June 29th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
5 years ago

Business as usual for embattled South Carolina governor

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has been at the middle of a media storm since disappearing for five days recently and then admitting to an extramarital affair.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has been at the middle of a media storm since disappearing for five days recently and then admitting to an extramarital affair.

(CNN) - A new week brings the same big problem for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Sanford's trying to hold onto his job following his admittance last week of an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. The governor also acknowledged at a news conference on Wednesday, upon his return from Argentina, that he did not tell his staff he was out of the country during a five-day period when his location was not known.

Sanford is scheduled on Monday to chair a state budget board meeting, his second public meeting since his return. Sanford apologized to state officials on Friday at a cabinet meeting that was covered live by the national cable news networks, including CNN.

Asked about resigning during a meeting with reporters later on Friday, Sanford said, "You take everything a day at a time. I wouldn't say anything definitive at this point. I say my hunch at a variety of different levels would be to continue on."

The South Carolina governor told the Associated Press on Sunday that he thought about stepping down until close spiritual and political associates urged him to stay on finish out the remaining year and a half of his second and final term as governor. Sanford, who is serving his second term as the state's governor, cannot run for re-election in 2010 because of limits on terms.

"Resigning would be the easiest thing to do," Sanford said in the AP interview, which CNN confirmed with governor's office.

This week several Republican state lawmakers, who are Sanford opponents, could publicly call for the governor's resignation.

Since Sanford's tearful admission last week, two state newspapers have called for him to step down and two state lawmakers have demanded investigations into whether Sanford was derelict of duty by misleading his staff to his location and whether he misused state property or funds to pursue his extramarital affair.

If Sanford were to resign, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer would become governor. Bauer is a fellow Republican but not an ally of Sanford. Bauer is among a number of candidates hoping to succeed Sanford in next year's election.

The woman with whom Sanford had an affair broke her silence Sunday long enough to say she wouldn't discuss her relationship with the now-embattled
governor.

In a statement released to Argentina's C5N television network, Maria Belen Chapur said her private life "has already been made too public during these last days, bringing to me even more pain."

Jenny Sanford said Thursday that her husband's political career is "not a concern of mine" and that she'd be just fine - whether or not their marriage survived.

She would not speculate whether her husband would resign as South Carolina governor, saying "he's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children."

–From CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby


Filed under: Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. WDRussell

    Comparing himself to king David has to be the height of arrogance. If the phony groups who claim to be Christian had any religion in them, they would be screaming so loud you could hear them on the moon.
    Not a peep out of them.

    June 29, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Glad to comment

    Mr. Sanford's affair would not have mattered to me if he had simply taken a 5 day vacation. Then only his wife could hold him responsible for his actions. But he walked off his job without telling anyone. Would this be allowed in the military? Could a surgeon with pending surgeries do this? Maybe he feels his presence isn't that relevant to the state's affairs. If that's the case, he should resign.

    As for his extramarital affair... when are we Americans going to mature and understand that what politicians do morally is not a basis for their performance in government? If they brake the law is one thing, but what they do in the bedroom should be none of our concern.

    June 29, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. wunderin

    What this country come to when a politician can't go out of the country to pick up a new backscratcher without all this fuss?

    June 29, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Kenny

    He talks a lot about spiritual things while desperately clinging to the material world, i.e. his political career.

    June 29, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Lisa K

    Many public officials, Republican and Democrat, lie and have extramarital affairs. But, I've never heard of one who went missing from his or her job for 5 days. That's the key issue here. The people of South Carolina deserve a Governor they can count on. Governor Sanford needs to resign or, be fired. Then, he can go cry in Argentina for as long as he wants and, not do it on Taxpayers money.

    June 29, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Texas Teacher

    Well, five days off disappearance.... no contact or whereabouts location? Had I done that... I would not have had a job upon return! This is outrageous!! Let the bozo move to Argentina!

    Republicans have been above political law for 8 years...they do NOT know how to adjust to this "turn about is fair play" current political scene. I think it is about time that they had their feet held to the fire! They surely burned enough soles the last 16 years... starting with President Clinton! They deserve whatever they get... and this man.... he deserves All he is getting!

    June 29, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Dave

    Irreguardless of him abandoning his job for 5-6 days and no one being able to reach him or know where he was he did commit a crime under South Carolina laws. Adultry is punishable by up to a year in prison and a hefty fine if convicted (since he already admitted to the affair this should be a slam dunk). Just apply the law. Since he broke the law he should resign and be prosecuted. Plain and simple.

    June 29, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. didi

    I think south carolina has any brain, they should kick this idiot out of office....do not even elect for any office....what does this another idiot Mr. John Boener say about this????bunch of idiots...ok...just kick this s.c governor out of the office...guys...this guy is a total idiot....Johon King, do you agree????????

    June 29, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Bill Clinton

    Even the media cannot force him to resign.

    June 29, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. gop...

    If I would even think about missing 2 days of work,no phone or anything... My ass would be out of a JOB..... thats the way the real world works...hello!!!!

    June 29, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. The Shadow

    Hello, CNN – you need to change "admittance" to "admission" in order for the first sentence of the second paragraph to be grammatically correct. And, as always, I ask that you not leave this comment in "awaiting moderation" status permanently.

    June 29, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Bob

    Several Repubs claim that "liberal" CNN is making this a story, and that it would go away if only they would. Is that how it worked with Clinton's affair? Was it just media-driven? Or did the right-wing wolfpack descend on Clinton looking for blood? You can't have it both ways. Sanford made this a story with his outrageously irresponsible, selfish, and hypocritical behavior, and he continues to fuel it with his unbelievably lame excuses for not resigning. Sanford is getting what he deserves because, unlike Clinton, he set himself up as a paragon of virtue and a guardian of American morality. In other words, he was ridiculous from the beginning. He set standards that he evidently had no real intention of following when temptation struck. That's called rank hypocrisy, and we've seen far too much of it from Republicans. You right-wingers can't whine and moan about liberal attacks if your own leaders are going to betray their professed ideals over and over.

    June 29, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Fed up with low morals in SC

    I realize here in SC we are between a rocl and hard place with this governor and his mistakes. He really ius not what we in SC need. He appears to be a morally weak person and does not need to hold this office but we do have a need for leadership. It would be hard to stop at this time a nd allow someone else in that office. We definetly need to check out our next one. An office such as governnor should have a man with high morals to help lead this country. AS you can see we have inmorla leaders popping up everwhere. That just goes to show our country is going to pot faster that we realize. I feel that when a person, man or woman are tempted they need to go on a spiratual sabbatical to get his priorities in order and his heart in the right place and not let his body dictate to him. there are groups, seminars to help couples find a good balanced relationship between themselves and get advise on how to developa a friendly relationship with theri mate. If they all put God in theri lives and Jesus Christ between them they can stay togetehr and weather any storm that comes. I speak from experience.

    June 29, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. skyfang

    Mark Sanford like most politicians who "Cheat "on their wives, or "Cheat " on their Taxes, will eventually, at some time in their political careers, "Cheat" on "We the People" whom they represent.

    The Honesty and Integrity of a Politician is measured greatly by the loyalty he shows to his spouse, and family, and to the people of the Country he serves.

    Sanford has displayed a decided lack of those qualties and should step down and allow more honorable men succeed him.

    Having said that, I would recommend someone check the water supplies of State Governors to test them for "aphrodesiacs" that may have been nefariously and covertly added. The sexual track record of our Governors is alarmingly suspect. ( and STUPID !!!)

    June 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Independent_me

    Sanford said that "resigning would be the easiest thing to do" so he is not going to resign.

    GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!

    He is trying to make himself an embattled martyr and a brave hero for not resigning by not doing the "easiest thing". That is selfish and self serving.

    Mr. Sanford – resigning would be the HONORABLE thing to do!!!!

    Another hypocritical Republican!

    June 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Dave

    "Resigning would be the easiest thing to do," Sanford said in the AP interview.....
    but then he thought of this ol' ally cat named Bill Clinton

    June 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Anne E.

    Then he needs to think harder and resign - or the state legislature needs to remove him from office.
    Sanford is just another smug, self-righteous, selfish conservative who lives by the mantra "Do as I say, not as I do."

    June 29, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Thought provoked

    Dicky Cheney better put his antennae up. What if Sanford was "sleeping with the enemy" (which is a form of terrorist infiltration). Far-fetched? Yes. Impossible? No, no, no!

    June 29, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Jefe

    The Republicans need to ditch the following:

    The "Conservative" moniker: They are social-control freaks, quite the opposite of true Conservatism.

    The "Family Values" farce: They seem to cheat on their spouses at an alarming rate

    The "Anti-Gay" stance: There seem to be more gay Republicans holding public office than there would be at an Elton John-Barbara Streisand concert.

    June 29, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. RKL

    It's so ironic...Sanford wanted Clinton impeached, but he feels
    empowered to stay on. Hypocrites...all/most of the Republicans.
    The party of "NO" responsibility. I feel bad for his boys, but that's
    it; his wife was a Wallstreet Exec...plenty of morals there?!
    Why is white collor crime accepted in our society so readily; going
    off without denoting a power transfer can't be legal, or at least
    eithical?

    He needs to go!

    June 29, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. dominican mama 4 Obama

    @robin:

    Not a racist robin (I've got a very healthy mix in me of caucasian, black), just a REALIST. Why do you think that affirmative action was instituted in the first place. Left to their own devises people will make a choice.... not necessarily the RIGHT choice.

    @rs who asked HOW? Thanks for asking. I was referrring to the days when there was NO RECOURSE for a black person who was denied basic human rights, much less opportunities for advancement. It was the accepted status quo.

    This was the only open site I could use to respond to you.

    June 29, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Pragmatic

    "Did John Edwards resign? ...is that all ya got? Edwards didn't have an elected office to resign from!

    The point that keeps getting made is dereliction of duty – abandoning the people of SC (who paid for his jaunts) lying to his staff... and so efficiently pointed out – breaking SC law against adultery! Which he's already admitted to!

    Above the law: both man and God's Law: and still wants it all to be business as usual! Fat chance!

    June 29, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Mary

    I disagree with people who say a politician's personal life is personal. A politician is a public figure and someone who would betray his wife in the worst way cannot be trusted. I'm tired of celebrities and politicians cheating on their spouses and dropping in and out of drug rehab like it is something normal. IT IS NOT. The majority of us are people who try to live a good life, do not do drugs and do not cheat on our spouse. If you're unhappy, get a divorce. But only a scum cheats on their spouse. I wouldn't trust him for a trip to the grocery store.

    June 29, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. Albert

    Extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina ????????

    She could be Russian Spy ????????

    June 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Al-NY,NY

    Since we haven't heard about in the last few days, I am sure the Lipstck Fido from Alaska will be chiming in soon enough. Wonder what she will say???

    June 29, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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