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. Jamie

    Sanford was among the righteous right types who would call for any Democrat's resignation under similar circumstances – yet he won't do so himself. Power and selfishness mades one blind, doesn't it?

    As for his mistress – she's blaming this scandal on those who accessed her e-mail rather than taking responsibility for her own inexcusable behavior.

    These are the kind of people you're dealing with: Self-absorbed, cruel in their lack of concern for Sanfords kids and wife, not really comprehending the impact of a governor running off like a smitten college freshman to leave his state unattended for a week – yet no one really willing to take their medicine.

    Sanford has already proven himself emotionally incapable and irresponsible. It shouldn't be up to him to determine if he deserves to remain in office.

    June 29, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. jeremy.....Dallas...Texas

    Resign now governor. You let us down with your mariagate. We need ethical leaders and not cheats and crooks. Resign and got back to your dear dear friend whom you love more than your own family and state. Get lost now.

    June 29, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. Terry

    The governor cannot accept the facts. He had already written his life's script, which I suspect led to the White House. Alas, along the way he fell in love, and that was his ruin. Love is often a very destructive force, though our social conditioning will not allow most of us to admit that.

    The best thing he can do is to move to Argentina, pursue his woman, get a good job with an Argentinian corporation that does a lot of business in America, and smell the roses.

    When your dream becomes unattainable, you have to find another one or be miserable for the rest of your life.

    June 29, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. RR

    if Clinton didn't have to resign, why should Sanfird?

    June 29, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Daveed Korup

    How can you trust a Governor who first will lie to his wife and then to his state about how he spent state money for personal pleasure. This includes him trying to arrange business meetings in Argentina just so that he can see his mistress.

    No, No... He was a vocal advocate of family values who chose not to practice those values, though it was OK for him to be critical of others who also chose not to practice those values.

    Hypocrisy has no place in government. I do respect it, I don't condone, I don't have to tolerate. Gov. Sanford...get out of dodge.

    June 29, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Joanna in PA

    As a dem( thought i should identify myself) I could care less if the gov cheated on his wife. The stats on cheating spouses is pretty high, meaning more people than not cheat. If he is repaying the money, than no harm on foal, I don't NOT like his politics at all, but i don't not live in SC. He hurt his wife and kids, but not us. I am proud of his wife. She is hurt, but she knows her worth obviously. I appalled strong women, she will be fine no what what! The hippocracy he spews will caught up, the gop needs to stop pretending they are on the oral high ground.

    June 29, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. Fla.

    Business as usual?? The main issue with this situation is beyond the indiscretion. It is the fact Gov. Sanford left his post without the proper protocol of delegating responsibility and notifying his staff.

    One can only hope incompetence and hypocrisy are not "business as usual" but then again, GOP....!

    June 29, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Too True For You

    Dereliction of duty? I would say so, at the risk of engaging in rhetoric.

    But, while he is just the latest example of conservative
    "family values" hypocrisy, it really doesn't benefit anybody but the sanctimonious, morally-conceited right for him to resign with the elections coming around next year.

    June 29, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Sanford's indiscretion was a moral failure. His abandonment of his post as governor was more grievious since it involved the welfare and safety of all the citizens of So. Carolina.

    June 29, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Tina Adams

    Most of us would be terminated from our jobs for a five day absence without notice. For a governor to be "AWOL" for that period of time is not only a disgrace but should be grounds for immediate impeachment.

    June 29, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. John

    Wasn't it Sanford who first stood up to ask for President Clinton's impeachment? Sanford is a coward if he doesn't resign.

    June 29, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Geraldine O'Malley

    I am heartsick for the governor and his family, but he should step down and save extended vitriol toward himself and his family. He needs to take full punishment for his violation of oaths freely made.

    June 29, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Scott Edmonston

    Oh common! Stop the lying! It never even occurred to this man to resign! He would no more resign right now than I am likely to walk around on my hands, and answer my phone with my feet. CNN, don't perpetuate this man's constant indescressions by allowing him the ability to rehabilitate though more falsities. This man adds a wretched name to a morally sound ideology, thereby tarnishing the credibility of an entire movement, meanwhile, introducing a chance for him to say something along the lines of "I can't resign, I need to continue to work for the people of South Carolina" thereby making it seem that he is not out for his own self interests. I'm not saying that I am convinced that he should resign, lets just not play this silly game please. If you want a politician (any politician) out of office, either don't vote for him, or get the legislator to impeach him. He messed up, lets get over it, or get on it, either way, lets not play the usual tic tac toe that we all know is absolute bull honky.

    June 29, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. F-Dog

    Selfish governors who only care about themselves... First Blagojevich and now Sanford. If Sanford cared about his constituents or his party, he will step down. Based upon his comments and actions, he is still a self-centered egomaniac.

    June 29, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Barbara Independent in NY

    What a self centered loser. I feel sorry of the people of South Carolina. He needs to focus on his job, not his personal life. Resign!

    June 29, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Patsy Hodges

    I know it is up to the people of South Carolina (or is it?), but this
    guy should give it up. More important is his wife and what she
    wants. Hopefully, she will see that she and her sons can
    survive without this mess of a man. I wonder if this character would
    be willing to move to Argentina to live with this woman? No more
    wife, no sons, no American flag, no home, no job......................
    just livin on luv. What a dopehead. Guess the Republicans aren't
    the pinnacle of virtue like they seem to think, but we all knew that
    a long time ago. Now they have to face the truth. Thankyou.

    June 29, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    Deriliction of duty. Taxpayer-funded resources used for personal trips to sleep with his girlfriend. Lying about where he was and when. Allowwing staff to lie to cover his misdeeds. Hypocritical rhetoric. Sanford SHOULD resign.

    June 29, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Renee

    A person can do a good job and still have a messed up private life. If the people of South Carolina like the job Sanford is doing then they will vote him in again otherwise he will be out of a job. I am glad that Sanford isn't resigning. His job and his extramarital affair are completely separate things.

    June 29, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. Dennis

    Did he at least manage to work some "foreign" travel funding into the budget so he's be better prepared the next time? Maybe a budget item for a state paid divorce attorney?

    June 29, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. bob in LA

    There are only two quesitons about the Govenor that should be asked- does he do his job as elected? and Was there any law broken that would have him removed from office.
    Othere than that- thisis his families perosnal life adnwe need to stay out of it.

    June 29, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. Randi L.

    Sanford's friend and chosen successor Sen. Niki Haley is running for governor against current Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. No doubt Sanford has been approached by Haley to stay on so that Bauer won't become governor and have an advantage in the upcoming Republican primary.

    So the people of South Carolina will be stuck with an ineffective governor for another 1 1/2 years because Sanford wants to play politics. The simple answer is for SC to vote Democratic and leave the drama queens to have their slapfest on their own time after 2010.

    June 29, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Liberals don't use common sense

    Sanford should resign and so should have Bill Clinton. Most politicians have no ethics. VOTE THEM ALL OUT.

    June 29, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. KingDavid

    "The Lord uses the Good Ones. The Bad Ones use the Lord."
    Cheater. Liar. Adulterer. Manipulator. Hypocrite.

    June 29, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. People's Voice

    Hey, Gov. Go ahead and take the easy way out. It's not like it's going to ruin your reputation or anything.

    June 29, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. rainbowgirl

    Maria Belen Chapur said her private life "has already been made too public during these last days, bringing to me even more pain."

    Oh, I feel SO sorry for her–NOT! She should have thought about that before she got involved with a married man. She didn't think about anyone but herself–not HER children, HIS children or HIS wife.

    And this "love" business is ridiculous. Sure, you can have an 8 year email correspondence and find out exactly what the other person wants you to know about them, and you can have fantasy days together three times in one year, but you can't really know a person until you live in close proximity for many many months and see that person in all of life's everyday situations. This is not love, it's just selfish fantasies. How immature.

    June 29, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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