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. bella

    Sanford has certainly done more than cross the line. He ha dotted all of his i's and crossed all of his t's!! I sincerely hope that the South Carolina government, and other governmental officials put this guy on the carpet and gives him no alternative but to resign his Governor position! There is no shame or integrity in Sanford! He deceived his family, his wife, the people he works with, and most of all deceived himself! And to add insult to injury, in his e-mails to his lover he has even quoted the Bible!!!! Just another controlling man, using his so called power and money to get what he wanted! And now, he has much more Karma coming back at him then he ever believed would be possible!!

    June 25, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    People (without Knowledge) trying to compare this to Clinton Big Difference
    1. Lying to Congress is a FEDERAL offense! That's what caused the impeachment, NOT the adultery!
    2. The adultery DID NOT destroy Clinton's political career! In fact, he's probably more popular than ever!
    3. Democrats have had their share of sexual scandal as well (democrats seem to forget easily).
    4. The People of SC through their represenatatives will determine the fate of Sanford and not the bloggers who live outside the state!
    5. He will not be a candidate for Prez in 2112, too much baggage!
    6. If His wife decides to take him back, that is a private family decision! Other than that enjopy your day!

    June 25, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Sue

    We only see all these tears and "remorse" because he got caught!

    June 25, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Squigman

    The bad thing about this to me, is the fact that it is taking attention away from issues that are real, and issues that need to be resolved for the good of the American people. Issues like the lack of health care, the economy, stem cell research, and basic bread and butter issues. I guess I could care less about this one individule, and his weaknesses. What we (The People), need is our attention focused on issues that affect us. This person has been so far removed from the day to day lives of the people in his state, that he's forgotten his oath to them. Also, he forgot his oath to his wife and children. Forgetting the family this easily means the people of the state were never considered to begin with.

    June 25, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. LacrosseMom

    @ David.......... Well said! Bravo!

    June 25, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Tom Eyemdaman

    @EBJ June 25th, 2009 12:38 pm ET

    Yeah, how dare people try to put aside a scandal and look at real issues! How dare they!!!

    The fact is that infidelity is a hallmark of politicians – both Republican and Democrat. A study recently suggested that infidelity in the general population is around 13%, but among national government leaders it's close to 50%!!!

    Power corrupts...

    Think about it – most people have affairs to fulfill a need – their need to be loved. Who has that need more than a politician?

    June 25, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Fed up in SC

    Mr. Sanford no one feels sorry for you.

    June 25, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom

    @ Bleeding Hearts...... Thing is that no one is perfect! No one! With 50% of Americans cheating on their spouses it would be tough to find politicians who were perfect.

    Also, to the GOPers, you people do realize the McCain & Cindy began their 'relationship' by cheating on their spouses.

    Like I say, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    Sanford confessed because he was caught. Period.

    He should resign because he failed to do his job.

    June 25, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Jonita

    It's All Obama's fault that the Gov.Had an affair....I knew his name would be brought into it....and Kennedy.. but what do they have to do with a Gov. Who Screams family Values?

    June 25, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. JD Moores

    Michelle M., as a moderate Republican, I'd never condone what Sanford has done regardless of party affiliation, and it DOES hurt Republicans greatly, but it does NOT make him a hypocrite for having pursued Clinton.

    Clinton WAS NOT prosecuted for having an affair but for LYING ABOUT IT UNDER OATH. What Clinton did was illegal, regardless of party affiliation – what Sanford has done, while dispiccable, is not illegal unless it is proven that he has used tax payer money to fund his extramarital activities.

    June 25, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. johnny

    Hey, Murph. None of those Dems ran on a platform of family values. That's the difference that republicans just can't seem to let sink in. You want to tell people how to behave in the bedroom, but you can't manage it yourselves. The difference is when it's a democrat, all the repigs call for the resignation, but when they're up at bat, they never resign themselves. Walk the talk.

    June 25, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Dee Dee

    Call me crazy but the man is human. Any marriage takes work but in his case it wasn't working. I cannot condone what he did to his wife and family but It happens...and from reading snippets of the e-mails he sounds like he is quite in love. Could I dare say.....Romantic? We all know love will make you do crazy things. Thus I cannot hold this against him. I am not God and have my own life to worry about BUT as the governor he cannot just up and leave his state without notifying anyone of his whareabouts. That is irresponsible.

    June 25, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Larry

    LOTS OF EGO ...

    little brain ...

    the only challenge now is the presidency ... LOL

    I'll have to try that line the next time I'm fishing to get lucky ...LOL


    June 25, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Dianna

    Here we are again--another hypocrite in government. And HE went after Clinton? Oh, he's sorry alright-–he's sorry he got caught.


    June 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. baker

    it is not for us to "forgive" Gov. Sanford, that is for his family and his creator. It is however, our right to point out the hypocrisy of Gov. Sanford. When a political(publilc) figure takes a stand (Promise Keepers for instance, and his public condemnation of then President Clinton) and then proceeds to do the opposite of that stance, it is the very definition of being a hypocrite. "Do as I say, not as I do". We deserve better from our politicans, regardless of their politcal affliations.

    June 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Abby

    LOL. Poor dears, comparing themselves to the Thorn Birds. Governor, your career is over so if your love for Maria is as big as it sounds in your cheesy letters, go and be with her. And please enough of the hypocrisy. I wish you well.

    June 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. andrea

    Sanford's confession was a joke – 8 minutes of rambeling about NOTHING and then the punchline of 5 DAYS CRYING IN ARGENTINA. It really would not be a big deal if it was not for the Republican Party and their MORALES. It is so phony and hypercritical it makes me SICK!!! Let's see if the GOP gives him a round of applause like Ensign got.
    Let's just pick a GOP CONFESSION DAY – they all can come out and we can get it over with in one Day!

    June 25, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    One word : EEEWWWWWWW!!!! I say again, he's an embarrassment to the country and should just quietly slink away with his tail between his legs! I personally don't care to read or hear any more of his dirty laundry.

    June 25, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. politics suck

    All politicians are hypocritical scum. However, it's good to see more of the GOP scum floating to the top, out of all politicians, I perceive them as the worst.

    June 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. Dave

    Oh yeah, WIlly Brown, it's so typical of you people in a situation like this – whine about the media and repeat until you have to be put in a corner for your timeout. Actually, if Sanford changed his affiliation from Republican to Democrat, he would have to resign or be impeached. Moron...

    June 25, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Donna from Colorado Springs

    If it wasn't for bad luck, the Republican party would have no luck at all! But, this is what happens when someone gets too full of himself and his own self-importance as Sanford has done. He totally villified Bill Clinton for the same thing years ago and put himself up as an upstanding moral man. I feel sorry for his wife and sons and for what they're going through, but I sincerely hope she doesn't become another "stand by your man" stepford wife and take him back and say that all is forgiven!

    June 25, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. joeb

    C'mon folks. Democrat or Republican (or whatever), they are all the same!

    June 25, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Wolves 4 Palin Charlotte, NC

    While he was making the rounds, ripping Obama's stimulus package and touting his "values" he was involved using a "stimulus package" of his own.
    Yesterday, the man started his "confession" by still blaming the pressure from the stimulus package for his failure. His affair was years old and the federal stimulus was only a few months. Sanford is a self indulged creep and needs to get out!

    June 25, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    I may be in the minority here but I think that Sanford should fly away on the big silver bird to the land of the tango and sunshine to be with his TRUE beloved.

    Give up the Governorship Romeo and be with your TRUE LOVE.

    June 25, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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