June 25th, 2009
01:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Sanford e-mail: I've 'crossed lines I never would have imagined'

(CNN) - As he was being considered for the vice presidency, the South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford told his mistress that the only political challenge that remained was "the top spot" – the presidency.

"There are but 50 governors in my country and outside of the top spot, this is as high as you can go in the area I have invested the last 15 years of my life," he wrote in e-mails obtained by The State newspaper. "- my getting here came as no small measure because I had that foundation of love and support so critical to getting up in the morning and feeling you could give and risk because you already had a full tank of love in the emotional bank account."

He also refers to their first meeting "in a wind swept somewhat open air dance spot in Punta del Este."

At the time of the messages between the GOP governor and a Buenos Aires resident named "Maria" - the summer of 2008 - Sanford was viewed as a possible contender to join Republican presidential candidate John McCain on the GOP ticket.

(Update: CNN's sources in Buenos Aires and in South Carolina have since identified the woman,
whose name was also widely reported in Argentine media, as Maria Belen Chapur.)

The State, which acquired the e-mails in December, told CNN that the governor's office had confirmed their authenticity on Wednesday. When contacted by CNN, a spokesman for the governor would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the emails.

In the messages, Sanford expresses his strong feelings for Chapur, along with inner conflict over the circumstances of their affair. "As I mentioned in our last visit, while I did not need love fifteen years ago – as the battle scars of life and aging and politics have worn on this has become a real need of mine," he wrote.

"In all my life I have lived by a code of honor and at a variety of levels know I have crossed lines I would have never imagined," he added. "I wish I could wish it away, but this soul-mate feel I alluded too is real and in that regard I sure don't want to be the person complicating your life."

He said he had looked to the Bible for counsel, particularly to I Corinthians 13, which lays out the qualities that define true love. "In this regard it is action that goes well beyond the emotion of today or tomorrow and in this light I want to look for ways to show love in helping you to live a better – not more complicated life.

"…I better stop now least this really sound like the Thornbirds – wherein I was always upset with Richard Chamberlain for not dropping his ambitions and running into Maggie's arms," he said, referring to the story of lovers torn apart by duty and circumstance. "The bottom line is two fold, my heart wants me to get on a plane tonight and to be in your loving arms – my head is saying how do we put the Genie back in the bottle because I sure don't want to be encumbering you, or your options or your life."

John O'Connor, the newspaper reporter who wrote the story about the e-mails, told CNN Wednesday afternoon that The State did not confront Sanford with the messages in December because at the time "there was little way to tell that these were authentic e-mails."

O'Connor said that given the recent events surrounding Sanford, the paper then decided to approach the governor's office with the e-mails.

Sanford, who had been considered a potential candidate for the 2012 presidential campaign, admitted the affair Wednesday.

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Willy Brown

    All Governor Sanford needs to do is change political party affiliation from republican to democrat and all will be forgiven by the media and they will quit covering this story.

    June 25, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. DT

    This is great, another Repub bites the dust...so happy you wont come within 1000 feet of the oval office Sanford...

    June 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. silly rabbit

    for some reason I think Limbaugh is trying to figure out a way to blame all this on Obama...I'm sure if he can't somebody on the far right wil.

    June 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Ann

    This is the senator and his family's problem. If she is a good governor, who cares about his private life? Yeah, sure.. family values.. see the Obamas.. rhetoric and doing nothing.

    June 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    This is becoming a soap opera.

    June 25, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Yvon

    All his expklanations are just disgusting. Just another case of more testosterone than brains.

    June 25, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Melissa

    The Republicans are doing a belly flop into the pit onto spikes. Its funny.

    June 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. A. Goodwin

    Oy, I think Mark Sanford needs to give the bible up for a few days and have a drink and evaluate his life on a higher level. If this Argentian woman is his soul mate, he needs to make that clear to his wife and four kids.

    June 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Darryl Ford

    I believe the woman's name was Maria Belen Chapur. One of the local papers in Argentina reported it today. This is truly sad for the Sanford's family.

    June 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Dawn in Pa

    Oh dear, bible thumping, being a Pagan I understand about the bible, it is word of mouth and to me is hearsay! Quoting the bible, having a sexual relationship with a Woman in Argentina, whether he was with her three times, that is three times to many. The e-mails can be read as cyber-sex which is up and coming thing you can do know...

    I feel for his wife and sons... First Lady Jenny Sanford should kick him to the curb...

    June 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Nikole

    I do not care for Gov. Sanford, but I do not think it is appropriate to publish his emails. That is really none of our business.

    June 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Larry

    Obviously this guy's love affair is more important to him than his job. He vanishes without telling anyone?

    For most people if you don't show up for work you're terminated.

    This clown is just another "holier than thou" Republican.

    June 25, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Randy, Indiana

    So the guy got a little on the side no big deal, now all the news media is making a big deal out of it.

    June 25, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. John

    Who was in charge of South Carolina while he was out of the Country?

    How many times has he been in Argentina?

    His wife knew of the affair 5 months ago and he went there again?

    Why is his wife staying with him after cheating so many times?

    So many more questions come to mind.

    June 25, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    He must resign. He used state resources to advance this affair, left the people without an executive for days, and lied while allowing his staff to lie to cover him. And let's not whine about the amount of news coverage for this story until it exceeds the number of hours Greta Van Sushollowaysstillgonestren has spent on a single missing teenager.

    June 25, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Bill Hewett

    The republicans cried "impeachment" with President Clinton and tried their best to destroy him and his family. So where is the crying out for resigning and getting off the front page? Oh, who paid for this sexual outing? This republican and all the others are a poor example of family values.
    Bill Hewett

    June 25, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Jonita

    This is the man who "SCREAMED" President Clinton needed to resign after the Monica mess...If kids weren't involved it would be funny..

    June 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. chuck G

    I see this "Family Values" Republican did not have a problem accepting taxpayer money to have his package stimulated.

    June 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Steve - Marietta

    Ah yes, blame the media.

    You ought to read "What Liberal Media"? - quite an eye-opener.

    June 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. CSI

    Give the man a break, he was in LOVE. At least he wasn't soliciting in an airport bathroom, soliciting young male congressional pages, or doing it with a staffer's wife.

    And since when did the media forgive Democrats' indiscretions, Mr. Willy Brown? How long did the Spitzer scandal stay in the news? Far longer than Senator Ensign or Craig for sure.

    June 25, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Bleeding Hearts

    It’s appears the Gov. is in love with this woman. Now that the Genie is out of the bag; my suggestion is to just follow his heart. In all of this there is no way someone will not be hurt. Unfortunately his wife and kids will suffer the most.

    As a wife myself; it would be a bitter pill to swallow to know that your husband is in love with another woman. However, in knowing that; I would not in good conscience want him to remain with me for the sake of loyalty or because of the kids. A marriage is about FAMILY, but most of all it is about LOVE. When there is no ERGOS love; it is no longer a marriage or a FAMILY.

    I think they should both cut their losses and move forward with their lives separately.

    June 25, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Didn't you say infidelity is grounds to be impeached from government, Mark Sanford?!

    The door is on your left; don't let it hit you where the good Lord spilt you!!!

    June 25, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. kd

    It's a private matter, like all of these similar stories. Leave it be.

    There was a time not too long ago when certain public figures were known to be unfaithful but it wasn't news, it simply was. I think all of these constant stories is more a poor reflection on a society too quick to judge and trumpet condemnation due to 'lack of morals' than anything else. I'm so tired of so-called righteous people judging everyone on everything. And I live in Utah so, believe me, I know.

    June 25, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. pa.

    I saw Fox Noise showed him as a democrat. The sleazy GOP will just never stop. And I'm sick of the religion card they play. Ever hear of KARMA; I hope they all get what they deserve.

    Go to Huffington Post. for more.

    June 25, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Sally

    Ann - Let me guess. It was different when Bill Clinton was the guilty one, right? We were supposed to judge him on his morals. And Willy, I should have known it was all the media's fault. Sanford didn't do anything wrong. It's just the media making a big fuss about him leaving his office for days to pursue an affair and not telling anyone where he was.

    June 25, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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