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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And these are the guys who lecture LGBT people on 'the sanctity of marriage'?

South Carolina Governor Sanford admits extramarital affair
By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA (Reuters) - South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford tearfully admitted on Wednesday he had been unfaithful to his wife, likely ending any chance he might be a Republican contender for the U.S. presidency in 2012.

Sanford resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors' Association and was replaced by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, another possible 2012 candidate.

"Any aspirations for 2012, if he had any, are certainly out of the question," said Robert Oldendick, a political scientist at the University of South Carolina.

Sanford's confession at a tumultuous news conference ended days of speculation over his whereabouts. After he disappeared last week, his staff first said he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It later emerged he had traveled to Argentina to be with his lover, leaving his family over Father's Day weekend.

Asked if he was alone during the Argentina trip, he replied: "Obviously not".

Shedding tears, Sanford apologized to his wife Jenny, his family, friends and staff when he made the shock announcement after returning on Wednesday from Buenos Aires.

Admitting his affair, Sanford said he had "developed a relationship" with a "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," he said.

"But here recently over this last year it developed into something much more than that. And as a consequence, I hurt her. I hurt you all. I hurt my wife. I hurt my boys. I hurt friends ... I hurt a lot of different folks."

Sanford was one of several Republican governors seen as possible 2012 presidential candidates. Others include Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

As chairman of the Republican Governors' Association, Sanford has been one of the party's most visible spokesmen at a time when its fortunes in Washington are at a low ebb.

Last week, Senator John Ensign, another potential Republican presidential contender in 2012, announced he had an affair and resigned from the Senate leadership.

HIKING STORY

Apologizing for his "selfishness", Sanford asked for "a zone of privacy" for his wife Jenny and their four sons.

He did not identify the woman in the affair, whom he said was separated from her husband and had two boys.

South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham offered his support to his fellow Republican: "I hope Mark will reconcile with his family and can continue serving as governor," he said in a statement. Sanford's final term as governor ends in 2011.

When U.S. media had reported Sanford's whereabouts were unknown since last Thursday, and that even his wife did not know where he was, his aides had said he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States.

They said he needed a break after a tough state legislative session. During his absence, some South Carolina politicians accused him of abdicating responsibility in state affairs.

Sanford flew back from Argentina to Atlanta early on Wednesday. He initially told a reporter for The State, South Carolina's biggest newspaper, he had changed earlier plans and decided at the last minute to go to Argentina and drive along its coastline.

Sanford gained prominence this year by opposing Democratic President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill and rejecting $700 million of South Carolina's portion of the funds on grounds the law was reckless and would undermine the state's fiscal stability.

The state's Supreme Court ruled this month that the federal cash must be accepted.

(Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan in Washington and Jane Sutton in Miami, Editing by Alan Elsner and Pascal Fletcher)

14 comments:

Lapinbizarre said...

The Little Woman is out for blood and no question. Here and here. Moral - don't screw around on your wife when she's as bloody-minded as you are - she was his campaign manager - and richer.

Actually, that this came out in the first place is also almost certainly payback from the State's "moderate" Republicans (like we have moderate Republicans in South Carolina!) for his recent antics re the stimulus package.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks for the links, Lapin - sorry as they are. The emails are heartbreaking. I can't imagine what his wife felt when she read them - and I'm sure she has. Her words take the high road, but I have no greater confidence in her telling the truth than in his ability to tell the truth. It's all religious language as window dressing.

Lapinbizarre said...

As regards the wife, absolutely so, though their four sons are a different matter. Poor little things looked like automatons at his second swearing in. The full emails are to be published in tomorrow's State. I really don't want to read them, though on the basis of what has already come out they may put him in the running for the Literary Review's 2009 Bad Sex Award.


"Bad Sex Award".

Kirkepiscatoid said...

OMG. If some man sent me e-mails like that, even if I DID have the hots for him, I would puke.

But mostly, isn't it interesting that it used to be the Dems who got in "sex trouble", and now it's the GOP?

Oh, the world just ain't what it used to be.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

Self Loathing is always more attractive when its projected onto someone else.

The affair issue is between him and his wife. His out of pocket adventure, leaving the state without a governor for no apparent reason is another matter entirely.

That is the kind of behavior I would expect from a teenager or a 20 something. Not the governor of South Carolina, and I dont care which party he belongs too.

Марко Фризия said...

Yeah, and they don't think "sexually immoral" gay people should serve in the military, too. The hypocrisy is of these people is breathtaking. I really think Republicans are destroying their own anti-gay "family values" program without any help from us.

DeanB said...

I loved the Boston Globe's editorial cartoon today,
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/outofline/2009/06/gov_sanford_sings.html

Frair John said...

Schadenfreude may not be a very Christian feeling, so I must confess it.

I've had the giggles for hours.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

This is a sad story. I was struck by the Governor's list of people that he had hurt. The other wome was at the head of the list, followed by those present at the press conference, and then his wife - not by name - and his sons - not their sons. Don't know what to make of it except that all those relationshops are in flux.

Lapinbizarre said...

There's a bank of those TV trucks with satellite dishes - 10 or so of them - parked beside the State House this afternoon, so it looks like the centipede may be getting ready to drop yet another shoe. Seems that Sanford was down in Argentina last year, getting a bit at the taxpayers' expense. This will not play well, particularly in light of Sanford's much-touted role as standard-bearer for "fiscal responsibility".

As they say, "it's the hypocrisy, Stupid!"

Lapinbizarre said...

No substitute for posting on a dead thread, but this piece on closeted SC politicians somehow slipped by me when it was published ten days ago. All three are Republican. Surprise. The three names include, in addition to "The Usual Suspect", the Speaker pro tem of the State Senate - powerful man, obviously - and our boy-wonder Lt Governor André Bauer, currently, thanks to Sanford's antics, our potential governor. The source of this is impeccable. Linda Ketner ran for the lst Congressional SC district last fall as an openly gay Democrat. And almost won. In SC.

Марко Фризия said...

Do you think the reason Sanford is hanging on to the job (and isn't being impeached or asked to resign) is because they would rather have an adulterer remain in office than a not-so-closeted gay man move from Lt. Governor to the governor;s office?

Lapinbizarre said...

I don't think it's the main reason, Marko. It suits the Democrats to have Sanford in office come the next gubernatorial elections, even tho' he can't run for a third term, and it also suits all but one (Bauer) of the candidates in an already pretty crowded field of Republican candidates. If Bauer gets the job now, as a sitting candidate he'll likely have a substantial edge over any other candidate. One of the funny parts of this is that notwithstanding a couple of scandals, neither sexual in nature, one of Bauer's principal bases is the upstate radical right.

Gives a wonderful twist to the London Transport advertising campaign there was such a fuss about a few months back.

Lapinbizarre said...

ps today's "State" says that it has received tips about Sanford's involvement with at least three other women. If any one of those is substantiated, I think he'll be in far greater trouble than he already is, not least with the Little Woman, who, it is becoming increasingly clear, is at least twice the man her husband is. I've seen several posts stating that the wrong Sanford was elected governor.