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. Pamela McGregor

    Who remembers these lines by Jimmy Cliff "The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all?"
    Gov. Sanford borders on ridiculous. Perfect fodder for the tabloids. Why go to Argentina if he knows he is wrong? Why not the Appalachians to do some soul searching and call his children from there for Father's Day?
    Such hyprocrisy is out of character for conservatives. I do not care about his private follies; the chain of events leading to his confession is bizarre by any standard.
    The Argentine press, the National Enquirer etc. will have a field day selling newspapers and magazines. Suddenly Iran and health care reform seem mundane and boring. Those emails are perfect for a steamy novel. RIP McGreevy, Spitzer, Ensign and the rest.

    June 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Jack in Florida

    Just goes to show that when you think with the wrong body part, you get yourself in trouble....BIG TIME. Kiss 2012 goodbye

    June 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Thomasr

    Hey Willy Brown, the wealthy republicans own the media. Guess you didn't go to school that much when you had the chance. If you republicans wouldn't keep saying we are holier than thou it wouldn't be a problem. But you do and it is.

    June 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Ivan Schiff

    you called for the resignation of others for your actions, so you should resign. unless of course you live your life according to the do as i say, not as i do.

    June 25, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Jim

    I don't particularly like Governor Sanford because of his right wing politics, but I don't really think we should drag people's personal lives into the equation. I was against it when it happened to President Clinton and when it happened to Gary Hart, and I'm against it now. We are pushing people who would otherwise be good at government out of politics by making their personal lives too visible.

    June 25, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Steve

    What I find interesting is that The State (Columbia SC newspaper) obtained these e-mails in December but held them because they couldn't verify their authenticity. Does that mean they were sent anonymously? Based on his behavior this past week, I can believe this guy would be so stupid that Mrs. Sanford could have come across them on a home computer, especially if he was using a Yahoo or Hotmail account.

    Think about it - Mrs. Sanford telling the media "I have no idea where my husband is" is what set the whole investigation into motion. She had to know it would have this effect (especially over Father's Day weekend), and she also had to have a pretty good idea where he would be if missing. So while he was wrong to have the affair, she set him up to be caught.

    Mrs. Sanford was the one with the family money - she's the granddaughter of the SKIL tools founder. She's got a lot of repressed anger over the fact that she basically funded and managed her husband's political ascent, and this is the payback.

    Lady Macbeth would be proud.

    June 25, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Linda

    Please give him a break. There was obviously a big deficiency in his life. I am a very active Christian and will not be casting a stone at this guy. We never really know the real reasons why people marry and stay married even if they do not love each other. As painful as it sounds and feels he probably connected with Maria on levels that he never connected with any-one before. He seems like a very sensitive man and obviously loves Maria. I hope he can fill the void that he lacks and contiue to trust God for his healing.

    June 25, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Longhorn#1

    Sanford would make a great Liberal.

    June 25, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Job

    A few things about SC:

    We are a small state with a lame duck Governor. After losing his fight with the court over the stimulus money some called for him to resign then, because he would not be able to get anything passed.

    The SC consitution provides us with what is called a Weak Governor. The Governor does not really have a lot of power. The Legislature has the most power as proved by the recent lost in the courts concerning the Stimulas money. In laymans terms: THe Governor's job has a lot of responsibility with very little authority.

    Anyone who thinks they are above sexual temptation is a total fool. In fact the more powerful a man is the more danger he is in. It is amazing how weak a man can be in the right situation. Yes he should step down, but we should all

    June 25, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Peachy in GA

    You gotta love it! I can't quit laughing. I wonder how many of his sabbaticals down south were at the expense of the tax payers. No wonder he wanted to use the stimulus money to pay the states bills and not help the schools. I just feel for his family. They are the ones suffering right now.

    June 25, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Chris Bostick

    I know this might sound shallow, but I wonder how fine this woman is, because he seemed to just throw away his political career for some yummy yum yum, hope it was well worth it Governor...

    June 25, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. leah

    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.
    The different is these people(democrat) did not holding a bible and preaching family values on one hand and cheated his own family behind the back on the others hand like Gov. Sanford or the other falllen one last week. Oh! forgot to mentioned Newt who cheated on his wife while trying to impeached Clinton .

    June 25, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. John - Kate - Eight

    It is pathetic to read the excuses neocons are trying to make for Sanford, Ensign, Vitter, Craig, Foley, et.al. The party that tauts itself as the morality police in our country has been caught with their pants down way too many times. The bible-thumping morons want to preach everyone else how to live their lives while they disregard their very own words. Typical neoCON double-speak.
    And Sanford was a rising star in the neocon party? I just hope he wasn't a Promise Keeper. Or maybe there is a neocon version–promise to screw everyone!

    June 25, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Stuart

    This is not Orwell's society. The freedom to hate whom we please is as sacrosanct and the freedom to live. "Hate crimes" are liberal attempts to push an Orwellian society. Why are liberals so self-destructive?

    June 25, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Faye

    If he used one dime of taxpayer money for his "personal use," that is enough for me. He doesn't want people in his state who are honest but out of work to take money that would help them through these times and then he does something like that. That is totally unbelievable and unforgiveable. Until a complete investigation is done, he needs to be sidelined. Sorry that he is such a hypocrite, as we sure don't need any more like him.

    June 25, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. Ted

    Sanford is delusional. His wife, Jenny, has been there for him and he has four sons. What more could a man want? It is amazing that he is using the Bible to explain his infidelity to Jenny. What a moron.

    June 25, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. hypocrites_are_everywhere

    Oh... what about the Vatican folks that protected those Boston child abusing priests for decades until they got caught? Why do they keep pontificating about the sanctity of marriage? There is no doubt that they (and those GOP religious chest thumping folks) touch themselves just as much as anyone else!

    Loosen up, folks! Political parties and religions have nothing to do with morality! So, please stop pontificating about religion and morality!

    June 25, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Kim in Michigan

    Speaking for all the pagens, heathens and athiests –


    Why do you?

    Adultry is breach of contract on legal , moral and spiritual levelvs. It puts your spouse at risk of contracting a fatal disease that she could pass along to your newborn child.

    And I love the "mistake" excuse. No, a mistake is transposing numbers in your checkbook and accidently bouncing a check – which, by the way, you will pay for at the bank. Having carnel relations with anyone isn't a mistake of any size, shape or kind.

    Can we just stop saying this was a mistake? It was selfish, egotistical arrogant choice that rightfully should make resonsible people DOUBT the mental processes by which you make decisions.

    June 25, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. arc, Lugano CH

    Mon Dieu. This is horrible. It's like gawkers at the scene of an accident trying to get a look at the deceased and/or the dying.

    In a country where hit television shows include the likes of 'desperate housewives' and 'sex and the city', it's no surprise how many people are trying to get the best view of the salacious details.

    Grow up whiny obese 'Bridezilla' crowd.

    The whole situation is sad and as a Dem I honestly feel more for Sanford.

    June 25, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. republicans hate america

    oh puhhhhlease spare me your shock.

    June 25, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Steve J, Michigan

    Sure it is a sin according to God, I'm a heathen so that doesn't bother me. But for a person who touts his "family values" and was able to vote for and call for Pres. Clinton to resign I think Sanford should follow what he preaches...


    June 25, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. there is no god

    its funny. those who are religious seem to be able to forgive him for he has sinned and hope that he finds peace. these are the same people who reject homosexual marriage. if he was a democrat, how bad do you think the vitriol would be? you think the religious right would be praying for things to work out?

    it sure is convenient to let these things go by when its someone of your "values". this religion thing is so comical!!!

    June 25, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Moderate Democrat

    Hey, is it any surprise that he was being considered to ride the same ticket as McCain. Peas in a pod, both men of no honor and no integrity. They both have made a career out of cheating on their wives.

    Ahh, the standards of the republican and the depth of their steadfast beliefs in "Family Values' at it's finest.

    But hey, they could have been on the campaign trail together tag teaming their staff as they crossed the nation. Now that would have been fun, wouldn't ya say?

    June 25, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Georgia Peach

    Yep. Its all President Obama's fault. If the President hadn't forced the stimulous down his throat, he wouldn't have been so stressed out and have a year long affair. Riiiiight?

    June 25, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Sick -n- Tired

    WAH! I got caught having an affair that has been going on for a year! WAH! I can't use the ole "moment of weakness" excuse! But I guess there's still the ole stand by excuse! You know the one! It's called the "I suddenly realize that I have a drinking problem" cop out! Work's every time! WAH! I'm suddenly soooooo sorry and just full of remorse! WAH!!!!

    June 25, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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