After days of speculation and misinformation, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) today admitted that he had spent the past week in Argentina — not on the Appalachian trail, as his staff originally told the press — with a woman with whom he has been having an affair.
As the New York Times notes, the press conference “began rather oddly, with Mr. Sanford rambling about his love for the Appalachian trail, his exhaustion from a legislative battle over the federal stimulus and a need to get away from the public eye.” Sanford, who is married and has four children, eventually admitted that he has been having an affair with an Argentine woman. He also announced that he would be resigning as head of the Republican Governors Association. Watch it:
While serving as a U.S. congressman, Sanford was incredibly critical of his colleagues’ marital misdeeds, including the affairs of former congressman Bob Livingston and President Bill Clinton:
“The bottom line, though, is I am sure there will be a lot of legalistic explanations pointing out that the president lied under oath. His situation was not under oath. The bottom line, though, is he still lied. He lied under a different oath, and that is the oath to his wife. So it’s got to be taken very, very seriously.” [Sanford on Livingston, CNN, 12/18/98]
“We ought to ask questions…rather than circle the wagons for one of our tribe.” [Sanford on how the GOP reacts to affairs, New York Post, 12/20/98]
“I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.” [Sanford on Clinton, The Post and Courier, 9/12/98]
“The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of Democratic government, representatives government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.” [Sanford on Clinton, CNN, 2/16/99]
Sanford has also been an opponent of same-sex marriage, saying in 2004, “As Jenny and I are the parents of four little boys, we’ve always taught our kids that marriage was something between a man and a woman.” [The Post and Courier, 2/11/04]
A Fox News chyron listed Sanford as a Democrat.
,Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) — who has also been floated as a potential 2012 candidate — has taken over as head of the RGA.
,Jim Geraghty at the National Review writes:
There will be an effort to impeach Sanford, a Republican strategist with ties to South Carolina tells me. “He’s going to have to resign. It’s South Carolina.”
His rivals in the state legislature were among those fanning the flames of “Where the hell is he?”questions yesterday.
,Former South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson today said that there will likely be heavy pressure on Sanford to resign. “That call will come at a fevered pitch shortly,” he said, adding, “It’s important to hold our leaders accountable, and Gov. Sanford has flunked that test.”
,The State posted excerpts from the e-mails between Sanford and Maria.