July 19th, 2009
03:47 PM ET
13 years ago

Sanford, 'humbled and broken,' makes vow to state

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/19/art.sanfordbow0719.gi.jpg caption="Close to a month after holding a press conference and publicly admitting to having an extra-marital affair, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford penned an Op-ed published Sunday where he apologized again."]
(CNN) – Embattled South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford tried a new tack Sunday to win forgiveness after admitting to an affair and being incommunicado while he left the state for several days.

A self-described "more contrite" Sanford wrote an op-ed, published in newspapers around South Carolina, vowing to "begin the journey of trying to get things more right with you and others."

Sanford had previously tried a news conference and several interviews which stirred more controversy over his admitted extramarital relationship with an Argentinian woman whom he called his "soul mate."

"I realize this op-ed does not do justice to the process of saying I am sorry," the two-term Republican wrote. "A handwritten note or a phone call would ultimately be more appropriate."

Sanford again admitted, "I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels." He said "life is... about way more than public standing or political views, it is about recognizing that none of us of are the arbiters of truth, that there are moral absolutes and that there is a God to whom we will all report for our actions.

"My failure has been more glaring on this front, where no public apology can make wrong right."

But Sanford wrote that he has been "humbled and broken as never before," and has "given up areas of control."

"It is my belief this will make me a better father, husband, friend and advocate."

Sanford, a strong-willed political figure who often sparred with legislative leaders, said that he is "committing to you and to the larger family of South Carolinians to use this experience to both trust God in his larger work of changing me, and from my end, to work to becoming a better and more effective leader."

Trying to heal political wounds deepened by the scandal, Sanford said, "I think all that has transpired will be particularly relevant in the way I deal with the legislative body and other state leaders going forward… as I begin these steps into the last 18 months of this administration, it will be indeed with a more contrite and humble spirit."

Sanford has taken trips with his wife Jenny and children trying to heal the wounds at home, including one this weekend. His family was not specifically mentioned in the op-ed, except for the one reference to being a father and husband.

In an interview with the Associated Press at the end of June, Sanford said he had previously "crossed the lines" with other women, though not "the ultimate line."

Updated: 2:52 p.m.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (329 Responses)
  1. Camphoneguy

    There was a guy who said it was wrong to shoot and kill people. He then shot and killed four people. He was a hypocrite, for sure, but that doesn't mean shooting and killing people is not morally wrong. Whatever Sanford has said about marriage does NOT change the importance of marriage because he violated the vows he took. If anything, it shows all the more the importance of those vows as almost everyone here (rightfully so) has blasted him for his 'sins'!
    I don't see his wife 'standing by her man'. She took time out with friends right afterward. She didn't appear with him at his press conference. She has said his political future is his problem to deal with, not her problem. I think her response has shown the anger that should be there balanced with the care his has for her children.
    Clinton stated in office after LYING about his affair. Teddy after he should have been charged with manslaugher, etc, etc. Maybe Sanford should have lied or killed his wife? Wow, some comments are sooo out of touch!

    July 19, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Clare

    How can she a self respecting woman stay with a man like that? It isn't easy but I can tell you this: A marriage and a family unit is worth something. She took vows too and to be true to those you have to be willing to live through the "for worse" part of the marriage years. If he is sincere in his desire to save the marriage and his own self respect, then this is the right thing to do.

    People treat marriage like a disposable plate. It is way more than that. Vows made to each other have meaning. And if you don't mean it, don't bother getting married.

    She is right, his political future means nothing. His place in his family means everything. I wish more men and women would take their vows seriously. I am a democrat and an agnostic and I get the importance of family and marriage. It is a deep and profound thing and very important to the health of society and our country.

    July 19, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Mariann Pepitone

    Darth Vadik: Who cares if he cheats. It goes on all the time in many work places. If he is a good governor he should stay on. He finally realized his mistake and now this could make him a better husband. Spitzer's wife did not divorce him and their marriage working out fine.

    July 19, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. rromanik

    please kick him out or force him out. he was also inappropriate with other women. he must be forced out because he thinks he should still keep that job. what arrogance . he is wasting taxpayer money chasing skirts. force him out. he should never be able to hold an office like this again. what an ego. force him out you gutless peers.

    July 19, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. joel palmer

    "Wanderer" You ARE stoned! put down that bong and get right with Hay-soos

    July 19, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. virginia for obama

    He don't look so tough now do he? . . especially when he was doing all that grandstanding. Forget the cheating part but, HE SHOULD RESIGN FOR LEAVING THE COUNTRY WITHOUT TELLING SOMEONE.

    July 19, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. billp

    Hey, he claimed to be a good family man and devout Christian before, then showed that wasn't the case. I'm completely ready to believe in him again this time around.

    July 19, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. joel palmer

    Just to be clear:

    His wife has NOT forgiven him

    His wife threw him OUT

    She is NOT "standing by him"

    I personally couldn't be in the same room as the sanctimonious bastard and his bible quoting crap

    July 19, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Mariann Pepitone

    Mike: You are so right about Ted Kennedy. He let that girl die because she was pregnant. Sanford didn't kill this woman. Yes, he did make a mistake but how many men are doing the same thing everyday but we don't hear about it because they are not in the limelight. He should not step down but continue until his term ends. IF he runs his state well that's all that matters. He can heal his personal life and go on.

    July 19, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. carlos

    why is it that all of these backward regresives mention on this blog the names of others......this matter is only sanford's and him alone......stop trying to make excuses for this sinner and hypocrite.....he should go back and check for HIV.......

    July 19, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Paul Bender

    This is all irrelevant. Everywhere that I have worked, a person is fired after a no call no show. It is deemed job abandonment. The Lt. Governor should replace the former governor and it should be done and over with. Politicians should be held to the same standard as each of us.

    July 19, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Mariann Pepitone

    Jose: How many married men or woman do you know that cheat? Just because he is a governor doesn't make him different than the average person. And how many woman cheat? The people that are making comments act like they never hear of this before. As long as he learned his lesson its better to keep a marriage than divorce one. And I don't give credit to that woman. She should have said no.

    July 19, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Ted

    If the politicians and citizens in SC allow this man to stay in office, then they should annul the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. The hypocrisy of Sanford and the GOP is galling. Sanford and Newt and the rest of the hypocrites were yelling for blood over Clinton's peccadillos, but when they get in an extramarital jam, they cry and wail and ask for forgiveness. They are jerks. Sanford should be impeached and waterboarded for good measure. Jerk. Great father role model. Jerk. Forgot what your wedding vows meant, huh. Jerk.

    July 19, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. the southern progressive

    i would take this guys vows and commitments with a grain of salt considering how he treated the vow of marriage with his wife. he disrepected her and his family, destroying the sanctity of marraige all the while spouting "family values" from the rooftops (of c-street). and now his use of being judged by God should supplement any decision, opinion and judgement of the people who elected him is showing disrepect to not only his constituents but also God. he obviously thinks little of either as represented by his actions in adulty and using tax payer dollars to help pay to make his adultry happen.
    he should resign now before he does more damage to his family ,his state and his religions (religious hypocirsy drives more people away from God and religion that its brings people to)

    he is a disgrace to the sanctity of marriage.

    July 19, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Chipster

    "And if it was one of us "regular citizens" and we did this in a job, how long do you think it would take before we were escorted to the door? "

    Are you kidding? Seriously, do you think your employer cares or has any business sticking their noses into your personal problems? I think your employer would care what you do in your private life.

    However, the point is well taken that Sanford's personal weakness interfered with his job performance. That's the reason he should suffer whatever consequences the voters in his state determine is appropriate. He really needs to just shut up now and either step down or do his job.

    July 19, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. Jennifer

    He had told his wife that he was going away to write a speech when he went to Argentina to do his mistress. I wonder if this was the speech he was writing. That guy, always thinking ahead.

    July 19, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Al

    his vows just aren't worth that much, are they?

    July 19, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Chris W

    Tulsa Joe, you write:
    "Peter… I'm right with you. So long as homosexuals get equal rights, I think the gov should be have the freedom to destroy his family in whatever way he chooses."
    What in the hell are you two inbreeds going on about anyway?!?!
    Mark Sanford CAN "destroy his family in whatever way he chooses" as long as it's LEGAL. Which discludes leaving the state without telling where he's going when governor and using taxpayers dime to conduct an overseas affair. What this has to do with gay rites could only makes sense in your screwed mind. And I love how all the sudden this had become God's will with Sanford and some of these commenters who are just lap it all up and are now so holy that they bestow blessings all around like maniacs when ever someone wants a hallellujah for breaking the law. Put him and jail so he can really write us all "hand written notes" individually.

    July 19, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Donkey Party

    Based on comments from Palin, Ensign, Sanford, and a vast majority of right-wingers, they believe God is a Republican. I take great comfort in KNOWING that on judgement day, all these blasphemous, treasonous wretches will be doomed to burn in Hell for eternity. Their sins against humanity will not go unpunished. Until that time, we must uphold our responsibility in keeping them out of elected office. If you fear GOD, and not the GOP, then help safeguard civilization by never voting RepubliCON again.

    July 19, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Denna

    Mark, if by some miracle you survive this, try to be more humble the next time someone from the Democratic party stumbles. I believe you have finally learned, first hand, how Clinton felt when loud-mouth 'moralists' like you pilloried him. You were not free to skip out for a tryst on a whim. You run a state you idiot and you left it without putting any safeguards in place. How irresponsible. I can't image why either Jenny or Maria would want such a self-absorbed man. If Maria is your soulmate, then go, be with her in Argentina. If not, you made a fool of yourself for not reason.

    July 19, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. P. D.

    How dare he mention God. This is a man who hounded Clinton for his affair and INSISTED he step down. Now Sanford not only had an affair, he abandoned the state for days on end while he spent time with his mistress. Unreal. He should step down immediately. I have had it with these so-called pious Republicans.

    July 19, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. tess

    a truely sorry husband and father would remove himself from public view, try to make his amends to his family and spend his time left being a humble, private citizen. however, i will say that if he had been my husband he would be out on the street begging to see his family! those boys did not deserve to be treated like this and his wife should be sure that they know it – and the way is to kick the bum to the curb and make him responsible for his sleezy behavior – now that is a lesson he could teach his boys. and this comes from a true-blue, dyed in the wool, life long republican!!!

    July 19, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. DJ in the Silicon Forest

    To Ken @12:53...

    Can't think fast enough for a nationally known politician, but here in Washington State, in the US House of Representatives, is Dave Reichert (District 8). Very good man indeed!

    July 19, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    Overlooked in all of this is the fact that SC now has the opportunity to mobilze and prove to the country that they're not sterotypical Southern bumpkins by taking a stand against Sanford. But alas, not a peep...

    July 19, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Chris

    I am so tired of these sanctimonious Republican hypocrites, who spout one thing about other people's lives when they want votes, then act all contrite and humble when they're caught spending taxpayers' money on their adulterous trysts. Enough already. Just RESIGN. And take the whole party with you, while you're at it.

    July 19, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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