June 29th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
13 years ago

Business as usual for embattled South Carolina governor

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/29/art.sanfordscrum0629.gi.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has been at the middle of a media storm since disappearing for five days recently and then admitting to an extramarital affair."]
(CNN) - A new week brings the same big problem for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Sanford's trying to hold onto his job following his admittance last week of an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. The governor also acknowledged at a news conference on Wednesday, upon his return from Argentina, that he did not tell his staff he was out of the country during a five-day period when his location was not known.

Sanford is scheduled on Monday to chair a state budget board meeting, his second public meeting since his return. Sanford apologized to state officials on Friday at a cabinet meeting that was covered live by the national cable news networks, including CNN.

Asked about resigning during a meeting with reporters later on Friday, Sanford said, "You take everything a day at a time. I wouldn't say anything definitive at this point. I say my hunch at a variety of different levels would be to continue on."

The South Carolina governor told the Associated Press on Sunday that he thought about stepping down until close spiritual and political associates urged him to stay on finish out the remaining year and a half of his second and final term as governor. Sanford, who is serving his second term as the state's governor, cannot run for re-election in 2010 because of limits on terms.

"Resigning would be the easiest thing to do," Sanford said in the AP interview, which CNN confirmed with governor's office.

This week several Republican state lawmakers, who are Sanford opponents, could publicly call for the governor's resignation.

Since Sanford's tearful admission last week, two state newspapers have called for him to step down and two state lawmakers have demanded investigations into whether Sanford was derelict of duty by misleading his staff to his location and whether he misused state property or funds to pursue his extramarital affair.

If Sanford were to resign, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer would become governor. Bauer is a fellow Republican but not an ally of Sanford. Bauer is among a number of candidates hoping to succeed Sanford in next year's election.

The woman with whom Sanford had an affair broke her silence Sunday long enough to say she wouldn't discuss her relationship with the now-embattled

In a statement released to Argentina's C5N television network, Maria Belen Chapur said her private life "has already been made too public during these last days, bringing to me even more pain."

Jenny Sanford said Thursday that her husband's political career is "not a concern of mine" and that she'd be just fine - whether or not their marriage survived.

She would not speculate whether her husband would resign as South Carolina governor, saying "he's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children."

–From CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby

Filed under: Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. LacrosseMom

    Anyone who walks off the job and disappears for 5 days would have been fired. Why not a governor?

    June 29, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. CT in CT

    So remaining in office after committing FRAUD is OK?

    No jail time?

    Shall we let bank robbers just give back the money?

    Dope dealers just apologize and give back the money and dope?

    Burglars just give back the stolen items?

    When Sanford answers YES to these questions, then I would say his answer is justified.

    June 29, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Resigning would be the easiest thing to do,"

    So do it already and let's get off this soap opera.

    June 29, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Zora La Rousse, Lugano CH

    The difference between the US and abroad: Abroad people expect and accept that their elected leaders are going to behave this way. In America, voters believe that their elected ‘puritan’ leaders are not going to behave this way; then fall down on the ground in shock and despair clutching their bibles and wedding photo albums when they do.

    If you wave a pork chop in front of a hungry dog, he's not going to go and get you your slippers...

    June 29, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. Governor should stay in office

    Before the Governor even thinks about leaving office, Ted Kennedy should resign for driving drunk off a bridge and leaving mary Jo to drown in a car on Martha's Vineyard. And he should wait until Bill CLinton, gives up his Presidential pension for having sex with an intern in the Oval Office.

    As for any other politician asking the Governor to step down, take a good look in the mirror before going down that road

    June 29, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Lowell

    One of the things he did was embezzle funds, more or less, to fund his romantic international tryst.

    Fire him!

    June 29, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. ck


    Remember when Clinton did it, in the Oval Office mind you... you all said, its only sex!

    Fair is fair!!


    June 29, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Blame it on Rio

    Apparently what happens in Buenos Aires doesn't stay in Buenos Aires.

    June 29, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    The republicans, ESPECIALLY sanford went after Clinton to be impeached for lying, exactly what sanford did yet why won't sanford resign?? Hypocrisy at its best!

    June 29, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Sniffit

    You know, it's funny...I really wonder if the "news" media realizes how much worse they make these situations for not only the person at their focal point, in this case Sanford, but also by extension for the local government involved and thereby for the people that person is supposed to be serving. I know everyone is just salivating over the next tidbit of slimey, ooey-gooey pseudo-news to chew on here, but really people...is it all it's cracked up to be or is it just bottom-feeding? Leave off. If the legislature impeaches him, so be it. If he resigns, so be it. The rest of it from anyone with zero power over the situation is nothing more than waving of the political schwartz to see if it really is as big as the next guy's. Set the thrusters for ludicrous speed...

    June 29, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Shari, NY

    While it might be business as usual on paper, I think that this man's life has now been turned upside down. In the midst of all the turmoil, he has to consider how and where he will live (you can't stay in the dog house forever), and also what career path he will take when he demits office. Some stimulus money might help create a job for him when he says "adios!" to his political career. Oh, how life can throw you a curved ball!

    June 29, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Zero.

    Then why don't they call for him to go? Change the bed-cloth's

    June 29, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. Stuffit

    CNN, some news please. This is the People Magazine equivalent of political reporting. He said – she said, he should etc.

    Why not just give out the scorecard of the Waxman-Markey votes and ask the 44 Dems that voted against it why they did so. Then ask the 8 Repubs that voted for it why they did. This issue should have been a straight up ideological vote (Of course, which ones aren't these days, unless renaming a post office?). Do the location of the Ayes and Nos' (Or yeas and nays, if you will) districts reveal something? The electorate would be better informed with this kind of information than the 'reality' TV angle offered by the Sanford story.

    I don't know why I even bother though, this probably won't get posted. 95% of my submissions never make it, doomed to perpetual moderation.

    If iI nsult Sarah Palin and change my handle to "I Love Barack" would those odds improve?

    June 29, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Annie

    This man should resign – he's a disgrace. And I'm not talking about the cheating thing. That's between him and his wife and his God. I'm talking about leaving the country without telling anyone. About the possibility of using taxpayer dollars to do so, after making such a big deal about refusing stimulus money. He's incapable of governing and seems emotionally unstable. And that's me being nice.

    June 29, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. steve

    He( Sanford ) should go around the state and apologize to the people of south carolina for his arrogance and lack of judgment and leadership.
    What is he going to do with the stimulus money he finally accepted after a law suit, pay off her Agentine lover?
    Sanford should resign if he has any ounce of integrity left.
    The party of hypocrites should urge him to resign if they believe they are credible in their " family values" nonsense.

    June 29, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. JonDie

    Business as usual:

    Abscond with taxpayer funds to visit a lover, betraying one's wife and children in the process.

    The second half is between Sanford and his family, but the first part was a crime.

    June 29, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Barry

    This man voted for 3 out of 4 impeachment articles on President Clinton. He has attempted to represent and fight for morals. He , obviously, fails this test himself. He is an embarrassment to not only his family, but to the citizens of South Carolina . He should immediately resign or the state elected representatives should impeach and remove him ASAP from office.

    June 29, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. JM

    If he was the family man and ethical man he proclaimed himself to be before all of this then he would resign and work on fixing his marriage, his relationship with his children and his personal life in general and say to hell with his political career.

    June 29, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Tim B..

    If any Dem. gov. pulled this sort of stunt the Republicans would have eaten them for breakfast.

    Sanford's affair is a side show to the serious facts that he abandoned his job for a week, lied to his staffers who in-turn lied to us, he put the state of South Carolina in jeopardy by leaving it leaderless, and put the United States of America in danger... what would have happened had some cartel or other hostile group taken him hostage. He had no security with him. Anyone who thinks a lone US gov. wouldn't be a prime target abroad is delusional. Sanford got lucky nothing else happened to him.

    June 29, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. chris24

    And resigning is what you should do..

    Or, wait until you are thrown out as you

    June 29, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. makesUwonder

    Hey, Gov. Sanford is just pulling a Bill Clinton by not stepping. Hey, if the President of The United States can get a you know what in the Oval Office by a nineteen year old intern, more than once I might add, why should this Gov. step down for having an affair with an adult woman. Both situations are disgraceful!!!

    June 29, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Rob

    Typical Republican hypocrisy. How anyone follows this party is beyond me.

    June 29, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. JIM

    Remember what he said about Bill Clinton being such a bad guy.Well aint that special,Now he has doing the same thing.

    June 29, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. tluv

    Wasn't Sanford one of the ones who was very vocal about Clinton resigning or being impeached? Not that this is a shock or anything but talk about severe hypocrisy.

    June 29, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. Mike, FL

    Just resign and you will be free to go and cry in Argintina 🙂

    June 29, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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