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. Mark C.

    To all the people saying "It's a private matter for Sandford, leave him alone."

    We'd be more than happy to do that if he and his ilk did the same for our relationships, marriage rights, etc. in the past. But he's and others have decided many times to appoint themselves the moral arbiters of the nation and restrict our rights based on his "morals".

    Stay out of the governor's private life? Gladly, just as soon as he and other GOPers extend us the same courtesy.

    June 25, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Duke + Olivebranch

    The truth always come to light. No matter how hard you try to suppress it.

    Give him credit for his confession. There are so many more like him out there that have yet to be discovered.

    There are far more important real issues – hunger, shelter, health care and freedom.

    Who is NEXT.

    June 25, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. K WH

    Sharon while I disagree that "HYPOCRICY is a big a moral sin as the adultery"

    Adultery is not "a failure to be a grown up and tell the person to whom one is currently committed that feelings have changed and it's time to move on."

    Adultery is a viloation of the 10 commandments. It is also a violation of the pact you made between your spouse. I pray that his wife finds the strength to do what is best for her with GOD's help. Divorce is horrible and if someone cheats on their spouse they should have never married in the first place. Marriage was designed to be forever with the trust that your spouse honors this committment.

    In Luke 16:18 (GOD's idea of divorce) "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." I hope she has the strength to fix the marriage, I don't think I would be as strong.

    June 25, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Murph

    Jeff writes...

    " love it when a self-righteous Republican (and there are a lot of them) who condems gay marriage, gay unions, etc., gets caught in a sex scandal. Way to go Mr. Family Values. Wasn't Eliot Spitzer a huge anti-prostitution person? Wasn't Rush Limbaugh a huge anti-drug person? Didn't Newt serve his wife divorce papers while she was recovering in the hospital from cancer? What a bunch of skunks."

    Spitzer is & was a democrat. So was JFK, RFK, Clinton, FDR, Marion Barry, Mel Reynolds (Pardoned by Clinton), Daniel Inouye, etc. Funny how you failed to mention people like this.

    A constant rule of nature is that Politicians will philander, lie, cheat & steal. This goes for both sides of the aisle.

    June 25, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Blue

    Mark, your fifteen minutes are up. You thought that you could fool the public with all of your family values.

    June 25, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Operation Crush Rush

    Hahaha,Sanford,the wannabe Jefferson Davis,is still missing in action.Rush is about to blow a gasket.It doesnt get any better than this.Keep up the great work Crushers,the drip,drip,drip method is working great.

    June 25, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    The difference always is the Republicans and the religious right CONDEMN everyone else for doing the very same thing they're doing in airport bathrooms, with young congressional pages, or with tramps from Argentina. That's the difference, people!

    June 25, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Carol

    If the e-mails to Sanfords lover are really his words he could write romantic novels, now that he will not be running for the "GOP maybe's" in the next election. He's made his karma and now he'll have to erase it by who knows. After reading the words of his wife in an article last night on CNN I can understand why he needed some romance in his life. Good luck to both of them and their family, they need some really good counseling and not by a Church.

    June 25, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Anna, Mo

    How on earth can a man that says he wants to apologize to his wife and kids for the hurt that he has caused them, stand up there and spew all of this in public? He was not thinking of the ridicule that all of those boys are going to go through in school because he is airing his dirty little secret to the world. He talked more "Lovingly" of the other woman than he did of his wife, and he wants us to believe that he is going to make his marriage work. All he was trying to do was save his job. Get sympathy from the press because he had been caught with his pants down. He lied to his staff, he didn't leave anyone in charge when he decided to leave the country to see this woman. This man is only thinking with one appendage, and it isn't his brain.

    June 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Holy Smokes

    There are families in South Carolina who are dealing with problems every day and are making decisions about what bills to pay and how to feed the kids, and where to live when the house is foreclosed upon...To hear Gov Sanford tearily talk about how he's been crying for 5 days about how to decide between his wife and his Argentinian mistress is absolutely nauseating. Is he so out of touch and self absorbed? He needs to go.

    June 25, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Pragmatic

    I'll bid you one Clinton & one Spitzer and raise you Newt, McCain, Rudy, Vitter, Craig, Mark Foley, Ensign and Sanford.. Mitt Romeny, standing with all the presidential candidates quipped that although he was the Mormon, he was the only man there with only one wife!

    Its not the sin, really, its the total hypocrisy! Ensign was a "Promise Keeper" ... then didn't. The GOP runs on "family values" which means they fall father and land harder.

    June 25, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. TCM

    CNN – get off the Sanford kick; report on the North Korean crisis, Iran, the healthcare robbery, CAP and Trade corruption.....stop covering Obama's back with these irrelevant stories; they do not affect the country. I say let the folks of SC deal with him....But, the continual coverage of this nonsense, when there's the persistent damage by the obama administration going on behind closed doors...well, that's biased coverage that's downright criminal.

    June 25, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. carlo

    I wish people would stop saying stupid stuff like "he was a man about it" or "he didn't lie like Clinton" or "he fessed up"? NO HE DIDN'T!

    He got busted in the airport in Atlanta and then found out they had those e-mails. Before that, he was writing, hiking through the Appalachians, and cruising the two mile intercoastal waterway in Buenos Aires Sanford called a "coastline". The man is a LIAR, who has condemned anyone else who has done the same.

    June 25, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Debbie

    Isn't he the guy who fought so hard for former President Clinton's Impeachemnt. Boy oh boy. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    June 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Mike

    He voted to impeach Clinton. He staunchly opposes marriage between those who want to legally acknowledge their commitment to each other, just because they happen to be of the same sex.


    June 25, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. Joe in CA

    Of course you imagined. You just thought you'ld never get caught. Say good bye to any GOP recovery in 2010 and 2012 with Ensign and Sanford. Nah Nah Nah Nah, Hey Hey Hey, GOODBYE!!!

    June 25, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Sternberg

    Well, he has squandered his investment. The shame of it is, he has also squandered his wife's lifetime of investment, and damaged that of his children.
    It is foolish of people to post here, pretending that this is some sort of Republican or Democratic issue.

    June 25, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Film Professor

    What's up with the Columbia State, the newspaper that had these salacious E-mail's since last December, and failed to run the story?

    Are their owners big Republicans and Sanford-backers? What is their excuse for this derelict lack of journalism?

    Hit em hard CNN - don't let slackers like this poison the journalism waters.

    June 25, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. geecee

    Fox Noise Channel is so blatantly, flagrantly biased against the President and all Democrats that it has become truly pathetic. They lie to our face and expect us to believe it – some of their listeners unfortunately do believe every word they say. I personally don't listen to them but only hear second-hand what a bunch of lunatics they are. How can this propagranda channel be allowed to continue spouting their lies and distort the truth to suit their own agenda – which is to hope our government fails. Nice bunch of patriots over there at Fixed News.

    June 25, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. Paul C

    Republicans are right...This is a personal matter, however,
    I am sure that would be a lot less fuss made if he had not made a career of being a moralist. His platform and attacks on Clinton
    made him vulnerable to attacks when he falls into the lust
    Clinton did the same but he did not preach a holier than thou

    June 25, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. bill p

    Do the right thing and resign now and save the taxpayers any more money spent on illicit activity! If you were finagling around with a married woman and you weren't, I might be more sympathetic! You are now a laughing stock to everyone!

    June 25, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Angela

    he should be IMPEACHED. At least Clinton never left the country during his infedelity. What's good for the goose is good for the gander...


    Not fair if only done to one...

    June 25, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. renea

    Im not upset about the affair itself my problem is if He took tax payers money and used for his personal business that what i would be more concerned about, after all this mouth He and the republicans had about our tax dollars being wasted over the stimulus not to mention he was going to use it to pay down the states debt instead of trying to used toward the schools and people of south carolina .

    June 25, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. brenda

    I could care less about the affair. What I am concerned about is him leaving the state for 5 days without notifying his staff. That is the height of irresponsibility. If an employee of a company did the same, he would be fired. The people of SC deserve better.

    June 25, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Ben Patridge

    Clinton looked into the TV and lied to the American people. Remember, "...it depends on what is,is"? He was outed for certain only when Monica produced the blue stained dress with his DNA, and he never asked to be pardoned. His wife did not divorce him only after he promised to rig an election for her in NY (which he and what's-his-name did). Sanford is honest enough to tell the truth to his family and state and ask for forgiveness. This is a huge difference in morality, folks.

    June 25, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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