologize” to the world for their behavior. When the wives do that I feel that they are saying to the world that they think power and money are more important than holding their husbands accountable for their actions. Jenny has made a clear, strong and positive statement to the world by not joining him during his press conference. Good for her!

    July 2, 2009 at 1:50 am |
  6. Christine


    If Mark Sanford was around at the time he would have supported the impeachment of JFK! He's a bible thumping, southern hypocrite – typical but the worst kind.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  7. Christine

    Hi Larry

    Re: Elizabeth Edwards.

    Yes, Jenny Sanford is acting differently than Elizabeth Edwards. Mrs Edwards has time and time again spoken out as an "apologist" for John Edwards, right down to blaming Rielle Hunter for luring her naive husband to have sex. Give me a break. John Edwards is anything but naive. He does however think he's pretty hot stuff with his $400.00 haircuts. Elizabeth Edwards sadly is terribly frightened because she is dying and she has said she "needs" her husband. She is terrified when she dies her husband will shack up with Rielle, their baby and John and Elizabeth's children. Jenny Sanford is in no way acting or speaking out as an apologist for Mark Sanford nor should she be. She is strong, she will thrive. Sadly Elizabeth Edwards is in a terribly vulnerable position. She might have been tougher herself if the situation were different and she wasn't facing such a nightmare – death and her husband's infidelity.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  8. Christine

    I admire Jenny Sanford enormously but I genuinely hope that at this point she has absolutely no intention of taking back her filandering husband. Mark Sanford is a piece of work and not a good one. He doesn't deserve his wife or family. When the fling ends in Argentina and wherever else he has anything going on, "where he crossed the line", make sure his bags are chucked out and forwarded on and that the locks are changed on both residences. Why should four impressionable young boys see this horrific, narcissistic, cruel, cadlike behavior? They need to know this is not how a man of integrity and good character behaves. He's humiliated his wife and family and he sealed the death of the marriage when he said he'd "try" and fall back in love with his wife. Don't do her any favors Mark – she doesn't need you – she will do better without you. He sounds like he might have been somewhat weird and insufferable to live with anyway.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  9. Gerry -Miami Beach

    Has anybody mentioned his skills as governor? Has he failed the South Carolina population? In many parts of the world a politician's infidelity is not such an issue as here in the States. There is so much hypocrisy in this arena. With divorce rates at 50% and the other 50% having committed some indiscretions. Who is innocent these days?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  10. Celyne

    Why doesnt Mr Sanford just get a divorce? Then he can be free to be with his 'Soul Mate'. Sounds simple to me!
    Instead he portrays himself as a victim, as one who's heart is acking. Get a divorce and get on with your life. His wife will be better for it rather than being humiliated on air by a man who says his wife is not his soulmate. He needs to grow some balls.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  11. rick

    This guy must be the biggest idiot to ever hold an office. I can ignore the infidelity that has become commonplace among these guys but his total lack of intelligence just blows me away. I wouldn't feel secure with someone with so little brainpower running my state.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  12. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    I think it is good that she is not publically standing with him while he addresses the adultry issues.....working on their marriage is a PRIVATE matter...not public.

    He cheated and he needs to face the press alone on why...at home they can work on the marriage stuff.

    I would ditch him personally...once you step out, you always will and you are a great liability.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  13. GF, Los Angeles, CA

    To: Jahy (NYC) yah Latina's rock so much I work with one who has 4 kids and she's only 27 and no she's not married to the father of her children because he'd rather "party" and lives with another woman (does that mean the other Latina woman rocks?). I do not envy being Latina at all if that means having a baby at 15 and not stopping until there's an additional 3 or 4 more before realizing the father of the babies aren't going to stick around. Yes I went there since you decided to bring up race into this issue.

    My main point is your imposition that Jenny Sanford didn't "do her job" as a wife. What about him "doing his job" as a husband and father? To blame a woman for her husband's infidelity is just wrong. If one day you were to discover your husband was cheating on you, would you think you weren't "doing your job" as you thought?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  14. Wormy

    We are sick to death of this lying, arrogant, conceded(where he thinks he got it I'll never know–NOT), idiotic, fool, so-called man/father down here. FINALLY, our other elected officials are trying to do something about his butt. HOPEFULLY they will force him to resign, and if he won't, then they need to start impeachment proceedings on him. Get him out of office. I'd rather have the Lt. Gov. in place of his love sick butt.

    A lot of us are tired of all this mess coming out of our state all the time. Its bad enough here, without all this junk.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  15. Chantal

    A note of support to Mrs. Jenny Sanford:
    Divorce your cheating husband for your emotional well being. You deserve much more in a man than this pig. You will teach your sons profound life lessons of how a strong woman should behave. You want your sons to be better men than their father. You want your future daughters-in-law to respect you. You want your grand daughters to look up to you. Stand strong, on your own terms, without compromise is the best legacy you can leave your sons. Nothing else matter.
    Good luck to you, I wish you the best in life. Someday soon may you find peace, happiness and an open heart the rest of your life and for a long long time.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  16. Anne

    Must admire Jenny Sanford and trust she will tell her husband not to bother "trying to fall back in love" - It is pretty clear the main person he loves is himself and doing whatever he jolly well pleases to boost his ego. He must have a serious personality problem - and the woman he has been fooling around with deserves him - for her part in this.
    Jenny, send him back with a bow around his you know what!

    July 1, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  17. Als

    Mrs Sanford can not stand by her man because he said in public that he does not care for her at all. He is in love with the mistress. Everybody can tell this marriage is over even if they dont want to admit it.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  18. Chris, Ohio

    Regardless of the "sex appeal" of the Latinas, the fact is that Sanford CHEATED on his wife. You know, the person he promised to "love above all others", etc in those vows? If he is a serial cheater then he DESERVES to lose everything. It is unfortunate that this played out to a national audience, I feel sorry for his wife and children – they don't deserve to be humiliated like this. It would seem his position as governer allowed him the time/opportunity to cheat on his wife and family. Power would seem to be it's own aphrodesiac after all. I have to applaud Jenny Sanford – rather then give tacit approval of her husband's actions by standing by him she put her children first. If more spouses did this, perhaps the cheaters would realize they have more to lose. Maybe not though. I know if my spouse cheated on me, they'd be out the door so fast they wouldn't have time to pack their stuff!

    July 1, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  19. Tina Conahey

    Oh thank God another wife of a politician is not standing by her man through infidelity. How humiliating to have to stand next to your husband in front of the world while he admits to cheating on you. After he called his mistress his "soul mate" and blabbed on and on about his feelings pubicly for his this woman I hope she has the dignity if not for her but for her kids to leave him.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  20. Sibyl Dannenberg

    Good for her! I was especially pleased when she said whatever happens to his career, the children and I will be OK. You go girl!
    A cheater, is a cheater, is a cheater!

    July 1, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  21. Lou Bouy

    Jenny is way cool! Like that classic old song "Take a Letter, Maria". He won't be coming back, he's gonna start a new life... In hot South Carolina, we're counting down until Sanford resigns on Friday July 3rd. Events like resignations always happen on the eve of a long holiday weekend. He most likely already has tickets to Argentina booked. Say good-bye to Mark! Ya'll are gonna just love his replacement – Andre Bauer (a southern greasy palmed boy if there ever was...)

    July 1, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  22. tommy

    guess the 4 boys must be teen agers,,difficult ages,,,,she should leave him,,she is well educated, she can get along w/o him ...

    July 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  23. george

    wish these wives would NOT stand by their men period,,,

    July 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  24. Jahy (NYC)

    Juan: I'm glad you enjoy the healthy sharing of opinions we are trying to have in this blog. I'm just very honest when I speak about issues. People go crazy over things that don't really serve their individual purpose in this life! I like to have fun with it though, after all i'm only exercising my "freedom of speech" right! 😉

    I guess Ms/Mrs GF(LA) above was not happy to hear that we Latinas rock! ooops, sorry about that!

    Pople just have to understand that nobody does anything to anyone, we are all the creators of our own reality! All I say is that I like the way Mrs Sanford is handling the situation. Some how, I guess she accepts her role in the events that unfolded! Life is good, let's all be happy! I like that she has kept her cool! "what you resist, persists"

    July 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  25. Larry

    Should JFK have been impeached for his sexual escapades while Jackie was pregnant? Talk about not being able to keep it in his pants; but then power is the biggest aphrodisiac.

    July 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  26. Juan

    Jahy, U crack me up!! And I agree with you btw. Latin women rock!!! Although I don't condone Gov. Sanford's actions, the Argentinian babe had to be something else in bed for a Governor to behave as stupidly and irrationaly as idiot Sanford did. For him to risk his political career like that either he's truly in love with "Evita Argentina" or he's getting the best sex ever which caused him to stop thinking straight a long time ago!! I'll go with the latter theory...LOL

    July 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  27. Carol B. in MD

    You're mistaken, Gloria, private citizen, estranged wives refuse to put up with this behavior, also. She's no hero. She's realizing she's been played in a very public manner and is just catching up. The sons (if not already) will eventually appreciate that their mother isn't a doormat. Yes, reconciliations may happen, but not with a mistress still in the picture & the spouse's burning, public declarations for her. Also, WHY does he deserve to keep his position when he left S.C. in a lurch for several days when there could have been a state emergency while he was AWOL and in hiding?

    July 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  28. Linda B., Ga.

    GOOD FOR YOU JENNY.....now kick is NO GOOD rearend out! You deserve better.....

    And IF this JOKE of a MAN remains Gov. of S. C. shame on their Legislature, for putting up with him.....

    July 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  29. Jocelyne

    What's the matter with all these politicians? Do they all have their brain in their shorts? or do they think that they should be allowed to do what ever they want and it is ok.....all the wives should walk away but have "big" "big" money to bring up their children....

    July 1, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  30. Jahy (NYC)

    GF: I will also, respectfully, blow your theory! I have never been "the other woman" and will never accept being one, I love and value myself too much! but I do make sure I take care of my husband the way he wants it and in a way we both enjoy. I am open for communication when things don't seem right in the relationship and look for ways to fix things before they get out of hand! However, sex (or lack of) is not the only thing that is the underlying factor in cases like this. Unfortunately, there are other factors in a relationship that often contribute to these kind of mistakes . That proves your point that this is not the only time he has done it..something is not right @ home and I blame both him and his wife for not being honest with one another about it before it all got to the public like it did!
    I don't applaud his lying, but if he isn't happy he should just get a divorce, and then be absolutely free to pursue whatever his souls needs/wants...I'm a Democrat by the way LOL

    July 1, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  31. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Infidelity is a very painful act of betrayal for the entire family. It is a deeply personal matter in determining whether or not a marriage and family can survive such a blow. I do respect Mrs. Sanford for putting her children before anyone else right now. Long after the media blitz is over, these boys will have to deal with what has happened between their parents. At least one of them is being an adult and doing what is right for the children.

    July 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  32. GF, Los Angeles

    To: Jahy (NYC) what a load of crock! Sanford wasn't only messing around with the woman in Argentina, he had other mistresses that he's admitting to so that blows your theory. Plain and simple the man is a jerk and a poor excuse for a father and husband. He should've never married in the first place. It's your attitude that gives men the excuse to cheat and it sounds like you wouldn't mind being that "other woman" – sad.

    July 1, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  33. Cindy (NJ Shore)

    I would have done the same thing......why should you stand next to your husband no matter how important he may be if he is as dispicable as this man. When Elliot Spitzers wife stood by him i thought to myself, what a fool! She sent a message to alot of cheating , lying men that "you can make sleep with other women, and we will still be the fool to support you. I say BS...Throw his butt out! There are plenty of men in this world that will be good to you and treat you with respect and love you for who you are...Never settle, because we are worth it!

    July 1, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  34. Goody two shoes

    Ya know? Some guys are just "Lesbian Makers". God bless their ugly , self-centered hearts?

    July 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  35. Jahy (NYC)

    Jenny Sanford certainly understands that if you don't give your man what he craves, then he will surely get it somewhere else...where else than in a Latina woman? sorry, but Latinas rock!!

    I do respect conservatism ideologies, but some women forget their roles as wives, partners, and tend to forget after years into a marriage, that men will forever crave passion and amazing sex!! As a matter of fact, we all do! It is our absolute duty to seek what pleases our soul, for our true mission in this physical life is to be happy..no matter what, no matter who!! 😉
    I like her attitude, there are many more important things in life than loosing sleep over men!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  36. Teresa, OH

    Yes, Mrs. Sanford is doing a fine job at dealing with this. I'm guessing it's because she has been through this with the old man a time or two already. Dude has probably told her a couple times he thinks he is in love with someone else. Whats a gal to do? She still has to take care of the kids cuz it's obvious the cheating spouse is a little busy.

    Mrs. Sanford: it's time to divorce. His little display of affection for his "soul mate" is making you look very foolish. There is no shame in divorce and as you know, the bible says you have God's permission to divorce in the event of adultery. : ) ... asking your permission to go visit someone he has done the deed with?

    Sexual affairs aren't so fun anymore when they become public. In fact, yawn, they're downright boring.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  37. Annie Kate

    I'm glad to see Mrs. Sanford show her dignity and self-respect by throwing this cheating husband out. It wouldn't matter if he were President – if he can't keep the vows of marriage he took to her then how confident are we that he will keep the vows of office over his desire to be with this woman? For too long political wives have subjugated their feelings and self respect so that their lying cheating husbands don't have to suffer publicly the embarrassment of abandonment or punishment for his cheating. I hope more political wives will take her stand – then we might see these political spouses behave better.

    One thing not mentioned in the post was how if Mrs. Sanford had played the traditional role of standing by her man she would have had to stand and listen to her husband say he was trying to "fall back in love" with his wife. That's cold. He doesn't make a very good role model for his sons or for other married men. The sooner he disappears from the news cycle the better.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  38. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Good for her! The man is an inept cad and scoundrel! I knew I liked her when she was approached by the media and instead of a statement said she was taking her family on a boat. Hey Governor Sanford looks like your family can have fun without you! Probably more so!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  39. Melissa

    Its about time Republican women got guts.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  40. Larry

    Is Sanford's wife behaving any differently than John Edward's wife?

    July 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |