(CNN) - Gov. Mark Sanford did not spend the last five days hiking the Appalachian Trail - as his staff had indicated - but was instead in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the South Carolina Republican told The State newspaper Wednesday.
Spotted returning from the trip in the Atlanta airport Wednesday morning, Sanford said he had considered hiking the Appalachian Trail after his state's busy legislative season came to end but instead decided on a more "exotic" trip.
"I wanted to do something exotic. It's a great city," said Sanford of his five-day getaway that appeared to leave his entire staff and family in the dark about his whereabouts. Sanford also said no one else accompanied him on the trip.
Sanford wouldn't tell the newspaper exactly what he did in the South American country, besides take a drive along the coastline.
The South Carolina governor also said he hadn't planned to return until Thursday, but came back earlier after his chief of staff contacted him to say the story of his whereabouts was drawing widespread media attention.
Sanford expressed surprise the story was attracting such attention, saying it's not unusual for him to take such trips.
"I would get out of the bubble I am in," he said.
In a short interview with CNN Tuesday, Sanford's wife Jenny said she still has not talked to her husband since he left last Thursday and did not know where he went.
How deceitful can you be, Mr. Sanford?
He sounds like an odd fella. Personally, it really is none of our business. And this is coming from a person that doesn't jibe with his policies. However, it is his family's and state's business. All the best SC.
SCUM BAG! He probably went to sleep around with a bunch of women...i hope this guy gets impeached!
I don't blame you for getting away at all...the public offices can be very stressful. It is dangerous to just go off on your own without notice though...especially a foreign country. They should just squash this story and move on.
Something's very fishy here. Away from your family on Father's Day? Sounds like another Elliot Spitzer type thing to me.
Okay, you were in Argentina without telling anybody-fine, let the voters decide if that's important. So why did your staff say you were hiking? Seriously, where the hell did that come from? And why didn't you even tell your wife?
What a nut job!
This is weird and suspicious. I think we can eliminate Sanford as a Presidential candidate for 2012. WHOOPPEEEE!!!
Say hello to one of the GOP 2012 frontrunners.
I understand that he may need to take a few days to clear his head, but I do wonder how he used the tax payers dollars on this trip. Certainly the people of South Carolina paid for the gas that he used to get to and from the airport.
Maybe he used the stimulus money that he didn't want.
And this was te best SC could pick to be governor? Glad your state didn't have an emergency.
Was Gov. Sanford with Senator Larry Craig?
So the story has already begun to change! I've seen this before especially with the Republican religous right. It starts with a lie, goes to another lie then another until the media finds the truth and they come out with their poor wife in tow and apologize.
It would be refreshing if for once they just tell the truth first and take their medicine. But airs must be maintained if one wishes to become the presidential candidate for the GOP
This story is getting more interesting. It seemed like a ridiculous non-story at first, but now I wouldn't be surprised to find that he was accompanied on his trip by Sen. Ensign and a couple prostitutes.
You are an elected *public* official. You take a state owned vehicle, and without telling anyone, including your family, what you are doing, where you are going, disappear for several days.
Upon your return to the world, you *lie* about where you went.
Then when you are caught in your lie, you tell the "truth" ...that you went to Argentina for a "quick change of scenery?"
There is a whole lot more to this story than what he is letting on. At the very least, the man is unstable. At worst, he is involved in something criminal.
So who is his mistress? What a lousy human being,
This is bull sh@t, he will always be in a bubble, because he did it to self. American people cant trust him because of his strange behavior.
What a butttttt wipe.
This guy is just too wierd...not even telling his wife. Wonder what he would think if she ran away for a week...hmmm...
this dude lost his mind....I think he wanted to flee to south america with stimulus money....unfortunately, his visa there might not have permitted, so came back.....Lt. governor needs to take care of this state....this dude is an idiot....to escape...
I live in Columbia, SC and I must say I am appalled by this whole situation. As a Governor, Sanford should not have gone out of the state, let alone out of the country!, without officials knowing his whereabouts. I can understand people in the public eye wanting to get away, but c'mon! There are some things that need to be done when you're the head of a state – and letting people like the Lt. Gov and other high officials know that you'll be "out of pocket" is one of them!
This is insanity!
This clown has been a constant embarassment to SC. Can't wait until he's out of office. Nothing he does surprises me. His behavior in inexcusable.
I wonder if he hooked up with Kate Gosselin while he was gone? Hence, the divroce announcement on Monday.
I don't think people would care if he actually TOLD his staff where he was going. But the fact that he disappears to foreign countries and left his kids on FATHER'S DAY really irks me.
From what I read from actual SC residents, he is a terrible governor and really needs to be removed, and certainlly no way can he run for President in 2012....or maybe he should so Obama can have an easy win.
Another right-wing nutjob.
How nice for him. If I took a vacation from my job for a week without telling anyone, I wouldn't have a job left to come back to.