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June 24th, 2009
02:21 PM ET

South Carolina governor admits extramarital affair

Update, 2:44 p.m.

(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, just back from a secret trip to Argentina unknown to his staff or his wife, admitted Wednesday he has carried on an extramarital affair.

"I've been unfaithful to my wife," Sanford told a news conference in Columbia, the state capital. "I developed a relationship with what started as a dear, dear friend from Argentina." His voice choking at times, Sanford apologized to his wife and four sons, his staff and supporters, and said he would resign immediately as head of the Republican Governors Association.

The affair was discovered five months ago, Sanford said.

(CNN)- Gov. Mark Sanford is set return to his office Wednesday following widespread confusion over his whereabouts, a spokesman for the South Carolina Republican said.

Earlier: South Carolina Gov. goes missing

Joel Sawyer, Sanford's communication's director, also said in a statement Tuesday the governor called his chief of staff Tuesday morning and was "somewhat taken aback by all of the interest this trip has gotten."

"Given the circumstances and the attention this has garnered, the governor communicated to us that he plans on returning to the office tomorrow," Sawyer said in the statement.

Full statement:

Governor Sanford called to check in with his Chief of Staff this morning. It would be fair to say the governor was somewhat taken aback by all of the interest this trip has gotten. Given the circumstances and the attention this has garnered, the governor communicated to us that he plans on returning to the office tomorrow.

CNN's Jason Carroll takes a look at the governor's five day hike.

Filed under: Controversy • Politics
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. msmith1122

    Sanford is a man and apparently researchers say men have feelings or theories of something that could be componded together and be elemental feelings than once put together in molecule forms of emotions he is man. Sanford has feelings as you see he baling his eyes out on t.v which by the way is something that only real men could do. Real men come from habitates of war, sports, sexxxy girls and etc... My dad doesn't cry, he get hes anger out in really interesting ways like join biker clubs and running over well heads with d12 bulldozers. I like to get on the drilling itself and wait untill all the pipe is tripped back in then when the drill says 'o.k lock the slips' I open the elevators and watch the whole string of pipe worth more than whole operation put together. I leared that in anger managment. thanks mental health.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:13 am |
  2. DavisMavis

    How does it matter to me as a citizen, whether or not my representative is faithful to his/her wife/husband? If it's an issue of trust and loyalty, shouldn't we be more concerned about their campaign promises and deliveries to see if they have integrity and are truly loyal to the public they represent?

    June 25, 2009 at 6:55 am |
  3. Kevin Dinneen

    Whats the deal.....Mark Sanford says his wife has known about affair for about 5 months, So they must have already had the fight, the talk the lets work this out/ or not....but here he is leaving for 5 days though fathers day weekend to be with his mistress. He absolutely does not care about his marriage or fixing it......How can she say she will forgive him. Either they both don't care about their relationship or she is lying about knowing about it for 5 months. Either way they are just both trying to protect his career. What a sad couple.

    June 25, 2009 at 6:53 am |
  4. Gabe Rivas

    Why before we give money to the car industri was our money (tax payer) and after we give the money become goverment money

    June 25, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  5. Jason

    I think its time there is a punishment for political leaders that do such a thing. History has shown them that they can get away with it so they keep doing it. If they know that their political career would be on the line, then future politicians would think twice about having an affair.

    June 25, 2009 at 6:39 am |
  6. maria c

    Mark Sanford has embarrassed himself and his family (4 fine sons who could become a "....... Brothers" sensation. He seemed rather proud of the Argentinian conquest. Also how would he have been contacted in case of a medical emergency back home? He should pursue his hiking hobby away from the ones who supported him. Just go far and escape all the "pressure"!

    June 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  7. Dub

    Another self righteous republican bites the dust. Too all the ones who thought he was on a walk, yeah he was. He's been walking out on his wife, who knows he was cheating, but stayed for the power he is weilding. I just love how the religious right can justify this as just a regular man needing time off. As the governor of a state, you can't just walk off teh job. Yes this is big news. You should not throw stones, if you live in a glass house. Admit it, with corrupt pastors and some churches, crooks for congressmen, A Highly Prejudiced Base, Did I say Crooks masquerading as congressmen, the religious right needs to reevaluate that label. Democrats are not claiming that we are better. Don't Hide behind religion and still do wrong is all I am saying.

    June 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  8. montgomery sc

    no one has to lie or hide about a vacation or disappear, tell the staff that he needs a vacation and do so.or maybe this is just a hoax to see who"s concern over him if the wife isn"t worried then why should we be you want a president that disappear any time he feel like it. no i don"t.

    June 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  9. Steve Naples, FL

    If I was a betting man, and I am, I bet this all has to do with a little 3 letter word -S-E-X! He's either got a girl friend or a boy friend and looking for it in all the wrong places, be it Rio or the Appalachians!

    June 24, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  10. marsh

    governor knows better –iF you take vacation and dont let proper people know you taking it. at my job thats grounds for been fired –'NO CALL NO SHOW'

    June 24, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  11. JohnP

    Why is this getting 20 minutes of coverage out of an hour show?

    Did he do anything illegal? Not that anyone knows. If/when you get proof that he violated US or SC law, then you have a story.

    BTW, BsAs is a fantastic city and the surrounding areas are wonderful to "get lost" without doing anything illegal or against family values – assuming anyone cares about that anymore.

    Move along. No story here.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  12. anthony

    if the man did not use state money or federal money then why even bother the man? i would do the same thing if i wanted to have privacy

    June 24, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  13. Renee Dodson, Peru, Indiana

    Since when is it a major news story when a man that "happens" to" be the Gov. of S.C. wants to go hiking? Is that so absurd? Maybe if "Fat" Americans would get a clue from him then all the overweight and obese people in this country may get off the couch and quit watching stupid so-called news stories like this one. Get a clue CNN this is NOT news.

    June 24, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  14. nigel

    why dont you just say that the govener is having an affair and he was off running around with his mistress.

    June 24, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  15. Sharon,Daniel Island, South Carolina

    I live in SC I wish this guy would take a long reality time out, perhaps four years. Gov Sanford has a history of unusual disappearances, He wants to be president or considered presidential material.

    June 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm |