June 24th, 2009
08:35 AM ET
13 years ago

Sanford says he was in Argentina, not on Appalachian Trail

(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.

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. DMWhipp

    I wonder how many Americans can afford to hop on a plane on a whim and head to Buenos Aires for 5 days?

    Regardless, to leave the country for 5 days without telling his family is a little strange, to say the least. And to leave without putting someone else in charge of his state in case of an emergency is irresponsible. I don't think we've seen the end of this story.

    June 24, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. w

    ok, his case looks pretty bad but people should stop short of accusing the man for sleeping around, etc...what if his staff screwed up on the trail story, what if his wife cheated on him?...hhhmmm...p.s., Father's Day is another made up Hallmark occasion just like Valentine's Day...so what?

    June 24, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. chris


    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 originalstiffnights.com 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.

    June 24, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Phil

    Well...Argentina and Appalachian Trail both begin with "A". And we thought OUR Governor was a bad apple! I say impeach and divorce. Even this citizens of his own state are appalled by this behavior...and rightfully so. There is more to this story than meets the eye, truat me.

    June 24, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. phoenix86

    This is not news. Would CNN mind giving some attention to the energy tax bill coming to a vote this Friday?, or the nationalization and cost of the Obama health care plan?, or perhaps the N. Korean missle launch scheduled for next week?

    June 24, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. drew

    Who paid for it? Tax-payers or Business Lobbies? Who did he meet there? What was he talking to them about? Why did he need to be completely alone? This REEKS of corruption!

    June 24, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. GOP 'gone missing' and lots of other cliches that fit

    first the GOP 'take a hike'

    then the GOP have 'gone south'

    can't be sure where GOP 'have gone'

    Gov. Mark Sanford you are the GOP and the best of it

    I hope you had fun, down with the GOP and up with the independants

    June 24, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    This more bizarre by the day!

    He can forget any presidential aspirations, with all the lies and deceit he and his staff have been dishing out the last week. It is very irresponsible for an elected official such as a governor to leave the country without notifying the Lt. Governor he needs to step in. "Get out of the bubble"??
    What does he think living in the White House would be like??

    Conference with North Korea over missiles and this clown would take a week off to disappear??

    Perhaps, the citizens of S.C. do not mind an AWOL governor, but this citizen would mind an AWOL president for a week.

    This man should not be anywhere near the WH other than as a guest!

    June 24, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. I dont Lie!

    This sounds like a little kid who gets caught in a lie. So he makes a bigger one to cover the first one. The GOP thinks we are all stupid. I am waiting for the REAL truth to be told.

    June 24, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Brett

    This is not vacation time in Buenos Aires. It is like 50 degrees down there. It is far from over. Gov. Sanford and his entire administrators are known to be incompetent, but now they are lying incompetents.

    June 24, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. matt

    I'll admit that this seems odd. However, the only South Carolinians saying Sanford is a terrible governor are the same left wing fanatics that make comments on here such as "what a lousy person" and "right-wing nutjob" – and of course mixing every Christian in with any shortcoming of any Christian – without knowing all the facts. He's actually been a good governor and I think his stand on the stimulus money was a solid, anti-socialist position. But I don't pretend to know why he ran off to SA without telling his wife – I'll give y'all that.

    June 24, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. Minnesotan

    What is up with Republicans these days? This guy just disappears, has his staff say that he's hiking the Appalachian trail, ends up in Argentina and then refuses to say why he went or what he was doing there. This is SO typical of Republican behavior and ideology.... and stupidity.

    June 24, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. JohnNYC

    The fact that this is news is pathetic. A governor takes a trip to get away, doesn't tell anyone so as to avoid the press, and everyone freaks out. I think people are more pissed that they weren't in the know so they have to make something out of nothing. Maybe he has a mistress in Argentina, but that's none of the public's business, just like it was none of the public's business when prosecutors asked Clinton about his relationship with you know who. [yawn] CNN should try a little harder than this, there are more newsworthy topics than this.

    June 24, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. Sabrina

    Lies, lies, lies...they're going to get you!

    Didn't your mother ever teach you that if you tell one lie – you have to tell another one to cover the first one.

    My advice to you is to write your lies...errr...explanations down to keep them straight.

    June 24, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. Lolita in AL

    There is something really wrong when a governor disappears into thin air in another country, in a post 911 world, and doesn't let his wife know that he left and where he is going- and she has his children on Father's Day weekend. WTH? With all the secrecy and mystery, hope the media wears this story out getting to the truth. Hopefully the National Enquirer won't beat true journalists to the punch( Hey, hey got John Edwards...LOL) ALL THIS FROM THE GUY WHO DIDN'T WANT THE STIMULS MONEY TO FIX DELAPIDATED SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN HIS STATE.

    June 24, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  16. southerncousin

    It is not a big story, just something to get the libs clucking like a flock of chickens. It was funny on yesterdays story about John Ensign, one of the avid contributors said something about "another hyocritical republican apologizing." That's so true, they apologize and resign, unlike the libs who don't have the decency to apologize and then blame someone else for their wrongdoing ala Kennedy, Rangel and Jefferson.

    June 24, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  17. Bsitz

    I see this truning into a Mcgreevey thing.......

    June 24, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. JPinNC

    LOL. It's good to be king.

    June 24, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  19. singe

    There seems to be some sort of contest going on among Republican leaders. They should have the decency to publish the entry criteria and rules so we could follow along.

    June 24, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  20. Mark

    Much a do about nothing. If a democratic governor did this, which I'm sure many have, it would be a non-issue.

    June 24, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  21. frank

    a completly fabricated story by liberals...
    this is what they do best.....atempt to destroy (like they are doing with palin)
    what an embarrasment for these liberal/dem loons!!!!!

    most comments on this are the product of REAL Lib nut jobs without a brain

    June 24, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  22. etta

    Maybe he is suffering from early stages of Altzheimers. He needs to see a Doctor.

    June 24, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  23. Chipster

    I'm still trying to figure out why this is a huge crisis and any sort of story of interest. Was this a slow news week? What happened that was newsworthy. Was SC invaded by TN while Sanford took a break? Do we need to send troops or negotiators to Columbia, SC? Somebody contact the UN quickly!

    Good grief!

    June 24, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  24. Paulie

    I am a SC resident for 12 years and this guy is a joke! Our state is in dire straits. Almost the worst education system in the nation, 2nd worse unemployment rates and Mark Sanford is our governor! He didnt want the stimulus money because he would have to use part of it to pay teachers!!! South Carolina...where our governor thinks literacy should be optional and family values means abandoning your children on Fathers Day!! Time to Retire Mark....your stimulus gamble to be the GOP frontrunner failed...and you sir are a vile example of government in action!

    June 24, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
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