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. quarterback

    And these clowns are the moral bed–rock of the GOP.

    Hypocrites. Liars. And stupid. You want this type of guy making national decisions?

    No way.

    June 25, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Ann

    What in the world are you talking about? He's not a senator, he's a governor. Read a book.

    June 25, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. annie s

    Sanford is a hypocrite like most of the family values crowd, and I have zero sympathy for him...but printing these emails was a low blow to his family. Totally inappropriate, in my opinion.

    June 25, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Shari, NY

    Hola amigo! Regardless of political affiliation the media will cover it to death, Willy Brown (up to this day talk show hosts, etc. are on Clinton's case). I feel your embarrassment though. That being said, I think that even if he does not care to resign this man should take leave for a while and let someone else run the show while he sorts out his private life. South Carolina is in a pathetic state and deserves a better deal. Best wishes to his wife and children!


    June 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Dave C - NJ

    Hey Willy, just like they left Spitzer alone?

    Or Clinton? The fools on the Fox boards still cry about Clinton as soon as you mention Craig or any of the countless GOP goons that got caught.

    Dems don't preach from moral high grounds, which is why they don't look quite as ridiculous when caught like this.

    June 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Scott, Tucson

    Just imagine if Edwards were to have won the presidency and his affair came out after he was in office? The dems dodged the bullet on that one.

    June 25, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Atlantan

    although I am a democrat and don't approve of the Man's policies, he's human and he made a mistake; big deal as if we don't make any...people should leave him alone and especially his family, they don't deserve this...Mrs. Sanford has shown great deal of maturity and poise in this difficult situation

    June 25, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Laverne

    Sanford's affair is unfortunate for him, his family and his political career, but the part that make it worst is his hypocrisy. He has been one of the loudest republicans with opposition to democrats policy and morality and he himself is doing the same thing. Judge not, yet you be judged and it looks like judgment day is here for Mark Sanford. I guess this will be Obama's fault since he has been under so much stress about taking or not taking the stimulus money. Mark Sanford has a huge ego and this whole thing is about him and his fake tears. This guy is a real piece of work, I think this nightmare will not be over for him anytime soon, it is just getting started.

    June 25, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Casey


    You forgot Vitter. We barely heard a peep about his name showing up on a list of Johns in the DC area.

    June 25, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. The black spider

    I don't give a crap what he uses his ZIZI for and I feel very sorry for his children and wife.
    I have a problem though with him being very irresponsible in leaving a state being no where to be found for days just because he wants to satisfy his vice and libbido. That is very dangerous and irresponsible and he should resign because of that period.
    He is the governor for God sake and nobody chooses the job for him.

    June 25, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. tom

    The American People paid for his trip.The American People were robbed, this has nothing to do with fact finding.He should be prosecuted for theft.

    June 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. kishen c.rao

    I think he needs to resign...now...no "sorry" "I apologize". business...

    June 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Mike

    How about a real story for a change. How about writing about obama firing an Inspector General because he was going to investigate a friend of obamas who had misused funds for AmeriCourt. obama said he was confused, however, 04 former Attorney Generals and others including Democrats and Independents said that was a lie. Talk about abuse of power by a sitting President.

    June 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. ANNY

    If he hadn't got caught, it would be just another day in the cheating, lying, unfaithful world of this republican.......how faithful can a man be to his Country or to his State when he can't even be faithful to his wife and 4 sons who love him more than anyone probably in this world.....at this point I don't believe a word he says........

    June 25, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. JG

    I have laughed for two days straight! This is so hiliarious! Just goes to show that what's done in the dark will always come to the light. The Governor working so hard to get Clinton impeached, can't wait to see this fool suffer from all the humiliation!

    I do feel for his wife and kids, it's not there fault.

    June 25, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. tom

    Time to get off Palin's back Mc Cain could have picked Sanford. I am sure he had an idea for immigration reform

    June 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. Avi Shlomo

    There is a smart man with no basic ommon sense. Pathetic liar. If he violated his family trust, the country can';t trust him. he will go in history like all other demo-Rep disgraced. Next time you hear a politician specially a republican lecturing us about god faith and country..Thunk he or she might be hiding something. what the heck his wife is thinking when she said she is giving him a second chance?

    June 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. david

    sure wish someone would publish a picture of argentina maria. jenny sanford, everyone knows what she looks like but argentina maria remains a mystery. maria must be one hot number for sanford to destroy his family, his career, all for argentina maria. their love letters should be published for laughs. some of what sanford has written and some of what maria has written is really corny but, after all, they are deeply in love. jenny is a fool to take sanford back, he loves argentina maria!

    June 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. mike,texas

    Hypocracy is new name for the G NO P party.

    June 25, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Eric Shaw

    To Bleeding Hearts: Well said!

    June 25, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. TheFabOne

    Boy, I bet McCain's glad he didn't pick that guy!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    But you had no problem slamming former President Clinton and voting to impeach him when you lied to your office and constituents.

    June 25, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. Frank in Wilton Manors

    Another shining example of the sanctity of traditional marriage.

    June 25, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Jim in SC

    Mark Sanford, through his mistakes and despite his recent accounting of infidelity, is still a decent man, who I believe is more interested in reconciling his marriage than restoring his gubernatorial credibility or political future. Regardless of your/our position of his political welfare, remember that he came forward and publicly confessed his wrongdoing. It is easier to publically profess my faith than it is to confess my sins. Judge not, that ye be not judged. God deplores divorce but through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation can restore all and make them whole. I hope that we can give him an opportunity to restore his family life.

    June 25, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Patrick

    People need to realize that this is a big story for several reasons:
    1: Gov Sanford used tax payer money to advance this affair. This includes travel and emails. Just like Kwame in Detroit emails sent using gov devices are public domain.
    2: He is married with kids.
    3: He refused money for his state that could be used to improve schools and infrastructure based on the argument it was wasteful spending-I guess his own package needed stimulous more than the SC people.
    4; This man has no problem blasting others shortcomings. He wants to be president.
    5: Because the leader of the GOP govenors association should be held to a high standard just as he would demand from any member of the GOP party-at least publicly.
    6: The unemployment rate in SC is over 10% right now and if you have been to that state recently you understand they need money and leadership from the top. If the Gov is missing for a week of course it is big news!

    June 25, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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